Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
61,132 Seat Stadium
Manager: Bob Melvin
The Oakland A’s (97-65) finished in 2nd place in the AL West 10 game behind the 1st place Houston Astros. They were 19 games ahead of 3rd place Texas, 25 games ahead of 4th place Los Angeles and 29 games ahead of last-place Seattle. The A’s were awarded the 1st wildcard and got to host 2nd wildcard winner Tampa Bay in a one-game series and were eliminated by the Rays 5-1.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
SS Marcus Semien (Semien set career-highs with 162 games played, 657 at-bats, 123 runs scored, 43 doubles, 33 home runs and 92 rbi’s. I’m not done, 87 walks, tied his high with 7 triples, .285 batting average, .369 on-base percentage, and a .522 slugging percentage. I would say he did ok for himself in 2019)
OF Ramon Laureano (Ramon hit a solid .288 in his first big league season with half-decent numbers for just 48 games played. Last year in season two his games played increased to 123 and he kept his average at that same .288 but his numbers soared. His home runs went from 5 to 24, rbi’s from 19 to 67, runs scored from 27 to 79, stolen bases from 7 to 13 and hits from 45 to 125 with doubles increasing from 12 to 29. Of course, strikeouts went from 50 to 123 as well. The thought with Oakland he will become a 30 home run guy on a regular basis)
3B Matt Chapman (Matt finished his 3rd this season last year and his numbers just keep getting better. His three-year numbers in home runs are 14-24-36, his numbers in RBI’s are 40-68-91 with the latter being this past season and career-highs. Last season Matt hit .249 with 36 home runs with 91 rbi’s, 145 hits, scored 102 runs and walked 73 times. The A’s are high on Matt and fantasy experts are all expecting 40 home runs, 100 rbi’s and 100 runs scored from him on a regular basis)
1B Matt Olson (Matt Olson is very similar to Matt Chapman. He has one more year on Chapman with very similar power numbers with both increasing every year. Olson has a little more raw power, but Chapman is more of a pure hitter. Last season Matt hit .267 with 36 home runs, 91 rbi’s, 129 hits, scored 73 runs and walked 51 times. Oakland must feel good about having both Matt’s covering the corners of the infield)
OF Mark Canha (Mark playing in the most games of his young career has come through with his high highest batting average of .273, most home runs at 26 and runs scored at 80. This should be nothing new as many players of this age are finally maturing and starting to reach their potential, especially when it comes to power and home runs. Better things are more than likely still ahead for Canha)
DH Khris Davis (Khris Davis had his streak of hitting exactly .243 snapped at 4 years last season when he hit just .220. (How weird is that?) He also had his streak of hitting at least 40 home runs snapped at three years hitting just 23 last season. I guess what I am saying is 2019 did not treat Davis very well. He had 50 fewer rbi’s, 17 fewer doubles, 36 fewer base hits and scored 37 fewer runs. Apparently Davis early in May was injured crashing into a wall in Pittsburgh and was never the same the rest of the season. He is certainly capable of returning to form this season)
OF Robbie Grossman (Robbie is probably the weak link in this A’s lineup. Looking over his stats trying to find a strength, nothing is jumping out at me. He hit .240 last season with 6 home runs, 38 rbi’s and scored 57 runs. He had 101 hits with 21 doubles and 3 triples. He did steal 9 bases and was caught 4 times. He is about as average as you can get. I would just think with a team like Oakland who is trying to win a championship you would try to get an upgrade here. Maybe I am off base here, it is just my opinion)
C Sean Murphy (All I can is Oakland must think the world of Sean. Last year was his first season in the major leagues and he did not make his first start until September. He only played in a total of 20 games and got 53 at-bats in and they named him the starting catcher in 2020. Maybe it is because in his first nine games he batted .414 with 4 home runs and that stuck in their minds. He really calmed down after that and ended up batting just .245 with just those 4 homers and 8 rbi’s, scoring 14 runs, he had 13 hits with 5 doubles and walked 6 times and striking out 16 times. Does that warrant a starting job the next season? That does not feel like enough data for me to make the call. Then again there is a reason I am writing this stuff and not managing a major league team)
2B Anthony Kemp (Although this one is not etched in stone as of this writing, this is who I am going with based on his .444 hot spring. Franklin Barreto is the other candidate and his numbers so far in his career are worse. 2B is a weak spot of this A’s roster at least to start the 2020 season. Tony hit .212 with 8 home runs & 29 rbi’s, he had 52 hits with 9 doubles & 4 triples and walked 23 times while scoring 31 runs. He stole 4 bases and was caught 4 times in 110 games played with 245 at-bats. So as you can see it is nothing to get excited about, but Oakland must see something that stats are not showing, at least I hope so)
LHP Sean Manaea (When Sean had shoulder surgery in 2018 they thought it would keep him out all of last season, but recovery went better than expected and he came and shockingly was able to pitch in September last season. I would have been scared and nervous wondering how that shoulder was going to hold up thinking why are we risking putting him out here? Amazingly, he took the mound and made 5 starts to end the regular season and here are the results. 4 win & 0 losses, 1.21 era, 0.78 WHIP in 29.2 innings pitched. He struck out 30 guys and walked 7, he allowed 16 hits giving up 7 home runs. Those are incredible numbers considering at first they thought he would not be able to pitch this year at all. Now he did make one playoff start and got lit up giving up 4 runs, 4 hits, and 3 home runs while striking out 5 in two innings of work in a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay. All told it was a success story for Sean)
RHP Mike Fiers (Mike was probably the most consistent starter the A’s had last year and was actually their opening day starter as well. He had an outstanding season going 15-4 with a 3.90 era in 33 starts. He is not a huge strikeout guy with only 6.14 per 9 innings. His stats are not overwhelmingly great, but he managed to get hitters out when he needed to. At one point he went 8-0 holding hitters to a .187 batting average with an amazing WHIP of 0.93 and an era of 2.09 and let’s not forget about his no-hitter vs Cincinnati season as well. Real good guy to have on your staff)
LHP Jesus Luzardo (Jesus is considered by many as the best pitcher on this staff even though he has played just one season and has not started a game yet and made just 6 appearances, no pressure right? He was supposed to be in the rotation last season when shoulder problems led to him missing most of the season. He did not pitch until September and was limited to six appearances of three innings or less, so the stats do not mean that much. He was 0-0 with 2 saves, 2 holds, a 1.50 era and 0.67 WHIP. In his 12 innings pitched he struck out 16 and allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs with one home run and three walks. I would say he and the A’s should be pleased. This is a new year and so far this spring he has looked great. In a recent game vs Seattle, he struck out 8 of the 13 batters he faced and they say he is the talk of the cactus league. I can hardly wait to see him pitch. I am sure they will want to manage his workload this season and keep this guy healthy for the long haul)
RHP Frankie Montas (There is something about the A’s that they are always coming up with good young pitchers and Frankie is another one of those guys. Let’s just hope the PED’s that he was using and got suspended for last season was not the reason he was pitching so well. He finished the season going 9-2 with a 2.63 era and a decent 1.11 WHIP. In 96 innings pitched he struck out 103 and allowed just 84 hits which is a pretty solid ratio, but probably needs to cut back on his 23 bases on balls allowed. After serving his suspension he made one final start (ped free) and went 6 innings allowing 4 hits, 1 homer, 1 run, struck out 6 & walked 2 in a no-decision in case you were wondering)
RHP Chris Bassitt (Chris was moved to the pen in September last season after making 25 starts but is slated to start the season as the 5th starter. You cannot complain about a guy who has twice as many wins as losses. Chris has always been that guy on standby ready to fill in when needed in the rotation. He is a good guy to have on the staff and talented willing to do whatever is required of him. I think he has finally earned that 5th spot. Chris went 10-5 with a 3.84 era last season. He is striking out nearly a man an inning and giving up slightly less than a hit an inning, so his stats say he W/L record has the chance to get even better. He is a very solid 5th starter in my opinion)
CLOSER – RHP Liam Hendriks (It took nine seasons but Liam may have finally found a job as a closer. He has been a starter a couple of seasons and mainly a middle relief guy for most of his career. I don’t care what they tell you, all relief guys want to be closers, the guy who comes in and saves the day and finish off the game. Liam is finally THAT GUY. He did not do too bad in his first try either finishing with 25 saves with 7 blown saves. He was 4-4 with 8 holds as well and a 1.80 era and 0.80 WHIP. He struck out 124 in just 85 innings. He may not be one of the elite closers, but if you are a fantasy player, once those closers are gone you may want to pick up this guy)
I have always found myself rooting for the Oakland Athletic. They seem to get the most out of whatever they put on the field. I don’t know, maybe that stupid movie Money Ball can’t get out of my head.
They are the team that nobody talks about and then it is the middle of August and they are still in the thick of things and they get noticed. Then the public starts looking at their players and saying “ wow, he is pretty good, where did he come from?”
And then they lose a player or two to injury or free agency the following year and do it all over again. I will go ahead and take over now instead of waiting until August or September and realize the talent on this team.