Athletics Looks to Pitching to Bring in Wins

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 8:49 PM GMT

Let's take look at the MLB odds for one of the top teams in the game, the Oakland Athletics, and what might occur for them in 2014. Our handicapper has taken a look at their first spring game and has some future MLB picks chosen.

Oakland – Projected Win Total Ov88.5 wins – 1st in the AL West

After winning two division titles with 94 and 96 victories, Oakland goes after a third straight crown and like the Dodgers, yearns for more.

While Texas, the Angels and even Seattle to a lesser degree keeps spending money to buy wins, Billy Beane and the A’s keep developing pitching which gives them a chance most nights.

While the loss of Bartolo Colon is a blow, in the bigger picture it’s not that significant because of his age and realizing he cannot go on forever. Instead, the Athletics will rely on some of the best young pitchers in baseball like Jarrod Parker and Sonny Gray and fill Colon’s spot with resurrected Scott Kazmir.

The bullpen has more than enough arms and former Baltimore closer Jim Johnson should step right in with a pen as deep as there is in baseball.

Beane’s latest version of “Money Ball” still relies on players having exact skills which can give Oakland an edge in particular matchups they can exploit and the roster is built in that manner of having player versatility. Manager Bob Melvin has embraced this style and taken salary restrictions and added diversity and creativity to beat opponents.

Game Notes – Oakland won the game 7-3 and did so doing what they do best; taking advantage of opposition mistakes…..The most impressive A’s pitcher was reliever Sean Doolittle. The lefty reliever ate up left-handed hitter Andre Either and Gonzalez….Write this name down, Addison Russell for Oakland. He’s their shortstop and top prospect of the not too distant future and just needs polish, he’s the complete package.

MLB Season Prospects – The Athletics will open the season with fewer question marks and better pitching than anyone in their division and should be able to surpass the oddsmakers win projection once again and be strongly considered with one of your MLB picks.