If you read last week’s post, I gave five bold predictions for the 2015 Oakland Athletics.
I am very high on a couple newcomers, and I expect big things from two returning players. If you did not read the article, check it out.
Bold predictions are just that, bold. So go easy on me if these are too outrageous for you to believe. Feel free to tweet at me, or leave a comment below with your own predictions.
Here are five more bold predictions for the 2015 A’s:
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1. General manager Billy Beane will not unload the payroll surplus on a star.
With millions of dollars saved as a result of the trades Billy Beane has made the past few months, it is safe to assume Beane is prepping for an Oakland-sized spending spree. Forget about it. Forget about Ben Zobrist. Forget about a new left fielder.
The team is confident in the players currently on the roster, but look for Beane and and company to use the leftover cash to acquire supplemental talent like an extra back-end starter, or a bench hitter.
Sep 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) reacts following his 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers during a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Athletics clinched a wild card with the win. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
2. The Oakland pitching staff will lead baseball in ERA.
Last season the A’s placed third with a team ERA of 3.22. The Seattle mariners finished second at 3.17 and the Washington Nationals paced MLB with a 3.03 mark.
Jason Hammel, although closed out his regular season with good results, was a disaster upon arriving in Oakland. Factor in continued improvement from Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez, and Sonny Gray plus the addition of Jesse Hahn and Oakland could be home to one of the great rotations of recent memory.
3. Last season the A’s finished fourth in runs, despite their second half plummet. In 2015 they will finish higher.
Lineup balance. The A’s did a lot of things well last season such draw walks and hit home runs. But as the season wore on, injuries piled up, our depth proved to be shallow, and by August and September our lineup threats were few in number.
Five Athletics smacked double digit home runs. The Steamer projections system is estimating that seven A’s reach double digits in homers. That may be generous, but I think it shows just how deep the lineup can be.
Shortstop and DH are improved with Marcus Semien and Billy Butler. If Ike Davis can recreate his 2014 numbers or better, first base will be improved. That does not include any value Josh Phegley and Mark Canha can provide.
The 2015 A’s might not be full of dingers like teams in recent memory, but they’ll score runs a different way. Speed, timely hitting, and a deep lineup that can attack from any place. Perhaps bat Gentry third?
4. The 2015 A’s will battle with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians all season long for a wild card spot, and win it.
Call me a homer, but with the improved Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and greatly improved Mariners, the AL West is crowded with talent. 88 wins might be all it takes to win the division, creating the opportunity for possibly two AL West teams to claim both wild card spots.
I expect this new Oakland lineup led by Butler and Brett Lawrie to fight till the end.
5. The A’s will win the World Series.
Call me an even bigger homer, but I have honestly never made this prediction before, Out of fear of cursing the team.
Sep 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics teammates Craig Gentry (left) and Stephen Vogt celebrate in the clubhouse following their 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Athletics clinched a wildcard playoff spot. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
I guess it didn’t matter so I’m making this prediction now. The San Francisco Giants have become famous for putting together some of the worst teams to win a world series. Read about their wacky road to the title in 2014 from ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
I’m not saying to go fishing for a fluke, but the Giants proved the playoffs really are a crap shoot for the third time in five years. Could this be the year the tables turn to favor the Athletics?
It just might be.