Oakland Athletics Predictions
The Oakland Athletics were one of the biggest surprises in the MLB last year. Their 2012 season unfolded very similarly to the movie Moneyball, which is a story about how general manager Billy Beane was able to get Oakland competing with teams like the New York Yankees despite having one of the smallest payrolls in the league. Beane worked his magic again last year as the A’s roared to a 33-13 finish after August 15th to capture the AL West title on the final day of the season. They would go on to give Detroit all it could handle in the ALDS before falling in five games. With almost everyone returning from that that team, look for Oakland to make another push toward the postseason in 2013.
Coco Crisp (CF) – Has hit .314 with runners in scoring position while stealing 120 bases in three seasons with the A’s. He is one of the most underrated players in the league and a key reason why the A’s made the run that they did last year.
Hiroyuki Nakajima (SS) – Hit .302 with four seasons of at least 20 homers in Japan. Nakajima signed a two-year deal with Oakland this offseason.
Yoenis Cespedes (LF) – Many didn’t believe Cespedes was worth the four-year, $36 million deal the A’s signed him to last year. After he hit .292 with 23 homers, 82 RBIs and 16 steals last year, they may have gotten a bargain.
Josh Reddick (RF) – He embodies the A’s offense as he hit a ton of homers (32) last year, but he also struck out a whopping 151 times.
Chris Young (DH) – It’s a bit unclear where Young fits at this point, but after trading for him in October, it’s almost certain he’ll be in the lineup somewhere. He is a great outfielder, but he’ll probably start out as the designated hitter. Young is coming off a down year (.231, 14 homers) in Arizona, but he is still young (29) and has shown what he’s capable of in the past (32 HRs in 2007, 27 in ’10).
Brandon Moss (1B) – A great first pitch hitter, Moss led the American League with a .545 average when putting the first pitch in play. He hit .291 with 21 homers in just 265 at-bats for Oakland last year.
Jed Lowrie (3B) – Acquired in a trade from Houston, Lowrie is certainly an upgrade over Josh Donaldson at the hot corner. He hit .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs with 43 runs scored in only 97 games and 340 at-bats last year.
Scott Sizemore (2B) – The organization cannot wait to see Sizemore hit the field after sitting out all of last season due to knee surgery. He will battle Jemile Weeks (.304 SLG) for the starting job this spring.
John Jaso (C) – Fits Beane’s philosophy perfectly. Jaso is a career .255 hitter but his .359 on-base percentage is what Beane loves. He’ll share time with backup Derek Norris, who helped his pitchers to a 3.13 ERA when he was behind home plate last year.
Brett Anderson (LHP) – The Southpaw has held opponents to just a .195 average with runners in scoring position over the past three seasons. Anderson went 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in just six starts last season as he was injured most of the year.
Jarrod Parker (RHP) – The former first-round pick went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA over 29 starts last year. He also posted seven quality starts in his eight no-decisions.
Tommy Milone (LHP) – Went 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA over 31 starts for the A’s last season. He also tossed the team’s only complete game in a win over the Dodgers last June.
Dan Straily (RHP) – The rookie went 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts last season. He will now step into a full-time role in this rotation provided he can beat out Bartolo Colon.
A.J. Griffin (RHP) – Had a solid rookie season overall going 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 starts. However, Griffin slumped to a 7.27 ERA in his final four starts of the regular season. He must prove that he can handle a full season’s workload.
Ryan Cook (RHP) – Held opponents scoreless in 22 of his final 23 regular-season appearances in his first season in Oakland. Finished 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA with 80 strikeouts over 73.1 innings. Sean Doolittle (2-1, 3.04 ERA, 60 Ks in 47.1 innings) will be Cook’s primary setup man.
2nd Place AL West & OVER 83 Wins – With almost everyone back from last season, I look for the A’s to come close to reaching their 94-win total from a year ago. This team heads into 2013 underrated once again. There is power throughout this lineup as the additions of Chris Young and Jed Lowrie have made it even more dangerous. The rotation is underrated as well as it ranked third in the AL in starters’ ERA (3.80) last season despite having only two players (Parker, Milone) make more than 25 starts. With a healthy Anderson back, and Straily and Griffin coming off promising rookie seasons, this rotations should only be better in 2013. Getting to 94 wins again is unlikely, but surpassing 83 seems like a pretty safe bet.
|2013 Oakland Athletics Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O83 (-110)|