2018 Athletics: Oakland Has Raw Power to Spare

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:08 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018 12:08 PM UTC

The Oakland Athletics always seem to stay within shouting distance of .500, and our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop takes a look at their chances with the 2018 roster.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Oakland Athletics of the AL West. The Athletics exceeded their 73.5-win total set at Bovada last year by winning 75 games. The Athletics are always around .500 so this is no surprise to me, and Bovada has set their win total a little higher this year at 74.5 wins.

Pitching Staff

The Athletics are looking to get the first full season of innings from Sean Manaea, who put up 2.3 WAR last season and is expected to repeat his winning record from 2017. Another oft-injured pitcher for the A’s is Kendall Graveman, who missed significant time in 2017 with a shoulder injury, but also started and ended the season with increased fastball velocity that made him more effective. Keeping with the trend of injured pitchers with upside, Andrew Triggs figures to be in the rotation after teasing elite talent in 2017 as well. Triggs put up a 1.84 ERA in April and a 3.45 ERA in May before his hip gave out on him. The Athletics have a closer locked in for the 2018 season, as Blake Treinen appears to have put together his repertoire well after coming over from Washington at the end of last year.

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Must be spring.@MarquetteKing looked good in a Raiders helmet taking some cuts with the @Athletics down in Arizona today: https://t.co/VTELRTJHj5 (via @Athletics) pic.twitter.com/yCAXkXNt6l

— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) March 12, 2018
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Lineup

The lineup of the Athletics has three extremely talented power hitters, one known and two just getting started. The one known of course is Khris Davis, who has put up more than 40 home runs two seasons in a row. There aren’t any indications that Davis will take a downturn in 2018, and despite his sub-.250 average he should be an important contributor on offense. The other power hitter of note is second-year player Matt Chapman. He should easily surpass 30 home runs given a full season of plate appearances, even though he does strike out a lot. Another is first baseman Matt Olson, who hit an amazing 24 home runs in a 49-game stretch in 2017. These three power hitters, combined with the typical on-base percentage focus of the rest of the lineup, aka GM Billy Beane, could catch lightning in a bottle.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

The unknowns for the Athletics this year may not be with their roster, as it always seems to be constructed to slightly over-perform expectations. However, with a historically talented team in the Astros in their division, and the Angels and Mariners looking to be a step ahead, the Athletics may get bashed in more games than not just by the unbalanced schedule. This may not be the season to wager on the A’s being a bit better than mediocre.

Current Win Total: 74.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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