2020 was an important year for the Oakland A’s. Not only were they able to break the Astros’ stranglehold on the AL West, but they were able to win a playoff series for the first time since 2006. The A’s appeared to be a team on the upswing, poised for a run atop the division for years to come.
Then came the offseason. With their litany of free agents, it was expected that the A’s would have to make some moves to improve the roster. Instead, they have refused to spend, with ownership claiming that they are out of money. The core remains intact, but the A’s are not nearly in the position they had been entering the offseason.
Oakland A’s not darlings of projections
Meanwhile, as the A’s have lost numerous players, the Astros and the Angels have been busy. Houston may have lost George Springer, but they have been busy rebuilding their bullpen. The Angels have been attempting to rebuild their pitching staff once again, but appear to be better than they were last season.
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As a result, the A’s position atop the division is tenuous at best. Fangraphs has their projections for the upcoming season available, and it is not good news for the A’s. While they are projected to finish with a .518 winning percentage, the 12th best mark in the league, they are also expected to finish third in the division and miss the playoffs.
While that result may be a bit of a surprise, it is understandable. The A’s offense did not exactly cover itself in glory last year as several key pieces of the lineup struggled. Even though one has to anticipate that those players will rebound, the A’s inability to add to the lineup has left them behind the eight ball.
These projections may even fall further as the offseason continues. Should the Astros and Angels continue to strengthen their rosters while the A’s do nothing, that perceived gap will widen. That .518 winning percentage may be optimistic.
The Oakland A’s are projected to finish third in the AL West. At this point, it is difficult to find fault in that projection.