Athletics

Athletics

OAKLAND -- Dallas Braden was casually talking to A's pitcher Brett Anderson near the bullpen as the final preparations were being made for the team's home opener on a cool Thursday morning.

Braden, of course, has not only been a part of the Green and Gold, but has been covering the team as an analyst for NBC Sports California for a few seasons now. 

I was curious to know who he was excited to watch this season, and what he thinks fans should be paying attention to.

"Something to pay attention to is the cohesive growth," Braden told NBC Sports California. "That is what we saw last year, that is why a lot of people were taken aback by the success of the team, because they saw a group of guys get better, together, at the same time and if you talk to these guys and they expected that,  I think it's more expecting that from them as opposed to wondering what to expect."

And as far as who he thinks A's fans should be keeping an eye on ...

"A lot of people across the game have put [Stephen] Piscotty in their crosshairs as a guy who is looking to break out," Braden said, "And have an -- I don't know if a career-type year is a way to label it, but I think a noisy year to say the least.

"I would honestly pay attention to Ramón Laureano as well that's somebody as far as a fire starter is concerned, your spark plug in the top of the lineup -- we know what he can do defensively. If he makes strides offensively, now we're talking about a little table setter at the top of the lineup and those guys are valuable."

 

[RELATED: Former A's outfielder Coco Crisp on new endeavors]

You, of course, will be able to watch and listen to Braden during the A's broadcasts on NBC Sports California this season while Piscotty and Laureano grace your televisions screens -- and I promise you will not be disappointed.