When Chris Carter became a promising fixture in the Athletics’ lineup, that automatically made powerful outfield prospect Michael Choice the number one prize in the organization’s minor league system of affiliates. Unfortunately for the A’s and the young outfielder, Choice is going to be shut down for the remainder of the 2012 season after suffering a fractured hand in the AA Midland Rockhounds’ 8-3 win over San Antonio on Saturday night.
Choice, ranked the #48 prospect in the minors by MLB prospect watch, had gotten off to a slow start in his AA season with Midland before going off on a recent tear that left him with 10 home runs and 58 RBI to go along with a .287/.356/.423 slashline. It is unknown whether or not the A’s planned on giving Choice a shot at the big show upon the expansion of rosters in September, but that question has been made immaterial by the injury. The issue now is whether or not the 23 year old slugger will be ready for AAA next year.
Amidst a myriad of good vibrations by the Bay (Oakland is a season high 8 games over .500), Choice’s injury will surely dampen spirits among the franchise’s administration. 32 year old centerfielder Coco Crisp has had a remarkably poor season (.248/.309/.331) despite remaining a threat on the base paths with 19 steals. For all his hard nosed play, those numbers frankly make him a replaceable part and Choice is the obvious candidate.
By all accounts, Choice still has the opportunity in the near future (perhaps as soon as September 2013) to join a promising outfield that already includes Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes. A broken hand, of course, is not the end of the world for a young player. It is not a lingering type of injury. But a prematurely ended season will test the patience and mettle of the A’s top prospect.