Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Oakland Athletics 2018 season preview



                 In another rebuilding season, the Oakland Athletics finished last in the AL West with a 75-87 record, obviously missing the playoffs. They didn't have that many pieces to move, besides 1B Ryon Healy. But, as rebuilders, there is always something to do. Let's take a look at the A's offseason.

                Notable additions: C Jonathan Lucroy, OF Stephen Piscotty, LHP Ryan Buchter, RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Yusmeiro Petit, RHP Emilio Pagan, OF Slade Heathcott, INF Steve Lombardozzi.

                 Notable subtractions: 1B/3B Ryon Healy, OF Rajai Davis, OF Jaycob Brugman, RHPs  Jesse Hahn, John Axford.

                What they did well: The Lucroy signing was a steal. So was the Piscotty trade, but it was a dump off for St. Louis.

                What they did bad: They got fleeced in the Healy trade. I know he didn't have a spot, but they could've gotten more for him.

                 Sneaky sleeper: Right from L.A., Yusmeiro Petit had one of his best years yet with the Angels last season. Petit had a 2.76 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 91.1 innings. Those stats look more like a dominant starter (that was injured) than a reliever. He's already one of their top relievers.

                 Incoming outbreak: After a midseason call-up, Matt Chapman had a decent season, hitting 14 homers, but yielding a .234 average. That was just in 290 ABs. With Healy gone, Chapman will be the opening day third baseman. Chapman can really break out in 2018. Watch out for Matt Olsen as well. He has a very similar story to Chapman, and can also breakout.

                   Unsuspected slump: After a mediocre 2016 got him kicked out of San Fransisco, Santiago Castilla had an even worse 2017. With a 4.27 ERA in 59 innings, the now 37 year old isn't as effective as before. Castilla isn't closer material, and is barely a decent middle reliever.

                    Blue-chip Bopper: Even though his 195 strikeouts are ugly, Khris Davis still hit 43 homers and drove in 110 runs in 2017. A move to full-time DH will help him focus more on his hitting. That will make him more dangerous.

                    Astounding ace: This is more like spot a random pitcher. I'll spot Kendall Graveman, who had an average 4.19 ERA. But, since Sonny Gray is a Yankee, the A's don't have anything better. 

                Here is the A's projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 CF Dustin Fowler (L)
 2B Jed Lowrie (S)
 DH Khris Davis (R)
 C Jonathan Lucroy (R)
 1B Matt Olsen (L)
 3B Matt Chapman (R)
 RF Stephen Piscotty (R)
 SS Marcus Semien (R)
 LF Mark Canha (R)

                     Here's their rotation.

 RHP Kendall Graveman
 RHP Trevor Cahill
 LHP Sean Manaea
 RHP Andrew Triggs
 RHP Paul Blackburn
 LHP Brett Anderson

     Blake Treinen (R) is their closer, with Ryan Dull (R), Dan Coulombe (L), Santiago Castilla (R), Ryan Buchter (L), Liam Hendriks (R) and Yusmeiro Petit (R) in the bullpen.

     C Bruce Maxwell (R), 2B Chad Pinder (R) and OF Matt Joyce (L) are on the bench.

     Finally, for my prediction, I think the A's, a developing team, will miss the playoffs in 2018.

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