The A's tough 2015 may be ending on a much higher note compared to where they sat just months ago.
Oakland's front office already added bullpen arms in Liam Hendriks, Marc Rzepczynski, and Ryan Madson, along with a new bat in first baseman Yonder Alonso. On Monday, two young A's looking to make the majors were honored while representatives are at the Winter Meetings looking to improve the club.
The Arizona Fall League revealed its 2015 Top Prospects Team on Monday, with two players in the A's farm system making the cut. Starting pitcher Sean Manaea and infielder Chad Pinder were named to the list.
Manaea, 23, was the crown jewel of a package that was sent to the A's for utility man Ben Zobrist. At the AFL, Manea lived up to the hype.
The left-hander started on the hill in the "Fall Stars Game" where he struck out four in two scoreless innings and was named AFL Pitcher of the Week only 10 days later. Manaea led the AFL in strikeouts with 33 in only six games started.
Even at his young age -- he'll be 24 in February -- Manaea could very well find a spot in the A's rotation at some point during the 2016 season.
“He throws in the mid-90’s, good secondary pitches. For a lefty, he pitches inside to righties, and he’s not just a change-up guy against them. I’m really, really impressed. You can tell this guy’s got a real high ceiling," A's manager Bob Melvin said after seeing Manaea start an AFL game.
In those six games Manaea started, he finished with an 0-2 record and 3.86 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched.
Not to be forgotten, Pinder, 23, showed power and solid defense at second base. In 13 games, he hit .235/.316/.549 with 12 hits and also blasted four home runs.
Pinder also played in the league's All-Star Game.