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First-round picks Grant Green (2009) and Sonny Gray (2011) will take a dip in the Bay after being summoned by the Oakland Athletics from Class AAA Sacramento.
Gray to provide relief, initially
The righty-hitting Green, who turns 26 in late September, will see at least platoon duty with lefty stick Eric Sogard at second base, where he's played for most of his Sacramento work this year. If the newbie rakes, he could earn full-time work, though Oakland appreciates Sogard's contributions.
Green was coming off a .372-7-21 June with a 1.055 OPS in 121 at-bats and was named the month's final player of the week for the Pacific Coast League. His power took awhile to recover after a disappointing Double-A showing in 2011, but it's moving closer to his baseline level, which'll probably round out at close to 20 homers per year if he reaches his peak ability. Returning to a primary infield position means those numbers will play more effectively than they would've if he had stuck in the outfield.
Green's aversion to taking a walk should hurt him in the other columns, and his home park doesn't breed bat development. Of course, he hit righty arms well in the minors, despite the fact Oakland plans to use him for strictly the opposite, at least initially. If you're looking for a middle-infield spark in deep mixers, a tempered trial could pay off. He's probably already tucked away in competitive single-universe games.
As for Gray, Oakland appears to be taking the Earl Weaver route with him, or at least just sticking him in the bullpen because of need. This selection will help the right-hander "get his feet wet," per Bob Melvin; the A's don't need a fifth starter until after the All-Star break.
Gray stumbled when he started 2012 at Single-A Midland, but he's punched out 107 in 102 1/3 frames while dishing out only 34 free passes for Sac-Town this season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder must create plenty of torque with his lower body, and sustaining the so far exciting life on his four-seamer will sway his development. His curveball presents a nice complement, but the accompanying changeup and slider/cutter haven't caught up yet.
At his current development stage, he fits as a reliever, at least for Oakland's needs. Maybe Gray will see an extended stint, including a start or two, in September, perhaps if Bartolo Colon is tagged by a Biogenesis-related suspension this year. It's not always prudent to rent such short-stay assets in AL-only games, but Gray could be worth tucking away for potential. Dynasty leaguers should already have him at least on their radars.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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