Oakland – Projected Win Total Over 86.5 wins – 2nd
in the AL Central
When we last visited Oakland, everything was going great, the starting pitching was deep, the offense was generally improved and being two-time AL West champions, the confidence was in place. However, since then the MLB odds have changed with Jarrod Parker’s season-ending Tommy John surgery (his second), A.J. Griffin battling a bad elbow and out until May and Bartolo Colon replacement Scott Kazmir dealing with arm woes.
The A’s win total has dropped two and they are no longer the favorites to win the division, at least not at the moment.
Oakland will have to instead rely on Tommy Milone, Daniel Straily and most likely Jesse Chavez to be innings-eaters. The trickledown effect is expected to be this trio will most likely have maximum effectiveness thru five innings or so, which is why GM Billy Beane is now seeking help in long relief since this has for the time being been stripped from him.
While the pitching situation is not all rosy, the Athletics offense was fourth in runs scored and slugging percentage last year and this team can still hit.
MLB Season Prospects
In looking for a key to Oakland’s season, the A’s almost always dominate in interleague play (14-7 in 2013) and when you combine their record against the National League and crushing Houston last year, that alone put them 18 games over .500. MLB baseball handicappers would probably settle with the A’s being 15 games over .500 this campaign which would mean they would just have to be 62-59 against everyone else in the American League to reach 90 wins, which seems doable, particularly if Griffin and Kazmir return and are effective.