Oakland Athletics’ Starting Rotation a Concern Heading into 2016 Season

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The Oakland Athletics’ rotation this year is much weaker than the starting five in 2015

The Oakland Athletics definitely upgraded many areas of their team this offseason including the bullpen and the lineup. However, while other pieces have been revamped, the starting rotation seems to have been downgraded. The regular season has yet to even begin, but there is already concern surrounding the starting five.

Obviously, there are no worries about Sonny Gray. Gray is set to have another great season with the Oakland Athletics. He pitched just ok during spring training, but he feels strong. It is expected that he will perform the same or better than he has in previous years.

The rest of the rotation’s potential success is still quite a mystery. First, there is Rich Hill, who has struggled with command issues for the entirety of March. So far this spring, he has a 15.26 ERA, having allowed 13 runs over 7.2 innings pitched. Interestingly enough, those 13 runs came on only 10 hits. However, Hill has walked 12 batters in his three starts. If these issues continue into the regular season, this could definitely be a probably for the Athletics.

Then there is — or should I say was — Jesse Hahn. Hahn was demoted yesterday to Triple-A because of his struggles during spring camp this year. Hahn was actually faring a little better than Hill, accumulating a 11.15 over 15.1 innings. However, the Oakland Athletics thought it would be best for Hahn to work out the kinks in Triple-A while he still has options left. It is expected that he will be back in the big leagues once he proves himself in the minors. 

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So, to replace Hahn, there is only Felix Doubront. Doubront only has two full seasons of experience pitching as an regular, everyday starting pitcher over his six year career. Additionally, 2015 was not his best year and he ended the season with a 5.50 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP. It is also important to note that he bounced between the rotation and the bullpen in 2015 and did much better as a long reliever than a starter.

Despite beginning spring training well, he last start was not so great. He gave up seven runs in four innings and walked three batters. This made his ERA jump from 3.00 to 6.19. Let’s hope that he is not reverting back to his previous ways.

Finally, there is Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt. Both have been mediocre and uninspiring this spring. However, it is good to know that both have fully recovered from the injuries they incurred last season.

Graveman, who was sensational during spring training in 2014, has made four starts this March and has a 4.98 ERA over 21.2 innings. Bassitt, who has shown much improvement with his changeup, has a 5.28 ERA and has given up nine runs and walked seven over 15.1 innings pitched. Neither performances have been impressive and many are worried that this is how these two pitchers will throw during the regular season.

Next: Jesse Hahn Optioned to Triple-A

It is clear that the Oakland Athletics’ starting rotation is struggling and that something is going to need to be done to fix this problem. However, the A’s may have to wait until Hahn and Henderson Alvarez are ready for the big leagues for those two starters might be the team’s only solution. Until then, we will hold our breath and hope for the best.

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