Happy weekend everyone! In the previous 2 weeks I discussed teams in southern California and over the next 2 weeks I am moving my focus over to northern California, specifically the Bay Area. This week is all about the Oakland Athletics. For the moment, it appears that the A’s are destined to finish in last place in the West, however, this is a franchise that has surprised us many times before and if everything falls into place, there is no telling how well they may do. In this article I will discuss key hitters, pitchers, prospects and I will predict their final record. I hope you enjoy.
The Oakland Athletics: 74-88 (5th Place in AL west):
This is by far my favorite A’s moment in recent memory:
The Key Hitters:
C: Steven Vogt:
Although he is 31 years old, Vogt enjoyed a break out season in 2015 with the A’s as their every day catcher. In my opinion, he still relatively unknown and may be overlooked in drafts which leads me to believe that you can draft him at great value. He should hit in the middle third of the order and I expect 15+ HR, 70 RBI, 60 R, .265 avg and a .335 OBP.
1B: Yonder Alonso:
The A’s acquired him from the Padres this offseason and although he may be an upgrade for them at 1B, he really is not your typical corner infielder. He has never even reached double digit HR and there is no reason to believe that he will get there. He should go un drafted in almost every format but hopefully he can provide the A’s with a solid glove at 1B.
2B: Jed Lowrie:
He is back in Oakland after spending 2015 with the Astros. His season was cut short last year due to injuries and upon his return, he found himself on the bench due to the emergence of young phenomenon Carlos Correa. Just 3 years ago, in his first full season, Lowrie posted a stat line of 15 HR, 75 RBI, 80 R, .290 avg and a .344 OBP. Im not suggesting that he can duplicate those numbers in 2016, however, he’s worth keeping an eye on considering he’s a middle infielder and has eligibility all over the infield.
SS: Marcus Semien:
The 25 year old former White Sox prospect got his first opportunity to be an everyday player in 2015 with the A’s. He possesses above average power for a SS and should he his HR total continue to rise as he begins to enter the prime of his career. Im looking for him to hit 18 HR, drive in 55 and score over 70 runs in 2016. If he can raise his batting average from .257 and get on base with more regularity, he may be a terrific waiver wire pick up or bench player for your roster.
3B: Danny Valencia:
He was having a very solid year in Toronto before he was traded to Oakland at the trade deadline. In less game with Oakland he actually hit more HR and drove in more runs which should give fantasy owners confidence in drafting him. He is projected as a late round pick and should provide terrific value for your roster. In a full season, he could reach the 20 HR mark, drive in over 75 and score over 65 runs.
LF: Khris Davis:
This slugger was traded from Milwaukee this offseason to Oakland and at the very least he will provide some serious thump in the middle of the lineup. Don’t expect him to hit for much of an average or get on base to frequently, however, he will hit 25 or more HR and I can definitely see him driving in over 70. Keep in mind though that the ball park in Oakland is much less hitter friendly than Miller park in Milwaukee.
CF: Billy Burns:
This switch hitting outfielder may not provide you with much power, however he will hit close to .300 and get on base often. He is valuable because of his electric speed and definitely has a shot at stealing over 30 bases and scoring 80+ runs. He will be available in the latter stages of your draft and is one of the key offensive pieces for the A’s in 2016.
RF: Josh Reddick:
The former Red Sox farm hand has been very inconsistent since joining the A’s back in 2012. He has shown the ability to hit the ball out of the ball park while driving in 75+ runs and hitting over .270. The question surrounding Reddick is simple, will he produce like his 2012 and 2015 self or will we see the dreadful 2013 and 2014 version of him.
DH: Billy Butler:
Billy never developed into the superstar hitter that everyone expected him to when he broke into the league with the Royals back in 2007. He had one stellar season in 2012, however, since then his average has dropped each season and so has his RBI total. Last year was his first season with the A’s and it was sub par at best. He should definitely still be drafted in all formats and you can expect 14-17 HR with a .260 average and 60-70 RBI.
1. Billy Burns CF
2. Jed Lowrie 2B
3. Billy Butler DH
4. Josh Reddick RF
5. Khris Davis LF
6. Steven Vogt C
7. Danny Valencia 3B
8. Yonder Alonso 1B
9. Marcus Semien SS
The Pitching Staff:
SP1: Sonny Gray:
Gray is the one player who you can absolutely rely on in this rotation. Over the last 3 seasons (since he made his MLB debut), he has been one of the better pitcher in the American League. You can expect him to throw over 200 innings in 2016 and reach 170+ strikeouts as well. I typically don’t like to pay much attention to win totals however it is worth mentioning that you shouldn’t expect more than 13-15 wins considering that the A’s don’t score many runs and they play sub par defense.
SP2: Jesse Hahn:
His first season in Oakland was going pretty well until he went down with an injury mid season and was forced to miss the remainder of the year. Simply put, if the A’s want ANY chance of contending in 2016, they will need Hahn to resemble his 2015 self and pitch in at least 150 innings for them. He likely to be overlooked in most drafts which means if you want to draft him, you can get him very late, making him a great bargain on draft day.
SP3: Kendall Graveman:
Graveman was one of the pieces that came back to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson trade with Toronto. He got off to a very slow start, however he turned it around in the 2nd half and ended with an ERA of just over 4.00 in 115.2 innings. This year he should pitch in over 150 and I expect an ERA around 3.65 with 10 wins and 125 K’s. He is only 25 years old and has only 120 innings pitched, so its safe to say that he’s got a ton of juice in the tank and could be poised for a break out 2016.
SP4: Chris Bassitt:
He was originally drafted by the White Sox back in 2011 and made his MLB debut in 2014. He was acquired by the A’s for the 2015 season and gave them 86 quality innings. Do not be fooled by his 1-8 record though. He had a very respectable .244 BAA and a solid 3.56 ERA. Like Graveman and Hahn, Bassitt certainly has the potential to be a contributor for the A’s and fantasy rosters this year, however he likely won’t find his way onto your roster until you’re bitten by the injury bug.
SP5: Rich Hill:
The 36 year old veteran had a very solid season out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2015 but I seriously question his ability to compete in this league as a SP. I understand the need for a left hander in the rotation, however we have to ask ourselves if this is really the right guy for the job. He has only thrown over 100 innings once in his 11 season in MLB and hasn’t done it since 2007 with the Cubs. He is not draft worthy in any formats and I highly suggest you stay away from him.
Swing Man: Henderson Alvarez:
It was a very tough 2nd year in Miami for Alvarez after posting easily the best numbers of his career in 2014. He gets a fresh start in Oakland this season and I expect a huge bounce back performance. He is only 25 years old and has 5 MLB seasons under his belt already. The A’s got him at a great price in free agency and I’d be shocked if he didn’t take Rich Hills rotation spot either by opening day or by the end of April. This is one of my sleeper players in all formats.
SU: Ryan Madson:
He was a member of the World Championship Royals in 2015 and was extremely effective in his late inning role. He is will be valuable for leagues that reward Inherited runners stranded and Holds. He should definitely help shore up the back end of the A’s bullpen and will be next line for save opportunities if something were to happen to Doolittle.
CL: Sean Doolittle:
Fear the beard! When healthy this guy can be a dominant closer. He dealt with injuries for most of 2015, which could definitely affect his draft stock. You can likely draft him as the 16th-20th closer and he will provide tremendous value as long as he remains on the field. I know the A’s are very happy to have him back and they should feel very safe heading into the 9th inning with a lead.
SS: Franklin Barreto: He was the key acquisition by the A’s when they traded Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. He is only 20 years old and it seems like he has a bright future ahead of him. He was putting together a fantastic minor league season until he landed on the DL in July with a wrist injury. In a full season, he should be a contributor in every key offensive category and is expected to be MLB ready by 2017. Dynasty league owners should definitely have this guy on their radar.
LHP: Sean Manaea: If the A’s suffer a major injury to their starting rotation, Manaea is the most likely candidate to get the call to the big leagues. He is a hard throwing 24 year old lefty with a deceptive delive and possesses a slider that scouts refer to as a “Plus Slider”. He projects as a middle of the rotation type of pitcher and is expected to make his big league debut at some point in 2016.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 17th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #4 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss everything fantasy and MLB related in the N.L. East.
Come join a lively debate!
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday March 20th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will break down everything fantasy and MLB relevant for the N.L. Central division.
Our guests this week are Andy Macuga and Phil Weiss. Andy is the head baseball coach at Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California, and a veteran owner in MLFS leagues. Phil Weiss’s resume includes working as a CPA with a large public accounting firm as well as private industry (Fortune 500), specializing in international corporate tax planning. Also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Chief Financial Analyst for Independent RIA, responsible for individual securities held in client accounts.
Frequent guest on CNBC and Bloomberg television. Multiple appearances on Bloomberg radio, local and national radio.
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Fantasy Baseball Experience:
Seasoned fantasy player since college and also a Major League Fantasy Baseball team owner for 3 years.