”You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” – Joe DiMaggio
It’s that magical time of the year again when we get to celebrate Opening Day! The day that some of us countdown to, plan a dinner party, meet at your favorite watering hole to cheer on your team. Even some of us will be sitting in the stands cheering our team on.
We will cheer for our favorites, the players we feel like we know, call them by their nickname. Though with every new season comes with new players, so let’s get those introductions out of the way so we can bring them into the baseball team family.
Catcher – #21 – Jonathan Lucroy
Right Fielder – #25 Stephen Piscotty
Pitcher – #52 – Ryan Buchter
Pitcher – #15 – Emilio Pagan
Pitcher – #36 – Yusmeiro Petit
The Oakland Athletics Rotation will undoubtedly start with Sonny Gray on Opening Day. Behind him the likely contenders include some combination of Chris Bassitt, Jesse Hahn, Rich Hill and Kendall Graveman. Bassitt and Hahn looked really good when healthy last year with Bassitt compiling a 3.56 ERA, and Hahn a 3.35 ERA. Graveman was more up and down but had a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts. Rich Hill at 36 coming from the Red Sox had a very effective 4 starts with a 1.55 ERA but comes with same questions of health and durability that the youngsters have. While the foursome may not inspire confidence that this will be a set it and forget it rotation all have tremendous upside and teamed with Oakland’s new bullpen could be more effective then people envision. Throwing 5 or 6 good innings could be enough.
Given the inevitable injury and/or underperformance the A’s do have some options.
An interesting wild card is former Ace, Jarrod Parker whom is throwing off a mound after missing the last 2 years with injury. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from Parker who has just started adding changeups back to his repertoire.
In Mid-May, Henderson Alvarez, whom the A’s signed in the off-season will be healthy and should take one of the rotation spots from any underperforming youngster. Swing-starts should initially go to Felix Dubront.
The A’s top pitching prospect is 6 foot 5 left hander Sean Manaea. Manaea was 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 7 starts with 51 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 41 and 2/3 Innings Pitched at Double A Midland after being acquired in the Ben Zobrist trade. He will likely start the year in AAA but could be pushing for a spot in the rotation late in the year if there are injuries or underperformance.
ZIPS Projections for 2016 (no particular order)
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Before the acquisition of Khris Davis, the likely candidates for the A’s outfield included some mix of Mark Canha, Coco Crisp, Billy Burns, and Josh Reddick.
Coco Crisp, 36, was a non-factor last year and his injury history along with a neck injury that if it needed surgery would have required retirement makes him tough to project. Crisp whom years ago wasn’t happy the A’s pushed him out of Center Field has been the consummate professional saying:
“I’m comfortable with Khris Davis coming here,” Crisp told the Mercury News by phone Wednesday from his home in Southern California. “He’s a great athlete, and I’m happy we went and got him. This gets us closer to our goal, which is a green-and-gold ring. He’s going to help us.”
Crisp comes into spring feeling more healthy this year although his comments don’t inspire total confidence.
“My neck is my neck, and for now it’s fine. My level of confidence is good.”
Now with Khris Davis targeted for LF, Crisp will have to either spell Davis, or Burns primarily with the chance he could also spell Butler at DH or Davis could shift to DH, and Crisp to LF in such a scenario. This all comes with the caveat of health and that Butler finds a way to right his swing for 2016.
For his part Crisp has indicated he is focused on coming to Mesa for Spring Training and having fun again in 2016.
How do you see the OF, and DH situation playing out for the A’s? Where will Mark Canha play? Will Butler rebound? How much time does Crisp get?buy cialis online overnight
Online Sports Book Bovada has their futures bets odds for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. Well we do not endorse gambling it’s interesting to look at the Spring Training odds for the local teams. As you can imagine expectations are high for the Giants and not so high for the A’s.
- Giants +800
- Athletics +7500
+800 means bet $100, to win $800, while +7500 reflects winning a whooping $7500 if you bet $100. There is only one team laying worse odds than the Giants because of high expectations to win the World Series, the Chicago Cubs who are +400. Conversely only the Padres and Rockies come in at +10000 and +15000, longer odds than the Oakland A’s.
In summary, High expectation for the Giants, low expectations for the A’s. Not a big surprise.
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No sooner then I finished my off-season review, the Oakland Athletics added another bat, LF, Khris Davis. They traded minor league prospects, P Bubby Derby and C Jacob Nottingham. Nottingham was acquired in the Scott Kazmir trade and had a good bat, but was a couple of years away. The A’s had to designated pitcher Sean Nolin to clear roster space. Davis comes with four seasons of control.
Khris Davis, 28, played 121 games in Left Field. He had 392 ABs and hit 27 homers, while compiling a .247/.323/.505 line of AVG/OBP/SLG for a 828 OPS. He is not a well regarded outfielder.
Here are Khris Davis’ projected 2016 Numbers via ZIPS:
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- Signed Henderson Alvarez (Starting Pitcher) to 1 year/$4.25 million ($1.6 million in additional incentives)
- Traded 3B/IF Brett Lawrie for 2 minor leaguers
- Signed John Axford (Relief Pitcher) to 2 year/10 million
- Traded Evan Scribner for minor leaguer
- A’s signed Ryan Madson (Relief Pitcher) to 3 years, 22 million
- Acquired 1B Yonder Alonso and lefty reliever Mark Rzepczynski in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres
- Acquired Jed Lowrie in exchange for a minor leaguer
- Acquired Reliever Liam Hendriks in exchange for Jesse Chavez
- Signed Rich Hill, Left Handed Starter
The A’s off-season begun with promoting Billy Beane to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and David Forst to General Manager. The team went into the offseason with the key goal of trying to improve chemistry and bolster a bullpen that led to a 19-35 record in 1-run games and was 28th in MLB with a 4.63 ERA. The health of closer Sean Doolittle should be step one in a resurgence for that unit but adding Hendriks, Madson, and Axford can’t hurt as well.
Chemistry is something that Billy Beane has frequently said was created by winning. The A’s chemistry was so bad in 2015 that even for Beane it was a focus. The club brought back Mark Kotsay as a bench coach, traded for Jed Lowrie and jettisoned Brett Lawrie with chemistry in mind.
2015 was a disappointing year after the A’s came so close in recent years. It stung for Oakland fans watching Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes lead their clubs deep in the playoffs. Oakland goes into 2016 with a much improved minor league system (Top 10 Prospect List) that should have reinforcements on the way. The team also made a number of moves that should make the A’s more watchable, at least in 2016.
ZIPS 2016 Projections for Oakland Athletics Newcomers:
For those unfamiliar an ERA- of 100 is average, and below that is good. 86 is 14 percent better than average, and 110 would be 10 percent above average. ZIPS likes Madison and Hendricks quite a bit but is far less optimistic on Hill, Alvarez and Axford.
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John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports on Twitter that Josh Reddick is ready to talk extension. While many have speculated that the A’s would trade Reddick who only has one more year on his contract, Billy Beane has mentioned numerous times that Reddick was a candidate for an extension.
Given the A’s nature it is a comment that hasn’t struck a chord as serious with many. Reddick’s camp has been quiet but it’s possible a tough outfield market that has seen Yoenis Cespedes just sign for far less then he expected has swayed him. Reddick is coming off 2 strong years in a row including a .272/.333/.449 2015 campaign. He comes with strong defense in RF led by a strong arm. Fangraphs had him worth 3 WAR last year.
It is unknown what parameters the A’s or Reddick’s camp would be seeking for a deal.
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The full read is available from Baseball America, but they released the Oakland Athletics 2016 Top Prospects. Notably the top is Franklin Barreto acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade, Sean Manaea in the Ben Zobrist trade, and Matt Chapman a player the A’s drafted. There’s been some talk of Barreto playing CF although he is listed as a SS. Baseball America touts that help is on the way with this group of prospects.
Some quick stats
- Barreto at age 19 had a 302/339/500 line with a 839 OPS including 22 doubles, 3 triples and 13 homers at Single A Stockton.
- Manaea at age 23 had 7 starts with Double A Midland with 51 strikeouts and 15 walks in 42 2/3 innings. He had a 1.90 ERA
- Matt Chapman at age 22 in an injury shortened season in Stockton (A+) had 21 doubles, and 23 homers along with a 250/345/566 slash line equating to a 911 ops.
- Renato Nunez at age 22, made it up to Double A Midland and had 23 doubles and 18 homers along with a 278/333/480 line which gave him a 813 OPS
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Billy Beane appeared on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden to discuss offseason rumors. Beane noted that the A’s have “resisted some pretty aggressive suitors” for starting pitcher Sonny Gray. Beane has stated repeatedly that they are not interested in trading Gray and reiterated that saying, “We’ve been adamant with teams that we want to hang on to Gray.”
He also noted that the A’s are still trying to improve the club via trade and that it’s possible a free agent or two could slip through the cracks. This is in-line with our previous thinking that the A’s have some money to play around with.generic cialis not working
The A’s may have additional payroll flexibility but the question remains if there will be a suitable target that drops into their range.
AthleticsNation speculates the A’s possesses the ability to roll the dice on some sort of undervalued asset in much the same way the A’s landed Yoenis Cespedes before the 2012 campaign. The problem is there doesn’t seem to be any players that match that desire. The right gamble could be trans-formative just like the Cespedes move, but it doesn’t seem to be out there.
An outfielder or an additional starting pitcher would be on their wish list as the team probably has in excessive of $9 million a year in payroll room. If the A’s make a move it will be after other teams’ payrolls dry up as the remaining big names like Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton find homes.
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