Now Pitching For The Oakland Athletics…

The Oakland A’s landed four pitching prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 list this offseason.  One, Gio Gonzalez, appeared in ten games for the major league club last season; a second, Michael Inoa, won’t turn 17 until freakin’ September – he’s still young enough to be counting his age in half years – and shouldn’t sniff the majors until 2011 at the earliest.

The last two, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill, both turned 21 over the winter (on February 1 and March 1, respectively) and, despite a paucity of experience above the lower minor league levels, earned spots in Oakland’s starting rotation out of spring training.

Both pitchers boast career minor league stats that shape up as those cool lines that I always enjoy, where the totals could easily be mistaken for a single outstanding campaign.  In Cahill’s case: 22-9, 2.68 ERA, 264 strikeouts in 238.2 innings, 1.089 WHIP.  Anderson: 22-12, 3.36 ERA, 243 strikeouts in 225.1 innings.  They be solid, yo.

Ready or not, here they come.  Cahill debuted on April 7 with a respectable outing against the Los Angeles Angels – three runs on five hits and five walks in five innings – before losing a 1-0 duel to Erik Bedard in his second appearance (one run, two hits, three walks, three strikeouts in seven innings).  Anderson made his own debut three days later, allowing five runs on seven hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss to the Mariners.  Like Cahill, his second game was much better – he limited the Red Sox to two runs on five hits in seven innings while striking out five – but, like Cahill, he was the tough-luck loser when the opposing pitcher (in this case, Tim Wakefield) worked a gem.

Two other guys on Baseball America’s list who deserved one of these posts but won’t get it because they’ve played a few games and I feel I’ve missed the boat: St. Louis’s Colby Rasmus, who has a great baseball name and was the number three overall prospect, and Toronto’s Travis Snider, who rolled from Dunedin to New Hampshire to Syracuse to Toronto without missing a beat in 2008 and was rewarded with the sixth spot on the list this year.  (Fun note: Snider was born the day after Anderson – February 2, 1988.)  Snider is also the first top prospect that I saw play in the minor leagues.

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