Athletics

Athletics

The 2020 MLB season could look, and play out, far different from normal. But it still won’t change expectations for the Oakland A’s who are poised to take drastic next steps in their ascent. 

NBC Sports California's Shooty Babitt will return as studio analyst for A’s broadcasts, once they resume, but also offered these thoughts via FaceTime on Thursday:

On how the A’s starting rotation might be ordered

“Jesus Luzardo is starting Opening Night for me. I just feel he is the future. This is a guy that’s going to continue to bring people to the ballpark. He’s a young Johan Santana. A warrior, he’s talented, fearless, he’s got stuff, presence, swag. He’s got all of those things you want leading your staff.”

On the battle for second base

“Franklin Barreto has been a top position player prospect in the organization for the last couple years. The way that he has been used, never given 250-300 steady at-bats, and said ‘Here’s your position.’ Not that he hasn’t been given an opportunity, but he hasn’t made adjustments they wanted to see. Strikeouts are big for a little guy, even though he can put up some massive numbers.”

On the competition for outfield spots

“I think Mark Canha has done everything a person can do to earn opportunity as an every-day guy. If he was my left fielder and he was bat-flipping 25 to 30 times and being an on-base percentage bandit, and being a left-handed pitching killer that he is, I’d have no problem with that.”

On MLB resuming soon as possible, even with no fans in attendance

“Nothing is going to be said ‘Boom,’ everything is the same, life can go back to normal. It’s going to be calculated, it’s going to be strategy. There are going to be some things implemented because some people are more safer in this certain type of environment.”

 

On the Astros remaining controversial once baseball returns

“They will always be a story, just because the story is not finished being told. It’s like Cinderella, reality is reality. You can ride in that chariot and put that glass slipper on, but when the clock strikes midnight, you’re going to go back to reality. Fact is, they cheated, they got caught, and it was being talked about.”

[RELATED: Fiers, Luzardo bonding during pandemic]

On seeing a silver lining to the current coronavirus pandemic

“It’s unfortunate that things are to the extent they are right now, because it’s disastrous, people’s lives are never going to be the same. But sometimes struggle is good for us. We have to pull together, we can’t do things by ourselves. We’re going to come out of this, and I think we’re all going to be better for this.”