The Oakland A’s bullpen changed quite a bit over the offseason. There is a large possibility that the infield will be altered for the 2014 season. But when we take a look at the outfield, there will not be much change for this upcoming season. With three veterans taking the field once again in 2014, the rest of the team already knows that they can count on their outfield.
After agreeing to a new contract last Friday, the A’s will once again have their speedy leadoff hitter residing in the outfield. Known for his diving catches out in center field, last year was the first year since 2004 that he had perfect 1.00 fielding percentage. He completed 307 putouts out of 309 chances and made no errors.
But Crisp is not only known for his defensive skills. Jim Johnson – the new A’s closer – told ESPN last week that he was glad that he was now on the same team as Crisp instead of pitching against him since Crisp can easily rack up the pitch count. In 2013, he batted .261 with 66 RBI and 22 home runs. His quick feet also helped him steal 21 bases and was only caught twice. During the postseason, he was batting .389 and had a .455 on-base percentage.
To say that Crips is vital to the A’s is an understatement. Teammate and fellow outfielder Yoenis Cespedes even told told ESPN that Crisp is essential to the team. He has become an icon in Oakland and everyone loves his “Bernie lean” so much that his bobble head even does the lean. This will be the fifth season starting with the Athletics and everyone hopes he will continue to succeed as he has in the past.
Cespedes was the A’s slugger last year and even won the 2013 Home Run Derby. However, besides his success in the Home Run Derby, 2013 was a hard year for him. He batted .240 and a .294 OBP compared to his .292 batting average and .356 on-base percentage in 2012. But he is determined to step up his game in 2014.
Cespedes has been working hard during the offseason and has changed up his swing so that it is shorter, more consistent, and more powerful. He has also been working on his fitness and has put on 15 pounds of pure muscle. Hopefully all of this work will help him make contact more often at the plate.
Additionally, Cespedes has been criticized for his lack of fitness in the past and its effect on his skills out in left field. Many use to say that Cespedes should just be the designated hitter, so that he would not make any more fielding errors. However, with Cespedes working on his strength and ability, he will hopefully be more agile in the outfield. This year has been predicted as being the A’s year to win it all and hopefully Cespedes’ new swing will help propel the Athletics into the postseason.
Reddick was in a slump for most of 2013. Hitting only 12 home runs compared to the 32 he hit in 2012, he batted .226 and had a .307 on-base percentage in 2013. But on Wednesday, he told 95.7 The Game that he has focused on getting healthy during the offseason and that he was hoping for a more success season in 2014.
After struggling with a wrist injury in 2013, he underwent surgery in October and he seems to be healing quite well. Like Cespedes, Reddick has also put on some muscle, hoping that it will help in 2014 – especially with his hitting. Even though his fielding was not amazing last year, it was better than his batting.
Last year he had a .981 fielding percentage and 244 putouts. Even though he did ok defensively in right field for the Athletics, the extra muscle and strength he has gained in this offseason will definitely help as well. With a fully healed wrist and stronger muscles, Reddick is ready to take on the 2014 season.
Gentry will be the backup and fill-in outfielder in 2014 for the Oakland A’s. He was acquired by the Athletics during this past offseason and he will be a great fit for the A’s outfield. Gentry is a pretty average player who is consistent, reliable, and flexible. Last year, he played in all the outfield positions with left field being his most played position. In the 102 games he played in 2013, he had 183 putouts and only made two errors.
When it comes to his stats at the plate, he is also a dependable. In 2013, he had a .280 batting average with 69 hits and two home runs. He is also has quick feet. Last season he stole 24 bases and was only caught twice. With Crisp being the only Athletic who consistently steals bases, Gentry could be a great pinch runner during close scoring games. Even though Gentry will probably only fill-in as needed throughout the season, his consistency will be a great thing the Athletics can rely on during rough patches in 2014.