Oakland A's 2019: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the AL West?

A year ago at this time, the A’s were just another rebuilding team. And then the games were played in earnest, and the team showed muscle and perseverance. A 97-win season and a strong second-place finish got them a Wild Card berth. And now, with the 2019 season upon us, Oakland is a team that still factors strongly in the American League West. 


The A’s are going to have to get their starting rotation together, or maybe not. Manager Bob Melvin looked positively adroit at using an “opener.” Last year it was done because of injuries that crippled the rotation, but in 2019 it will be no surprise if the A’s stay with the opener concept simply because they’ve shown they can make it work. And, yes, many of the same players who were injured last year are injured still, including some of the organization’s best arms.


The A’s will continue to lean on their power and defense. In the cases of third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson, they have both qualities. In Khris Davis, they have a year-in, year-out contender for the homer title, and they have depth in power — eight players in double figures for homers last year and five with 20 or more bombs.


Three-quarters of the infield — shortstop Marcus Semien in addition to Chapman and Olson — were in Gold Glove range last year, and the outfield is in good shape, too, with Ramon Laureano and Stephen Piscotty. But there is no answer yet as to a real replacement for catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the A's

Baltimore Orioles logo“Bob Melvin really deserved his Manager of the Year award, because nobody saw that team winning 97 games last season, especially with all of the injuries to their rotation. He’s a Bay Area guy who brings the right vibe to that team: even-keeled, no-nonsense, no panic. Of course, that lockdown bullpen would make anyone confident, but I worry that it lined up a little too perfectly, meaning it will be hard to repeat that success. They also got surprising production from first, second and third base, which might be tough to do again. That said, there is a lot to like here — the defense of Matt Chapman at third and Ramon Laureano in center, the power sinkers of closer Blake Treinen, the steady power bats of Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty. Lefty Jesus Luzardo is only 21, but his changeup and feel for pitching could make him a young Johan Santana. They don’t have a ton of reliable rotation options, though, so they’ll have to get creative — they used an opener for the Wild Card game, and they’ll use that strategy again.”


Beyond the Box Score

Our Home If the Raiders leave the Coliseum, as is the current plan, this will be the first time since 1994 that the A’s won’t have to spend the latter part of the season sharing the field with the NFL team, meaning they won’t see the outfield all chewed up down the stretch. 


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New Home? A’s primary owner John Fisher’s executive team has finally settled on Howard Terminal near Oakland’s Jack London Square as the location for a new stadium. However, it’s the second time in two years they’ve settled on a spot for a new home, and last year’s choice near Lake Merritt got shot down. 


Home Away From Home The A’s will open the season March 20-21 in Japan against the Mariners. It’s the third time the A’s have had their home opener across the Pacific after doing so against the Red Sox in 2008 and against the Mariners in 2012. That doesn’t count 2003, when the A’s and Mariners were scheduled to play in Tokyo, but the start of the Iraq War forced cancellation. And this will be the fourth home opener since moving West in 1968 for the A’s to be somewhere other than Oakland. The A’s opened the 1996 season in Las Vegas because repairs to the Coliseum weren’t far enough along.


Winning Ways Oakland has been in the postseason four of the last seven years and nine of the last 19 years. Over the last seven seasons, only the Dodgers (six) have more than four postseason trips. And over the last 19 seasons, only the Yankees (15), Cardinals (12), Dodgers (10), Red Sox (10) and Braves (10) have been there more.


Starting Data One of the side effects of the A’s going so often with an “opener” in 2018 just to get the first few outs is that the club’s starters finished with just 824.1 innings thrown, the fewest in A’s history in a non-strike season. Having 11 different pitchers make at least seven starts is tied for the most in MLB history (eighth time, Padres the most recent in 2016).


Getting Defensive The defense just got better and better last year. The A’s made 55 errors in the first 79 games, then only 34 errors in the final 83 games — a .989 fielding percentage that would stand as the best in franchise history if stretched out over the entire season. The A’s had four infielders named Gold Glove finalists — third baseman Matt Chapman, shortstop Marcus Semien, second baseman Jed Lowrie and first baseman Matt Olson. Chapman and Olson won the award.


Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

LF  Nick Martini (L)
SS  Marcus Semien (R)
RF  Stephen Piscotty (R)
DH Khris Davis (R)
1B  Matt Olson (L)
3B  Matt Chapman (R)
2B  Jurickson Profar (S)
CF  Ramon Laureano (R)
C   Chris Herrmann (L)

 

BENCH

C    Josh Phegley (R)
1B/OF  Mark Canha (R)
UT  Chad Pinder (R)
INF  Franklin Barreto (R)

 

ROTATION

RHP  Mike Fiers
RHP  Paul Blackburn
RHP  Chris Bassitt
LHP  Jesus Luzardo
RHP  Marco Estrada

 

BULLPEN

RHP   Blake Treinen (C)
RHP   Joakim Soria
RHP   Fernando Rodney
RHP   Yusmeiro Petit
RHP   Lou Trivino
RHP   Andrew Triggs
LHP   Ryan Buchter

 

2019 PREDICTION

2nd AL West 

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