2011 American League West Previews: Athletics
22 February 2011
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Today’s Focus: OAKLAND ATHLETICS
2010 Record: 81-81 (2nd in Division; 8th Best Record in AL)
2006 was the last time Team Moneyball had a team that finished over .500. Since then, every GM has read and re-read that book. In 2010 the A’s finished at .500 and one would wonder how that happened. Gone are the days of the Bash Brothers, but now the Bay Area gets to enjoy Godzilla! Yeah, I’m sure the Bay Bridge is lovin’ that…
The 2011 lineup looks a lot better than last year’s, but it doesn’t mean it will be scaring anyone. This team will have to win with small ball and pitching, but it will happen. The A’s could sneak up on everyone once again this year, mainly because their staff might turn out to be the best in the division when all is said and done. Brett Anderson is an ace. Trevor Cahill will regress, but how much? Gio Gonzalez looks brilliant at times and will look to build on his 2010 success as long as he keeps the walks down. Dallas Braden is the ARod-killer and most people forget their #5, Josh Outman, was carrying a 3.49 ERA around until he Tommy John’d himself.
This team knows how to manufacture runs as they were 3rd last year in stolen bases. Matsui and Willingham will do their part to improve upon the team’s 28th-best HR totals of 2010. The bullpen might be one of the best in the AL as they will either carry the team into October or be nice trade-bait for Billy in July. No matter how you slice it, they have their work cut out for them against the Rangers and Angels.
Notable Losses Include: Rajai Davis, Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer
Notable Pick Ups: Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Rich Harden
If the pitching staff goes in the can by way of injury, this team will struggle to win 70 games in 2011.
My 2011 Projected Record: 76-86 (3rd place)