Athletics

Athletics

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Ramón Laureano burst onto the scene late last season, showcasing impressive power and speed at the plate and wowing the baseball world with his jaw-dropping defensive gems.

In only 47 games, the 24-year-old amassed nine outfield assists, just three behind the league leaders. Laureano gained widespread fame for his unbelievable 321-foot throw in Anaheim to double up Eric Young Jr. at first base.

In 156 at-bats, Laureano hit .288/.358/.474 with five home runs, 12 doubles, 19 RBI, and seven stolen bases. He was even better in 64 games with Triple-A Nashville, slashing .297/.380/.524 with 14 homers and 35 RBI.

Laureano should enter the season as Oakland's starting center fielder and will likely bat near the top of the lineup, particularly against left-handed pitchers. It will be fun to see what he can do in a full season.

Baseball Reference projects Laureano to hit .270/.340/.445 with nine home runs, 16 doubles, 32 RBI, and seven steals. They seem to expect him to split time in the outfield as they only predict 256 at-bats.

Although the A's have several talented outfielders, Laureano has separated himself from the pack in center, especially defensively. We expect him to be closer to 500 at-bats if he can stay healthy.

In many cases, second-year players will face the dreaded "sophomore slump." That is certainly a possibility for Laureano, who has yet to go through the grind of a full Major League season, but his speed and natural talent should help him maintain a high level of play.

 

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Laureano figures to make several more highlight-reel plays with both his glove and arm and he could legitimately challenge for a Gold Glove in center field. At the plate, look for a high on-base percentage once again, along with some under-the-radar power production.

Projection: .274/.352/.471, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 31 doubles, 17 stolen bases