Oakland A’s Anthony Aliotti – Finding His Way In Baseball
How did Oakland A’s first baseman Anthony Aliotti make his way to baseball? If he were ever destined to play a sport, judging by his family background you would have thought it would have been football. His dad, Joe, was the starting quarterback at Boise State University when it won the Division 1-AA national title in 1980 and his uncle, Nick Aliotti, is the defensive coordinator at the University of Oregon. But Anthony found his niche in baseball, and it’s turning out to be the right choice.
Anthony was drafted by the A’s in the 15th round (453rd overall) of the 2009 MLB Draft from St. Mary’s College in California. He’s a 26 year old lefty lefty (bats/throws) currently in his debut season with the Sacramento River Cats, triple-A affiliate of the A’s, putting him right on schedule for a prospect. He was a mid-season call-up to the River Cats, having started the year in double-A, Midland (RockHounds). In 91 games at Midland, Aliotti batted a triple-slash of .350/.452/.541, with 49 R’s, 29 2B’s, 12 HR’s, 51 RBI’s, and an OPS of .993. He also had a 83/66 K/BB ratio. Aliotti is also a plus defender at first, having only committed two errors and having a .997 fielding percentage.
Having out-grown the competition at double-A Midland, Aliotti got his call-up to triple-A Sacramento this season. Since arriving in Sacramento, Aliotti has played in 13 games, hitting .250/.294/.333, with 5 R’s. 1 2B’s, 1 HR, 4 RBI’s, and an OPS of .627. He also hasn’t bought with him his hitting eye, as he has an 11/3 K/B ratio. But over the last 10 games, Aliotti is starting to find his comfort zone and settling in to his knew surroundings. In those 10 games, Aliotti is hitting .278/.316/.361 with 3 R’s, 1 HR, and 2 RBI’s. Granted it’s a small sample-size, having only been call-up to Sacramento on July 18th.
I had the pleasure of watching Aliotti in action Friday night, as the River Cats took on the Albuquerque Isotopes, triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
First At-Bat: Right off the bat, I like this kids stance and swing. He looks like a hitter at the plate. Despite these nice complements, Aliotti didn’t do much at the plate, swinging at a bad pitch in the dirt for a strikeout to end the inning.
Second At-Bat: Aliotti continues to look out-of-sorts at the plate. He was way out-in-front on a few pitches, swinging and hitting dribblers foul. He ended the at-bat taking a call strike three over the outside corner for his second K of the out.
Third At-Bat: Aliotti continues to struggle at the plate, swinging and missing badly at the first two-pitches on the at-bat. He finally ended the misery by striking out for the sombrero on an off-speed pitch lower and outside of the zone.
Fourth At-Bat: Aliotti crushes a 2-0 pitch and hits it sharply to the first-second gap for a single. The ball skips off the second baseman’s glove as he attempted to make a driving grab, but the ball was hit just too hard. It was Aliotti’s best at-bat of the night.
Overall Analysis: I liked what I saw out of Aliotti despite his bad night at the plate. Aliotti has a nice lefty swing with an uppercut to it and plenty of power built in it. He’s shown good patience at the plate in the lower minors but for some reason hasn’t brought that over with him to triple-A. At age 26, he is still on the normal timeline for a minor leaguer to reach the majors, but he’s on the latter part of it and blocked by currently A’s first basemen Brandon Moss and Nate Freiman. Despite his struggles, I think Aliotti will spend the rest of this season and probably start next season here in triple-A Sacramento, as he needs the seasoning and reps to get better. Aliotti has the tools and may end up finding a home with the A’s or other team at some point in his career, but he must prove himself first before we can start to have that conversation.