Athletics

Athletics

MESA, Ariz. -- While A's manager Bob Melvin remains thrilled knowing he has plenty of good options to choose from for an Opening Day starter, that's not the main competition at camp.

After the A's traded Jurickson Profar to the Padres for Buddy Reed and Austin Allen, second base has more question marks than answers at the moment. 

At catcher, a position important to BoMel, there could be a competition worth noting as well. 

Let's make some predictions for the A's position battles as spring training continues ... 

Second Base

Acquiring Tony Kemp complicated the picture, perhaps, but for the moment, it appears the job is Franklin Barreto's to lose. However, he could be platooned with a lefty bat.

Barreto, in 23 games last season, slashed just .123/.138/.263 with two home runs and seven hits. 

He took advantage of his time in the PCL with a .295 average and .926 OPS, but obviously was inconsistent in the bigs. 

Melvin wants Barreto to realize his potential, not only to make his decision easier, but to further strengthen an already-formidable A's lineup. 

There are others vying for the job, as well, including Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse, who put in some big-league innings last season at second base.

 

Chad Pinder could be used at any position and be successful at it, but Melvin doesn't see the utility guy being a factor in the competition.

"We're not intent on getting [Pinder] out there at second base yet," Melvin told the media on Monday before the Cactus League game against the Brewers.

"We want to take a look at some other options at this point, we have to make some decisions on some guys -- very difficult decisions on some talented guys, unfortunately. So yeah, he'll probably get more second base reps later and if we feel like we want to shorten it up, we don't carry as many guys that could potentially play that position, then he factors in there, too."

[RELATED: How Pinder's hard work won over A's fans, his teammates]

It'll be a tough decision with or without Pinder in the mix, it appears. 

The A's also acquired young Vimael Machin, who many believed would make a difference -- which could still be the case. However, he's simply trying to nab a roster spot at this point. He put up solid numbers with a .333/.369/.469 slash line in the offseason Puerto Rican League. 

Catcher

Behind the plate sits -- well, squats -- Sean Murphy, one of the A's top prospects. He, along with Austin Allen and Jonah Heim, form the contingent of young guys hoping to claim the starting job. Murphy appears to be the main guy, as he saw plenty of major-league action last season with Oakland, slashing .245/.333/.566 with four home runs and eight RBI across 60 plate appearances.

Allen is a left-handed bat who put up strong numbers with the Padres last season. Melvin said he liked what Allen did with the lumber and he looks to be a great backup option.

Heim put up amazing numbers in Triple-A and took advantage of the PCL with a .412/.557/.968 line. He caught Liam Hendriks' short outing Monday and received some compliments from the Aussie. 

The infield and outfield positions are relatively secured and with many talents. You can check out the 26-man projections, here.