Sunday, March 7, 2010

30 A's in 30 Days – Cliff Pennington

Acquired: Drafted in first round (2005).
Contract: One year thru 2010. (Not eligible for arbitration.)
Position: Starting SS

Projected BA/OBP/SLG: (.243/.325/.341)

Over/Under: This might be the inherent happiness that comes with the long-awaited absence of former shortstop Bobby Crosby from my favorite team's roster, but I really like what Pennington brings to the table. He won't hit for much power (his minor league high for home runs in a season was eight in 2007), but I think his OBP will take him OVER that projected OPS. In 247 career plate appearances vs. RHP, he's hit .280/.367/.407.

He was called up after the trade of Orlando Cabrera and consistently hit the ball hard, frequently found the gaps (11 doubles, 3 triples) and occasionally overswung (100 Ks combined in '09). He reminds me of Mike Bordick – capable of a solid season at the plate if the BABIP deities shine upon him.

By the Numbers: 21 – The number of stolen bases Pennington has averaged in his five minor league seasons. There's a strident – albeit naïve – slice of baseball fans who believe speed and small ball can win in today's game. With the stolen base potential at the top and bottom of the A's batting order, this team might actually be watchable, regardless of their record.

Surefire 2010 Prediction: Every year, an otherwise anonymous player starts the season on fire in April, becomes the focus of a two-page piece in Sports Illustrated come May, generates an ill-fated small market All-Star Game campaign in June and then collapses in the second half. This year, that player will be Cliff Pennington.

Tupac Track for the Season:
Y'all Don't Know Us

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