Athletics

Athletics

Believe it or not, the A's season-opening two-game series against the Mariners in Japan is just two weeks away.

With spring training winding down, Oakland will soon have to narrow its roster to 25 players. While we have a pretty good idea what that active roster might look like, we have also seen a handful of players emerge as surprise candidates to make the squad.

Here are the top five:

Franklin Barreto

Okay, so Barreto wouldn't be a complete shock, but it appeared he had lost his opportunity when the A's acquired Jurickson Profar to play second base. However, the 23-year-old has put together a terrific spring playing in the outfield.

Barreto has worn out pitchers to the tune of a .400/.455/.700 slash line with a home run, three doubles, two RBI, and six runs scored. This follows an excellent performance in Venezuelan winter ball where he significantly cut down his strikeout rate. It's still unlikely that Barreto will make the Opening Day roster, but he has certainly made it a tougher decision for Oakland.

Aaron Brooks

After struggling in his first appearance of the spring, Brooks looked extremely sharp his last time out, tossing four shutout innings against the Rockies. The A's acquired Brooks from the Brewers late last season for cash considerations. The 28-year-old appeared in three games in September and did not allow a run.

Oakland's starting rotation still has plenty of question marks and Brooks could make a run at the number five starter job. The right-hander could also prove valuable as a long reliever or potentially an opener.

 

Tanner Anderson

The A's have been high on Anderson since acquiring him from Pittsburgh in November. The 25-year-old right-hander struggled in limited innings with the Pirates last season but pitched well at the Triple-A level.

This spring, Anderson has allowed just one run in six innings, while striking out nine. The Harvard graduate has experience as both a starter and reliever - that versatility could make him an interesting proposition for the A's.

Cliff Pennington

The A's brought Pennington back for a second stint in February, signing the veteran infielder to a minor-league contract. The 34-year-old has proven to be a great presence in the clubhouse this spring and has been solid at the plate as well, batting .267 with a double and two RBI.

Pennington has a career slash line of .242/.309/.339 in 11 major league seasons, including five with the A's. Even if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, he provides depth at multiple positions.

[RELATED: Luzardo presents 'difficult decision']

Wei-Chung Wang

Wang pitched for the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization League last year after spending a few seasons in the Milwaukee Brewers organization to start his career. The 26-year-old left-hander signed a minor-league contract with the A's in February, which included an invitation to spring training.

Wang has earned two saves this spring without allowing a single baserunner in his two innings of work. The A's could certainly use another left-handed reliever, and while veteran Jerry Blevins is probably the frontrunner, Wang has given Oakland something to think about.