Monday, July 21, 2008

Oakland Acorns - Season 9 - "Season's Change - Can The Results?"

Season 9 begins where many seasons do, with hopes. For the Oakland Acorns, hopes begin to move toward respectability. This year Oakland will push several draft picks from seasons 4-5-6 up to the Big League Club. An overhaul of the pitching staff and defensive core will show management if they have what it takes to stay in the show. All of these changes were made with the hope of better showing than in the previous 2 seasons.

Expectations of management are attainable and realistic, 75+ wins. Not a lofty goal by any means however it is something the franchise has only done 3 times. The Acorns are depending upon young pitching and young leaders to develop to take them to the brass ring. Last season, 75 wins would have put the Acorns in the hunt for a division title, a fact that has not been missed by management.

The Acorns GM Pengoman has attempted to keep his draft picks and bring them up aggressively through the system. The last two # 1 draft picks Jeff Fischer and Brandon Watson have been moved to the AA club, along with former 4th round draft pick and FA Pickup Nick Andrews, to be the next wave for the Acorns. While the system is not over flowing with talent, there are a few difference makers who should help bring stability to the Oakland Franchise.

Acorns Top Six Prospects:

# 1 (23) Season 7 - Jeff Fischer (3B) has all of the tools to be a superstar in the Big Leagues. Steady defensively and has the power and patience to be the clean up hitter for years to come. Management will have to resist the temptation to bring him up sooner than they should.

Projected ML debut: Season 11

Jeff Fischer:

# 1 (4) Season 8 – Brandon Watson (SP) is the future of the Acorns Pitching Staff. While averaging better than a strikeout per inning, Watson potential is high and like Fischer will force management to be patient and not rush him through the system.

Projected ML debut: Season 11

# 1 (15) Season 6 – Miguel Rodriguez (SS/CF) could be the Acorns Wild Card. Hits for average with a touch of power, but thus far has been a bit of a defensive liability. 30 errors last season has forced management to move him back to CF. If defensively he can achieve his projections, Rodriguez will find his way to the Big Club, perhaps as a late season 9 call up with a full time position in season 10.

Projected ML debut: Season 10

Acquired Season 8 Trade – Willie Duran (C) could be the next Acorns Field General. The Acorns traded for Duran to provide the young pitching staff someone who could manage a game. Duran can get on base offensively and with a 36.2% Caught Stealing percentage keeps runners honest, Duran will replace Brace Keller at the end of Season 9 if not sooner.

Projected ML debut: Mid-Late Season 9

Unsigned FA Pickup Season 8 – Nick Andrews (C) Picked up in season 8 after being unsigned in season 7, the former 4th round draft pick of the Madison franchise. Andrews has shown a solid bat and is getting his change to prove he can call a game. The Acorns have talented catchers in front of him but will force Louis Sabel and Willie Duran to remain at the top of their games not to allow him a spot in on the Big League Level.

Projected ML debut: Mid-Late Season 11

# 1 (5) Season 5– Torey Gordon (SP) has been the guarded project for the Acorns. Gordon’s ability to strike hitters out while not having a strong 2nd pitch is why Gordon has not been moved up faster. Management wants Gordon to fully develop in the minors before giving him a taste of the show. With an impressive 31-17 minor league record, the numbers show he could be a quality 4th or 5th starter in the Bigs.

Projected ML debut: Season 10

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