The full blown demise of the Oakland A’s might have been called too soon after their late season swoon and accompanying moves and trades that left MLB baseball handicappers and those creating sports picks left to scratch their heads.
Oakland – Projected Win Total 81 wins – 3rd in the AL West
Oakland is back in the role of underdog, seemingly where they are most comfortable, being under the radar.
Last year it was unnoticed by many people placing MLB picks, the A’s were 14th in the AL in errors, only ahead of Cleveland. A somewhat compelling argument can be made versus Tampa Bay for example, who had 23 fewer errors, because of the pitching makeup of both teams, the Athletics had a league-high 6135 total chances or 347 more to make errors than the Rays, who had the fewest fielding opportunities in the league.
Regardless, manager Bob Melvin likes his rebuilt infield and the flexibility it offers and believes the defense will improve.
Another area Oakland definitely will have to improve with a team not having as much talent as last season is in the role of underdog in MLB odds. It is inconceivable that a squad which had the best run differential in all of baseball at +157, was 3-18 as an underdog last season. Anything even close to that will place the Athletics under .500.
Melvin’s squad will have the versatility the organization prefers, but they were only 8th in home runs a year ago and the current roster setup would forecast south of that number, meaning fewer chances for big innings without multiple hits and walks.
The end result is expected to be very close to the what sportsbooks have the A’s, not a last place team in utter turmoil, rather a club which is retooling to match its limited payroll potential who could finish a few games either side of .500.