Oakland A’s: Constructing the ideal Opening Day lineup

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 26: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics fields a ground ball against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the ninth inning at Globe Life Field on August 26, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 26: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics fields a ground ball against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the ninth inning at Globe Life Field on August 26, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

The Oakland A’s have questions in the middle of their infield

First base – Matt Olson

Matt Olson has been a solid player over the years for the Oakland A’s, a two time Gold Glove winner who has been a valued power bat in the middle of the lineup. However, he was one of the multitude of players that struggled in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, posting a disappointing .195/.310/.424 batting line with 14 homers and four doubles, striking out 77 times in his 245 plate appearances. The A’s will need Olson to return to form in order to maintain their place atop the AL West.

Second base – Sheldon Neuse

Although Chad Pinder is currently listed atop the depth chart at second base, he is best suited to a utility role. Instead, Sheldon Neuse may get his chance to show that he can handle a full time role. He showed potential in 2019, posting a .250/.294/.304 batting line with three doubles in 61 plate appearances. Defensively, he saved a run at second, showing he could handle the position. Despite not making a major league appearance last year, he could find himself in the lineup on Opening Day.

Shortstop – Marcus Semien

If the Oakland A’s are going to spend on any player in free agency, it will be Marcus Semien. His value to the organization goes far beyond the stat line, as he is a leader in the clubhouse and in the community. His overall .223/.305/.374 batting line may have underwhelmed, but he had a strong second half of the season, and is just a year removed from an MVP caliber showing. It is possible that he can once again be a key piece in the middle of the lineup.

Third base – Matt Chapman

This comes with the caveat of Matt Chapman being at full health at the start of the season. His torn hip labrum had a dramatic effect on his performance, as he posted a .232/.276/.535 batting line with ten homers and nine doubles in his 152 plate appearances, drawing eight walks while striking out 54 times. His Platinum Glove caliber defense suffered as well, as he just was not the same player. However, if he is healthy as expected, he should once again be that cornerstone piece for the A’s lineup.

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