Believe it or not, spring training is just a few days away. The A's will have as many as 61 players participating in big league camp, including 21 non-roster invitees.
While top prospects like Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Sean Murphy, and possibly Kyler Murray will rightfully garner most of the attention, there will also be several under-the-radar players who could contribute to the A's this season. We've picked out five to keep an eye on:
Parker Bridwell - RHP
The A's claimed Bridwell off waivers from the Angels last month. The 27-year-old will be a non-roster invitee to spring training.
Bridwell dealt with right elbow inflammation most of last season and only pitched 6 2/3 innings, but he was extremely effective in 2017, going 10-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The right-hander throws a fastball, cutter, slider, and changeup.
With Oakland's lack of starting pitching depth, Bridwell has a legitimate chance to earn a spot in the rotation during the first half of the season.
Tanner Anderson - RHP
The A's acquired Anderson from the Pirates in November and added him to their 40-man roster.
The 25-year-old spent most of last season in Triple-A, where he went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 61 1/3 innings as a reliever. In 2017, he made 19 starts and three relief appearances at the Double-A level, going 10-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 133 1/3 innings.
Anderson made his way up to the majors briefly last season, allowing eight earned runs and 15 hits in 11 1/3 innings. His versatility makes him an interesting asset for Oakland. He could be a starter, reliever, opener, or possibly follow an opener.
Jerry Blevins - LHP
Blevins is the A's most recent addition, signing a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. It's a homecoming for the 35-year-old left-hander, who spent his first seven seasons in Oakland, going 13-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.
Blevins struggled last year with the Mets, finishing 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA. However, he was 6-0 in 2017 with a 2.94 ERA.
Blevins will battle to earn a spot in the A's bullpen, which features several talented right-handers but only one southpaw in Ryan Buchter. Blevins will take aim at a bounce-back season as a situational left-hander.
Jorge Mateo - SS
Mateo came to the A's from the Yankees in 2017 as part of the Sonny Gray trade. The 23-year-old spent all of last season in Triple-A, batting .230/.280/.353 with three home runs, 45 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.
Mateo is ranked as the A's seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. Though he struggled at the plate last year, he has elite speed on the basepaths and outstanding range as a middle infielder.
While he figures to spend most of the 2019 season in Triple-A, Mateo could be a great weapon for the A's as a September call-up.
Sheldon Neuse - 3B
The A's acquired Neuse from the Nationals in 2017 along with Jesús Luzardo and Blake Treinen in exchange for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Neuse, 24, played in 135 games at Triple-A last year, batting .263/.304/.357 with five home runs, 26 doubles, and 55 RBI.
The right-hander figures to increase his power numbers this season at Triple-A. He hit 10 home runs in 55 games his junior season at the University of Oklahoma, slugging .646.
Neuse can play both third base and shortstop, but his bat is clearly his biggest weapon. He could provide the A's with a powerful pinch-hitting option come September.