Billy Beane and the Oakland A's started yet another rebuilding phase in December, capped off by sending Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals in exchange for four prospects.
Tommy Milone, SP, MLB: 2-1, 2.84 ERA, 19 IP, 1.05 WHIP, 8 SO, 6 BB
Milone is off to a solid start for the A's. While he doesn't profile as a top of the rotation starter, he's a capable back-end guy, and is pitching a bit above that so far. Still, Milone's SO/BB ratio indicates that he's a back-end starter. Those are plenty valuable, though, and Milone will likely churn out a few really quality seasons.
Derek Norris, C, AAA: 53 at bats, .321/.316/.604, 2 HR, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB, 11 SO
So, the knock on Norris throughout his minor league career has always been that he doesn't get enough hits, and that his OBP was carried solely by his plate discipline. Well, so far Norris has only drawn one walk in AAA, yet is hitting over .300. We'll likely see his eye come back and his BABIP go back down a bit, but if he can hit in the .260-.280 range, he's going to be a very, very good catcher.
Brad Peacock, AAA: 1-1, 1.42 ERA, 19 IP, .89 WHIP, 17 SO, 6 BB
Peacock has pitched very well in AAA so far, as his microscopic .89 WHIP through three starts would indicate. Six walks in 19 innings is a bit of a concern, but Peacock has mitigated that damage by allowing just 11 hits so far this year. He'll likely be pushing for a promotion around midyear if he keeps pitching well.
A.J. Cole, SP, A+: 0-2, 4.80 ERA, 15 IP, 1.26 WHIP, 12 SO, 3 BB
Only 20 years old and into the Cal League, expectations probably need to be tempered a bit on what Cole's numbers will end up looking like. His ERA will likely end up fairly high (thanks, Cal League homers!), but Cole is off to a reasonable start with a 4:1 SO/BB ratio -- which is excellent.
All in all, the prospects Beane received for Gonzalez are off to good starts. Oakland will need their prospects to start panning out if they're going to be competitive as the team tries to move to San Jose.
Still, Oakland is still a long way off from competing with the Rangers, but Oakland's rebuild might finally be moving in the right direction.