The A’s bowed out in the first round of the postseason, but overachieved in what was a 90+ win season that surprised us all. Repeating this success is going to be a tough task, but with Seattle taking a step back, and the rest of the division not named Houston having lackluster teams, Oakland could possibly sneak back into a Wild Card spot. It will be hard for them to overcome some of the AL’s elite, but hovering around 85-90 wins would have them in contention. The offense is coming back mostly intact, but the loss of Jed Lowrie to the Mets is going to be felt. They replaced him with Jurickson Profar, who is a similar player, but ceiling might be a bit capped. Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, and Matt Olson will lead this offense. It could be the rotation that keeps them from having 2018 type success.
The Oakland rotation is in big trouble, and mainly because injuries have already kicked in. Sean Manaea underwent surgery, and names like Daniel Gossett and Jharel Cotton have also had injury issues. They have younger arms, but 2019 ready is a lot to ask. It would be unlikely if we saw Jesus Luzardo, and A.J. Puk is dealing with injuries of his own. So right now we have Mike Fiers, Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt, and Andrew Triggs as the starting arms. Not a ton of strikeout potential or elite talent mixed in, and that could be a big problem. There is a chance they look to involve their bullpen more and hope these names can give them five strong injuries or so. Projections have every starting pitcher with over a 4.00 ERA, and in combination that is not something you want to see. Oakland will also likely stay firm in making a move for a starter, but if they are in the hunt mid-year, they will have to make a move for a legit starter to make them competitive the rest of the season. It is hard to see this rotation winning 90 games like last year, but they have always surprised us.
Matt Chapman is an up and coming third baseman, and because he plays in Oakland there might not be the national recognition that others get. He has above average power, but also is an elite defensive infielder drawing comparisons to Nolan Arenado in that department. Matt Olson is the other big name, who is projected to hit over 30 HR again. He is a big power bat, and despite playing half of his game in a top five pitchers park, it has not had a big effect on him. Both Chapman and Olson will look to continue a positive career trajectory, and adding in a higher average for both would be key given they can be a bit boom or bust at times.