We wrap up the bottom 10 of our power rankings in Oakland with the Athletics.
Projected Record: 82-80 3rd in the AL West
Potential Lineup: CF Burns #1, 2B Lowrie #8, RF Reddick #22, LF Davis #TBD 3B Valencia #26, DH Butler #16, C Vogt #21, 1B Alonso #17, SS Semien #10,
Potential Rotation: 1.Gray #54, 2.Hahn #32, 3.Hill #30, 4.Bassit #40, 5.Nolin #47
Potential Bullpen: CL Doolittle #62, 8th Madson #44, 7th Hendricks #31 Mid Relief: Axford #61 , Rodriguez #33, Rzepczynski #35, Doubront #53
Potential Bench: C Phegley #19, IF Sogard #28 ,IF/OF Canha #20, LF Crisp #4
After three straight trips to October including back to back AL West titles (2012-2013) the A’s playoff streak came to an end in 2015. Many can blame GM Billy Beane for the lost 2015 season where Oakland had the worst record in the American league due to the fact he traded away Third Baseman Josh Donaldson who went onto win the league MVP for the Blue Jays in 2015. Yet this offseason it looks like Beane has improved his club rather than tear it apart. He improved the offense by bringing in Jed Lowrie to play second base this will be Lowrie’s second go around in Oakland. He also traded for First Basemen Yonder Alonso a career .273 hitter, who is a constant threat to get on base. Something Billy Beane loves to have in his ball players. Those should fit in nicely to an offense that has some talent finishing 14th in the MLB in runs scored a year ago led by catcher Stephen Vogt a 2015 all star, and youngster Billy Burns who put on an impressive rookie campaign batting .294. As for the Oakland starting pitching staff they have an ace in Sonny Gray. Gray was in AL Cy young chatter in 2015 posting a .273 ERA and winning 14 games. With the trade of Jesse Chavez to Toronto the A’s will hope veteran Rich Hill who made an impressive comeback to the MLB with the Red Sox in late August and September pitching to a 1.55 ERA in four starts can fill the hole left by Chavez. Oakland also brought in Henderson Alvarez once atop of the rotation pitcher for the Miami Marlins injury cost him most of 2015 and may keep him out for some of 2016 but if the Alvarez of old returns to the hill the A’s rotation can be very good. The A’s bullpen was the team’s biggest weakness in 2015. The team ranked third to last in bullpen ERA, and was without their closer Sean Doolittle for nearly the entire season. Billy Beane went out this offseason and made key additions to improve the Oakland pen. Signing veterans Ryan Madson, and John Axford, and trading for Liam Hendricks and Marc Rzepczynski to add a ton of depth to the pen. The A’s have an improved roster entering 2016 and if they can stay healthy the team may be back in the thick of the American League playoff race.