Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#16 Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics
Last Year: 75-86 3rd in AL West
This Year: 2nd in AL West

The Athletics do things their own way. They find success on a very small budget. While the goal is the same as the Twins they have a lot different way of going about it. The Twins like defensive minded, fast light contact hitters. Oakland likes slow, defensively challenged hitters that either hit a home run or walk. If a player steals a base he might get benched. They have taken an interesting approach this year by spending some money in an apparent attempt to win this year. The problem is this team is not capable of winning this year.

Opening Day Lineup w/Projections
RF Ryan Sweeney .286 7 HR 56 RBI
SS Orlando Cabrera .273 7 HR 59 RBI
LF Matt Holliday .333 27 HR 104 RBI
DH Jason Giambi .237 26 HR 94 RBI
3B Eric Chavez .245 17 HR 65 RBI
2B Mark Ellis .239 11 HR 54 RBI
RF Jack Cust .241 35 HR 79 RBI
1B Daric Barton .232 11 HR 53 RBI
C Kurt Suzuki .271 6 HR 45 RBI

RHP Justin Duchscherer 10-12 3.12 ERA 112 K
LHP Dana Eveland 10-9 4.45 ERA 128 K
RHP Sean Gallagher 8-12 5.35 ERA 123 K
LHP Gio Gonzalez 5-10 5.45 ERA 135 K
LHP Dallas Braden 8-6 4.23 ERA 87 K

CP RHP Joey Devine 1.79 ERA 28 SV 63 K

Best Case Scenario: Holliday's numbers don't dive despite leaving Coors for the spacious McAfee Coliseum. Giambi and Cabrera stay relevant. Duchscherer gets healthy and builds off his breakout year last year. Gallagher and Gonzalez step up in the rotation. This team competes with the Angels in the division and gets close to 90 wins.

Worst Case Scenario: The team gets off to a slow start and Cabrera and Holliday are sent packing. Duchsherer can't get healthy and doesn't pitch this year. With a lineup averaging .235 they can't win games only hitting solo home runs. They end up in 3rd place and closer to the Mariners than the Rangers and Angels.

Player Most Important Success: Matt Holliday. There is a different reason why Holliday is important. It is not because of his on-field success it is because of which field he is on. When he was traded to Oakland from Colorado heads across the nation scratched. He is a free agent after this year and there was never a chance the A's planned on giving him a long term contract. They are also not a legitimate contender this year. The question is how long is he an A. I would guess he will be gone in July for a boatload of prospects to either the Mets or Yankees needing a corner outfielder for the stretch run. If he sticks out the year they will be a decent team just because of his talent.

Outlook: This projection is based on the team they have now and Holliday staying. Their lineup is not very exciting and neither is their rotation. However, Billy Beane always gets the most out of little talent and they always have a stellar bullpen. I have no idea what Billy Beane is up to this year. He signed aging veterans Orlando Cabrera, Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra. They could be solid help on a veteran team looking for a bat off the bench but that is not this team. My guess is this team will look very different in September. I think Billy is hoping Cabrera, Giambi, Nomar and Holliday get off to hot starts and he collects an entire team of prospects. It will be interesting to see the moves of this team, certainly more interesting than watching this team.

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