2016 O/U Wins:
2016 AL West Odds:
Projected Starting Rotation:
Sony Gray, Jesse Hahn, Rich Hill, Chris Bassitt, Kendall Graveman/Sean Nolin
Brett Lawrie, Jesse Chavez
Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, Yonder Alonzo, Ryan Madsen, John Axford, Marc Rzepczynski, Rich Hill
Handicapper's Take: "There’s a huge difference between the two leagues this year. In the NL, six teams are essentially out of the playoff race before the season even starts. Atlanta, Philly, Milwaukee, Cinci, San Diego and Colorado will consider the 2016 season a successful one if they finish at .500. You could probably say the same thing about the Miami Marlins, although that team has a bit more upside than the other six. In the NL, there’s a clear dichotomy between the have’s and the have not’s.
What the hell does this have to do with the Oakland A’s? Simple—the AL is different. At least 12 of the 15 American League teams can be considered legit playoff contenders coming into the campaign, all lined at 80.5 wins or higher. Tampa Bay is no bottom feeder, loaded with quality young pitching. Minnesota has some of the best young prospects in baseball and no one would be shocked if the Twins were good this year.
And then there’s Oakland. On paper, the A’s clearly look like the weakest team in a league that is loaded with good squads. GM Billy Beane made nothing but good moves over a decade long span of competitiveness. Over the last two seasons, Beane has lost his magic touch, making more than one bizarre, head scratching deal. The A’s were only -35 in runs last year, indicating that they are primed for improvement. But the roster, the rotation and the bullpen are all loaded with low upside question marks.
Other than Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation, the A’s don’t have an innings eater on the roster. Their bullpen has to be at least somewhat better with the additions of Rzepczynski, Madsen and Axford, as well as the return to health of injured closer Sean Doolittle, who pitched less than 14 innings last year. That being said, this is no elite pen. No infield in baseball has less power than Oakland’s and projected cleanup hitter Khris Davis has a grand total of 162 RBI’s in his first three big league seasons playing in a much hitter friendlier ballpark than the Coliseum. To me, the A’s look like the worst team in the division by a fairly wide margin."
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