by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics made a trade today with the Washington Nationals that makes it abundantly clear they are in a youth movement as the end of the season approaches.
The A’s sent left-handed relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski and cash to the Nationals for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Rzepczynski was acquired over the winter from the San Diego Padres as part of the Drew Pomeranz trade. He was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 56 relief appearances for Oakland this season. Rzepczynski will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Rzepczynski broke into the major leagues in 2009 with Toronto. He has also pitched for St. Louis, Cleveland and San Diego.
The A’s received second baseman Max Schrock from the Nationals. Schrock was selected by Washington in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of the University of South Carolina.
The 21-year old Schrock is 5-foot-8, 180 pounds. He bats left and throws right. Schrock is known as being a pure hitter. He is not a power hitter but he makes the most of every opportunity he has with the bat. Schrock is a good fielder and average runner.
Schrock was promoted from Class-A to High Class-A Potomac of the Carolina League at mid-season. In 54 games with Potomac, he hit .341 with a .373 on base percentage. Schrock collected 79 hits in 232 at bats including 11 doubles, five home runs and 29 RBI. Schrock also was trying to make a name for himself as a base-stealer at Potomac by going 7-for-9 in the stolen base category.
Schrock can be considered to be on the fast track of player development as he has gone from short-season A ball to High Class-A in less than a season. Scouts are projecting that Schrock could be ready for major league service as early as the 2018 season.
The A’s have their number 14 prospect – 2B Joey Wendle – at Nashville and Franklin Barreto – Oakland’s number one ranked minor leaguer – is playing second base for Double-A Midland. So, where does Schrock wind up playing? For now, he will probably wind up in a Stockton Ports uniform for the rest of the season unless there are some major late season roster moves in the farm system.
With Pinder, Wendle, and Barreto all at second base, how does Schrock fit into the A’s players development plans? Simply put – he can hit. In baseball if you can hit, a team will find a position for you to play. In the case of Schrock, do not be surprised to see him being worked out at a corner outfield spot – especially in left field where arm strength is not as crucial.
For now, the A’s minor league spotlight is on Max Schrock.