Filling Oakland’s 3B Hole: Conor Gillaspie

Oakland was dealt a moderate blow this month when third baseman Scott Sizemore went down with a season-ending ACL injury. Our very own Jack Moore looked at some of the implications yesterday. With limited depth at the position, as noted by Jack, the A’s now are scrambling to find a replacement and the obvious options are not that enticing. The search may not be all that difficult or hopeless, though, since a cost-effective option can be found in nearby San Francisco.

Conor Gillaspie, 24, was a supplemental first round draft pick (37th overall) in 2008 — the same draft that saw the club acquire catcher Buster Posey with the fifth-overall selection. With 25-year-old Pablo Sandoval, already manning the Giants’ hot corner, Gillaspie is an afterthought who’s set to spend a second straight season at triple-A.

The former Wichita State University infielder could make a solid bridge until Scott Sizemore returns — or perhaps when in-house candidate Stephen Parker is ready. Gillaspie is by no means a star-in-the-making, but he could be a solid contributor. He has a nice left-handed, line-drive stroke — though he displays below average power (.157 ISO rate in ’11 in the potent Pacific Coast League) for the position.  Using traditional expectations, he likely would top out somewhere between eight and 10 home runs.

On the plus side, Gillaspie should hit for a decent average and he  a nice job of getting on base last year with with a 13.1% walk rate. Gillaspie also has good barrel awareness and he doesn’t strike out much, which makes him a potential No. 2 hitter. When he was drafted, his defense was a big question. Some folks thought that he might have to move off the position. But Gillaspie worked hard and he has improved significantly in the past three seasons and he should make all the routine plays.

Outside of the depth he gives the Giants, Gillaspie won’t play a significant role in San Francisco. The club also has another third base prospect, Chris Dominguez, who is a much different player but has similar prospect value (although he’s not quite as advanced). He played 78 games at double-A in 2011 — he opened the year in high-A — but posted a wRC+ of just 75.

Perhaps the A’s front office could tempt the Giants with an offer of a near-big-league-ready arm, such as reliever Andrew Carignan. Sizemore was by no means an irreplaceable part of the A’s offense. He was more of a placeholder until a better option came along. Gillaspie offers a low-risk, low-cost option with a dash of upside for the 2012 season.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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Joey
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Joey
4 years 3 months ago

His BB rate should read 13.1%.

Shane
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Shane
4 years 3 months ago

Who cares who plays third for the A’s. They will be bad with a third basement and bad without one. You guys at fangraphs are putting more thought into this than Beano likely is. Got write about something I guess. Such is the doldrums of the early days of spring training. The A’s don’t generally trade piching until they are arbitration eligible. The hole in their bullpen is as big as the hole they have at third.

Paul
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Paul
4 years 3 months ago

I do agree with your take a large extent, except that on the flip side don’t you think typical Beano would also look at this as an opportunity to “steal” a good player from a team that thinks it’s a lot better than it is and has just one more spot they need to fill? Between Gillaspie, Matt Carpenter, and Juan Francisco, as much as I agree in part, I’d actually be a bit surprised if he didn’t get one of them.

Shane
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Shane
4 years 3 months ago

No, I’m sure Beano is trying to scam something out of somewhwere. That’s what he does. I’m just moody cause, baseball news stinks this time of year. But thank you for writing something about something fangraphs. I don’t know what I would do without ya. Bring on the spring training games!

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
4 years 3 months ago

I wa thinking the exact same thing, a lot of ink on a good field, no hit third basemen on a bad team.

Matt
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Matt
4 years 3 months ago

You obviously didn’t read most of the ink because that isn’t close to a description of Gillaspie.

Hurtlockertwo
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Hurtlockertwo
4 years 3 months ago

The article is still about replacing Sizemore, which is my obvious point.

Choo
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4 years 3 months ago

Marc knows his audience. This is precisely the sort of front office challenge a typical Fangraphs reader/writer will spend a few moments (or more) daydreaming about. I can only speak for myself, but I enjoyed both write-ups.

Joe
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Joe
4 years 3 months ago

Challenge?

Can we put a bit of perspective on this?

This team is not competing, so unless they are trying to acquire a long term piece to compete in 2015, the only “challenge” is getting a warm body to play 3rd for a year.

shthar
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shthar
4 years 3 months ago

This is pretty much why I just use the numbers to judge players.

There are so many people and pages that have to have new copy.

Eventually, every player gets written up.

If you keep looking, you’ll find somebody willing to talk up ANY player.

Spike
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Spike
4 years 3 months ago

Josh Reddick and Tyson Ross for Dan Murphy….

Shane
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Shane
4 years 3 months ago

I think Reddick is gonna be alright. I think he is the kind of player you hold on to. Decent Pop, speed, athleticism, some major league success and room to grow as a hitter if he can gain better plate experience. Broad skill set, room to grow.

Spike
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Spike
4 years 3 months ago

with Cespedes there now, Crisp signed thru ’13, Seth Smith, Cowgill, and the other young OFers the A’s will have to make some room for, Reddick could be expendable if they could find a good bat such as Murphy to plug into the regular lineup.

hobbes9
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hobbes9
4 years 2 months ago

Why woud the A’s make Reddick expendable? He’s a young low cost player who isn’t arb eligible until 2014 and he won’t become a FA until 2017. He has the potential to be a solid option for them for years to come. If he develops he fits really well into their plan of building a contending team 2 or 3 years down the road. I can’t see them giving that up.

Shankbone
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Shankbone
4 years 3 months ago

Two of the longest tenured GMs with their current team have hooked up on exactly one trade. Sabean gave up Adam Pettyjohn in 2004 for cashish. With the SJ decision looming the Giants would want serious blood, even for future utility man Conor G. The A’s would rather sign up Miggy T for some amusement than send anything of value to the Giants. Although with that walk rate Conor G looks to fit right in with the A’s organizational philosophy of lawyerball.

scatterbrian
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scatterbrian
4 years 3 months ago

The A’s would be better off going after Matts Carpenter or Dominguez

spamelot
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spamelot
4 years 3 months ago

matt dominguez
todd frazier
juan francisco- out of milb options
james darnell
matt carpenter

not sure what A’s could offer, maybe cowgill or taylor who are squeezed out of an OF opportunity. tyson ross, graham godfrey SP’s

theres several mlb ready 3b prospects that are blocked that could be had. seems like A’s will see what josh donaldson can do this spring and decide. stephen parker is a decent 3b prospect that will be in AAA but also struggles defensively

fergie348
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fergie348
4 years 3 months ago

Another indication that Gillaspie isn’t in the Giant’s plans for 2012 – Brett Pill has been working out at 3B in the beginning of camp. Pill projects quite a bit more power than Gillaspie, and the Giants have enough slap hitters (although perhaps not enough patient hitters) in camp that can play around the infield already.

spamelot
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spamelot
4 years 3 months ago

why not just shift gillespie to 2b? sanchez has iffy health and theriot/fontenot arent long term options.

OrgoneDonor
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OrgoneDonor
4 years 2 months ago

If Conor had any chance to play 2B, he would be playing it. He doesn’t have the bat for 3B (where his glove is still bad), but his bat would play well enough to be a 1st division regular at 2B.

Realistically, Conor’s ceiling is a 2nd-division regular, and he has a pretty good chance of being able to do that. His defense at 3B shouldn’t be much better than just acceptable, but he will hit for contact and have a good OBP. He’s about as unsexy as it gets, but he would at least contribute positive value.

channelclemente
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4 years 3 months ago

First, the GM/Ownership of each team need to get beyond this war over San Jose rights.

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