Athletics

Athletics

Let's take a trip back in time. Back when baseball was being played ... about one week ago. 

Since then, spring training games have been canceled and regular-season games will not be played until at least May due to the coronavirus pandemic

Before the spring games were done, there were some strong performances happening in the Arizona desert for the A's. 

Yes, to preface this, spring training numbers *don't matter.* But let's take a look:

The young lefty pitchers

For the first time in a long time, the A's rotation looks solid heading into the 2020 season.

Over the offseason, the team lost a couple of veteran pitchers in Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark, but have more than enough talent to make up for it.

The spring is the perfect time for pitchers to work on some of their specialty pitches. So Sean Manaea's 14.09 ERA was not the perfect way to define the fact that he was working on his slider, a pitch that he was happy with velocity-wise in one of his outings.

On the other side, we got to see young lefties A.J. Puk and Jesús Luzardo.

Puk only pitched in three innings this spring, but struck out two during those outings. He was shut down after being diagnosed with a mild shoulder strain.

But don't panic, manager Bob Melvin said multiple times that an MRI showed Puk has no structural damage. 

 

Puk has an extremely promising future, after coming off Tommy John surgery in April, 2018.

As for Luzardo, well, buckle up friends. We are in for a treat.

In Arizona, he pitched 8 1/3 innings and boasted a 1.08 ERA with 13 strikeouts and a 0.600 WHIP.

Glancing at social media, many people are incredibly excited to see what he's going to do this season.

Last year, he gave us a taste in his highly-anticipated MLB debut. In 12 innings, he accumulated a 1.50 ERA, fanning 16. 

Second base

The second base situation created some competition, with both Tony Kemp and Jorge Mateo performing well.

Kemp was slashing .345/.412/.483 with 10 hits in 10 games. The left-handed hitter is one of the favorites to possibly platoon with Franklin Barreto. 

Mateo, specifically, was showing off his speed during that time, proving that he could be an asset to the team. He stole four bases in 12 games during the spring and had 24 last season in Triple-A.

Speaking of Barreto, he was putting up solid spring numbers as well, slashing .306/.359/.528 in 13 games. Melvin knows when Barreto is good, he's deadly against opposing teams.

The starting job is his to lose ... or win. 

Catcher

We didn't get to see much of Sean Murphy, as he was slowly getting back into the grove coming off of knee surgery in October. 

He only played in four Cactus League games, but posted a .375 average and a 1.375 OPS with a home run in 10 plate appearances.

Murphy looks to be the starting guy behind the dish this season.

[RELATED: Canha could get rare opportunity during COVID-19 hiatus]

He was called up on Sept. 4 last season for his big-league debut and fared well. 

In 20 games he slashed . 245/.333/.566 with 13 hits in 53 at-bats.