Oakland Athletics Roundup: Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training
Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Sunday, February 21
Well, Oakland Athletics fans – it’s finally here. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and Spring Training is officially underway for all of the teams in the Cactus League – including the A’s.
Over the course of the next several weeks, players will proclaim themselves in the best shape of their lives, and the excitement level for the upcoming season will be high. After so many offseason moves, perhaps the negativity surrounding the team has gone too far. While many people – myself included – have doubted whether this year’s A’s squad will be competitive, it’s too early to make any real determinations.
The A’s who will be taking the field on Opening Day are a very different group than the A’s who walked off the field on the final day of the 2015 season. A revamped infield, a greatly-improved bullpen, and a year of experience for last year’s rookie starters like Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman should bode well for better overall results.
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While fans should certainly temper their expectations for playoff contention, it’s probable that the A’s will play competitive, interesting baseball for at least the first portion of the season. After all, their biggest fault in 2015 were the one-run losses. Based on run differential, the A’s should have had a better record last year. It’s not as though they didn’t score runs, they just couldn’t hold the leads they earned. If the bullpen changes that were made this winter work the way the front office intends, it could be an entirely different story this season.
Having an attitude of “I’ll believe it when I see it” is certainly reasonable, but let’s not rule the A’s out just yet. Day One of Spring Training is a day for optimism, when every player (yes, even Billy Butler) has a clean slate for the upcoming season. It would take a perfect storm of strong performances, but let’s give them a chance to play at least a few games before writing them off for 2016.
In Case You Missed It:
Non-Roster Invitee Guide: Catcher Edition – Katrina Putnam takes a look at two non-roster invitees who reported to Spring Training on Saturday: catchers Carson Blair and Bruce Maxwell. Can either help the A’s in 2016?
A’s 2016 Preview: Reliever J.B. Wendelken – Who is reliever J.B. Wendelken? Samantha Riley explains what to expect from him this upcoming season.
A’s 2016 Preview: Infielder Eric Sogard – Continuing the theme of season previews, where will Eric Sogard have the biggest impact in 2016? Will his defensive abilities earn him a regular spot in the lineup again, despite his offensive shortcomings?
A’s 2016 Preview: Starting Pitcher Kendall Graveman – Kendall Graveman is expected to make the A’s starting rotation, but he had mixed results in 2015. Will he find more consistent success this year?
Next: The Top 50 Players in Oakland Athletics History
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Nolan Writin’: Left Field Situation Grows Murkier – Who will be the Texas Rangers’ everyday left fielder in 2016? Josh Hamilton is already reporting injury issues, and his status is questionable. Nolan Writin’s Preston Renfro explains the potential options for the A’s AL West rivals.