ROOKIE WATCH: CARLOS GONZALEZ – OF – OAKLAND A’S

MONEY BALL keeps on rolling!!! Billy Beane has brought up one of the youngsters he acquired this past season, retooling his ballclub. The Oakland A’s don’t have alot of money to keep their established stars. So instead, they need to rely on a good farm system and the ability to bring in blue chippers from other organizations when the talent on the A’s get too overpriced for their budget.

Some of the talent they’ve jetisoned recently has been Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Dan Haren, & Nick Swisher. Now with alot of teams, getting rid of that much talent would mean disaster. But that’s not the case with the A’s. Oakland is currently in 2nd place in the AL West with a record of 29-26. While nobody expects this team to be there at the end, it’s something they’re only 2 1/2 games behind the LA Angels of Anaheim.

The pitching staff is pretty much made over, with a rotation of Rich Harden (if his arm stays on), Justin Duchscherer (from bullpen to disabled list to the rotation), Greg Smith (a lefty prospect acquired from the D*Backs), Joe Blanton (will get his 30+ starts in), and Chad Gaudin (can work the rotation or the pen). If anybody falters, there are a couple of highly touted hurlers waiting in the wings, Gio Gonzalez (a nice lefty) & Fautino De Los Santos (a fireballing righty), both picked up from the White Sox. Huston Street is still around to close out the games, one of the best, and still young enough to stay in Oakland, for now.

The infield is made up of some veterans, the oft-injured Bobby Crosby & Eric Chavez at SS & 3B respectively, with Mark Ellis playing 2B. 1B Daric Barton & C Kurt Suzuki are two youngsters, who’ve been holding their own, but look to be good ones. Beane brought in DH Mike Sweeney from KC and brought back Frank Thomas, after Toronto cut him loose, both at bargain basement prices.

Speaking of bargains, Emil Brown has 37 RBIs for the A’s in 53 games this year. A young talented outfielder from Iowa, acquired from Chicago, is Ryan Sweeney. Then there’s Travis Buck, who batted in the .280s as a rookie, last year. A couple of other castoffs on the team are Jack Cust (who can hit the ball as far as anybody) and Rajai Davis.

After all this talk about the A’s, it’s time to talk about the man of the hour, Carlos Gonzalez. Carlos was one of the best prospects with Arizona. Gonzalez is a lefthanded hitting outfielder, with a line drive stroke. The Venezuelan youngster was hitting .293 at Sacramento when he was called up to the big club. In his first game he was two for three, with two doubles, and an RBI. This kid is a special player, he belongs. Believe it or not, the pipeline’s not dry yet as there are still a couple of players down there, power hitting firstbaseman Chris Carter (whom the Sox traded to the Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin) & always hustling switch-hitting outfielder Aaron Cunningham.

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