Oakland Athletics Predictions
The Oakland Athletics had an improbable run to the playoffs last season, winning their final 6 games of season to steal the division from the Texas Rangers on the last day of the regular season. In ’12, they relied heavily on a successful rookie class of starting pitching, and one of the best bullpens in the league. Plus, they combined solid defense and timely hitting to win their fair share of close games. Although some regression is realistic in ’13, the A’s will try to use the same formula for success to challenge for a Wild Card spot in 2013.
Projected Starting Rotation
Jarrod Parker (R) – The 24 year old Parker looks like the real deal after posting impressive numbers in his rookie campaign (13-8, 3.47 ERA in 29 starts). He owns a mid-90′s fastball with great movement, a plus-slider and one of the best split-changes in baseball.
Tommy Milone (L) – Another young talent entering his sophomore year in the bigs. Milone commands and changes speed like a seasoned veteran. He’ll try to improve on a 13-10 record, 3.74 ERA in 31 starts in ’12.
A.J. Griffin (R) – Griffin, 25, excelled with a 7-1 record, 3.06 ERA in 15 starts last season. He commands a low-90′s fastball with three plus-pitches, including a top-tier changeup. Oakland are expecting big things from Griffin, in a full-time role in ’13.
Brett Anderson (L) – Looked sharp in seven starts last season, after having Tommy John surgery the season prior. Anderson has a sneaky low-90 ‘s fastball with late movement and great breaking stuff. He will be a top-of-the-rotation starter if he can return to pre-injury form.
Bartolo Colon (R) – Colon will return the second week of the season from drug suspension. Once a power-pitcher, the 39 year old veteran has revived his career with great command of a ridiculous moving fastball, and above-average secondary pitches. Drew Straily is expected to make Colon’s first start, and then be sent to Triple-A afterwards.
Oakland should have a strong ‘pen again in ’13. Ryan Cook (6-2, 14 saves, 2.09 ERA) is set to take over the closer role, with Grant Balfour (24 saves in ’12) being slowed by injury to start the season. Either way, the A’s have two quality back-end arms, plus Fernando Rodriguez (Astros) has closing experience as well. Sean Doolittle, Chris Resop, Pat Neshek and Jerry Blevins will play key roles as well.
Coco Crisp (CF) – Crisp, an 11-year veteran has a lifetime .274 BA, and a .329 OBP. He has a solid glove, hits in the clutch and can steal bases. He stole 39 bases in ’12, and has 120 SB’s the last 3 seasons combined. He will likely share some AB’s with newly acquired Chris Young (Arizona) this season.
John Jaso (C) -Jaso, a 3-year veteran, hit .276 with a .394 OBP, 10 HR’s, 19 doubles, and drove in 50 runs in only 294 official AB’s with the Mariners last season. He will share some catching duties with Derek Norris, who showed great offensive promise last season.
Josh Reddick (RF) – Great outfielder and power-bat. He hit .242, 32 HR’s and drove in 85 runs in his first stint as a full-timer in ’12. Only 26, Reddick is a future star-in-the-making.
Yoenis Cespedes (LF) – The second year Cuban import, has adapted well to life in the Major Leagues. He arguably has the best bat speed in the league, and one of the best arms in baseball as well. In ’12, he led the team in batting average (.292), OBP and slugging percentage. He hit 24 HR’s, drove in 82 runs in 129 games.
Brandon Moss (1B) – Has turned himself into a solid bat. He hit .291, 21 HR’s, and drove in 52 runs in ’12.
Seth Smith (DH) – Smith, hit .240, 14 HR’s, 23 doubles and drove in 52 runs in 383 official AB’s in ’12. He should get the majority of DH-at-bats in ’13, but likely will sit some verses left-handers, and give up some AB’s to a rotating outfield.
Jed Lowrie (3B) – Only 28, Lowrie has a solid bat, but has a history of being injury-prone. Last season he batted .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games with Houston. He missed two months of the season with ankle and thumb injuries. Lowrie could put up big numbers in a contract year, if given the chance to play full-time. He will likely play a lot of shortstop as well.
Hiroyuki Nakajima (SS) – Has an underrated bat, with solid power to the gaps. Plus, he is solid in the field. However, his hold on the starting position is tenuous with acquisition of Jed Lowrie from the Astros.
Jemile Weeks (2B) – Weeks’ batting average dropped from .303 to .221 last season. However, he still young, and has great potential. He has stolen 38 bases in a 3/4-role his first two seasons in the league. He will likely battle Todd Sizemore for playing time most of the season. Sizemore, has had a rough spring trying to come back from knee surgery, which sidelined him most of ’12.
· To win World Series +2500
· To win American League Pennant +1650
· To win American League West +625
· Total Regular Season Wins Over 84.5 Wins -115
· Total Regular Season Wins Under 84.5 Wins -105
I’m predicting the Oakland Athletics will finish third in the American League West, with a 85-77 record.
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