Oakland Athletics 2019 Season Preview
2018 Record: 97 – 65
Projected 2019 Record: 86 – 76
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
The Oakland A’s turned in an incredible 2018 season. Everything seemed to click, and the organization finished with a whopping 97 wins, somehow good enough for only second place in the AL West. And, of course, it only made sense that their 97-win season abruptly came to an end after a wild card game loss to the powerful New York Yankees.
However, let’s look at the positives of the past season. Despite the fact that the A’s on opening day had the lowest payroll of any MLB team, they managed to win 22 more games than in 2017, they were 31-14 in one-run games, and they continued to be a team that greatly utilized the homerun ball.
Oakland will once again come into the season as a big contender in the AL West. And despite concerns regarding whether last season was an anomaly, skipper Bob Melvin feels confident in his squad.
When people think of the stronger assets that the A’s organization has, most of these assets fall on the offensive side. Players such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis provide a good blend of getting on base, power, and overall grit in the batter’s box.
Yet, the pitching side of things seems to be a bit more ambiguous. No one is entirely sure what the starting rotation will look like. However, this should not be too big of a concern given that the A’s were in a similar spot coming into last season.
It will also be interesting to see how the A’s fare without Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy.
2019 Starting Pitchers
Obviously, the A’s starting pitching raises a number of questions. However, it is almost guaranteed that Mike Fiers will be at the helm of this rotation. Fiers turned in a decent 2018, going 12 – 8 with a 3.56 ERA while pitching for both Detroit and Oakland. His career numbers aren’t all that impressive, but he looks to improve on what was a positive last season.
Second in the rotation will be one of the A’s newest additions, Marco Estrada. Estrada is a veteran righty that has split his time between the Nationals, Brewers, and Blue Jays. He has had an up and down career, and unfortunately turned in some rocky numbers in 2018. In his final season with Toronto, he went 7 – 14 with a high ERA of 5.64.
After these first two, the ambiguity sets in. A likely third man could be Brett Anderson or Frankie Montas. Anderson had a so-so year in 2018 going 4 – 5 with an ERA of about 4.50, though he did spend a lot of the season injured. Montas, a young, 25-year-old righty, turned in similar numbers going 5 – 4 with an ERA of about 3.90.
The last spot in the rotation is a toss-up between Arron Brooks, Daniel Mengden, and Chris Bassitt. The A’s hope to crush the numerous doubts this pitching staff raises coming into the 2019 regular season.
2019 Relief Pitchers
Despite a struggling rotation, the a’s relief core looks decently strong coming in to 2019. At the healm of this bullpen is closer Blake Treinen. Treinen’s numbers in 2018 were insane to say the least: he notched 38 saves while keeping his ERA to an incredibly low 0.78.
Another strong relief presence is Joakim Soria, who comes over from the Rockies. Soria has loads of MLB experience and comes into the season having posted good numbers last year. He finished his 2018 with an ERA of 3.12, as well as with 16 saves.
You should also keep an eye out for players like Fernando Rodney, Ryan Buchter, and Yusmeiro Petit as other strong relief pitchers for Oakland.
While the team’s offense won’t be nearly as strong as in 2018, The A’s lineup is still in contention as one of the best in the AL. That starts with what will likely be the heart of the A;s lineup: Matt Olson, Khris Davis, and Marcus Semien.
Olson, the A’s young first baseman, will be playing in just his 4th MLB season. Last season, he showed not only good power, but also durability. He played in all 162 games, mashing 29 homers and knocking in 84 RBIs.
And if you think Olson has power, what if I told you that Khris Davis doubles it. Davis led the majors in home runs last season with 48 and also added a whopping 123 RBIs. If that A’s can find a way to consistently put runners on base, don’t be surprised if his numbers increase.
Semien, the team’s shortstop, is another one of the players who has shown both power and durability. He only hit half the amount of home runs as Olson but posted a slightly higher average and got on base more.
Speaking of getting on base, the A’s top of the lineup is just as good as its core. Arguably the best all-around player on the A’s is third baseman Matt Chapman. Chapman batted .278 in 2018, knocking in 68 RBIs, mashing 24 homeruns, and putting up an OBP of .356.
If these stars, along with the rest of the A’s lineup, are in full form in 2019, the team’s offense should have no problem producing runs once again.
Projected Starting Lineup
- Jurickson Profar
- Matt Chapman
- Matt Olson
- Khris Davis
- Marcus Semien
- Stephen Piscotty
- Robbie Grossman
- Ramon Laureano
- Josh Phegley
Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
Blake Treinen – With no real healthy starters, or starters viable for fantasy at the moment, we turn to Blake Treinen. Yes, eh had crazy high peripheral stats that were in his favor, resulting in a 0.78 ERA, but even tacking a few runs on he is an elite closer. He had 38 saves last season, and 30+ this year should be in the books. He has some of the nastiest stuff, and you can go find some gifs at Pitching Ninja.
Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Khris Davis – Khris Davis has hit for a .247 average in four straight seasons. Talk about consistency. He has also clubbed 40+ HR in three straight, topping 100+ RBI in each. Davis is a monster HR threat again, even in Oakland. You have to take the bad average, but everything else will be there.
Matt Chapman – Matt Chapman did have offseason shoulder surgery, but has looked fine in Spring Training. Chapman has Josh Donaldson ceiling potential in terms of a fantasy standpoint, and that isn’t a lazy comp because they both played for Oakland. Their numbers and play are just extremely similar.