I wrote yesterday about “finding the bright spots wherever you can in a season such as this”.
One of them undoubtedly is enjoying players finally achieving their dream of making it to the Big Leagues. We’ve seen nine players make their Major League debut so far this season with the Oakland A’s and in Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox we will see number 10.
Jonah Bride has been called up to the roster ahead of the series at Fenway Park and he will go straight into the starting line-up, playing third base and batting ninth.
Bride came into this season as an unheralded prospect on the national stage, yet if you followed A’s Minor League writers such as The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard you knew he was someone to keep an eye on.
He’s a classic type of prospect who doesn’t have one particular talent that makes him stand out, but rather does everything well.
In Lockard’s excellent profile of Bride, she includes a quote from the A’s farm director Ed Sprague that sums up the player perfectly:
“When people first see him, I don’t think they’re gonna be wild about what they see. He’s a guy that you appreciate the way he does things when you watch him every day.”
That may seem like damning Bride with faint praise, but it’s really not. This is someone who works tirelessly on his game, to the point where he happily started learning to be a catcher last season to add yet another string to his bow. I’ve written about this before, but as a fan you can enjoy watching these players every bit as much as a Matt Olson or Matt Chapman type who come up as a top prospect and develop into a leading player.
Kevin Smith’s demotion to Triple-A to make way for Bride is a reminder that the development path of a prospect is rarely a constant upward curve. There are bumps along the road and learning how to regroup and get back on track is an important part of becoming a Major League regular. We saw enough from Smith with the glove at third base to be optimistic that he can be back up this season once he has regained some confidence at the plate.
Meanwhile, Bride will skip onto the diamond at Fenway Park tonight fielding behind former Aviators teammate Jared Koenig, who will be making his second Big League start after his debut last Wednesday in Atlanta.
And it won’t only be a player making their Major League debut for the A’s against Boston. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, radio announcer for the A’s High-A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts, will be joining Vince Cotroneo in the radio booth covering for Ken Korach.
There isn’t much that the non-Player Operation higher-ups at the A’s have done to earn any credit this season, but whoever has helped Alex Jensen (Low-A Stockton Ports announcer), Bob Hards (Double-A Midland Rockhounds announcer) and now Jesse to call some Big League games definitely deserves praise.
All we need now is for Bride and Koenig to give him something exciting to talk about.