Oakland A’s defense will improve
The Oakland A’s defense was considered a strength heading into 2020. Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy were considered future Gold Glove winners, while Matt Chapman and Matt Olson already had that hardware in their trophy case. Chapman was the two time defending Platinum Glove winner, a force both offensively and defensively.
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Laureano was the only player to live up to his defensive billing last year, saving nine runs in total in the outfield. Chapman, slowed due to his hip issues, actually cost the A’s a run at third. Olson also struggled, costing the A’s two runs at first. Murphy was solid, but was still getting to know the pitching staff.
Now that Chapman is healthy, the defense should be greatly improved. The addition of Elvis Andrus, who won a pair of Gold Gloves while playing next to Adrian Beltre, should help as well. Meanwhile, Mark Canha, who was ranked as the third best left fielder in the game, will be getting more time at the position, further strengthening the defense.
That defense could make a major difference. While the A’s offense should be better, this is not a team that will score runs by the bushel. An improved defense will help alleviate some of the pressure from the bats and make the lives of the pitching staff that much easier. And that defense may be able to steal a game or two they would have otherwise lost.
The Oakland A’s will win the AL West again in 2021. These three reasons are why that will happen.