How Do the Oakland A’s Stack Up Against The AL West
Perhaps there is a more in-depth way of handling pitching in the Who Do You Have game, but for now, we are just going to break it down into Starting Rotation and Bullpen.
None of the AL West teams can claim to have a super-rotation, which gives me the perfect window to be a homer and say the Oakland A’s have the best starters in the division! Luzardo flashed some brilliance last season, and I expect him to smooth out some of the rookie kinks in his game and step up to another level. It might be unfair to expect Chris Bassitt to finish in the top ten in Cy Young voting, but his performance over the past few years has been integral to the A’s success, and I expect him to continue to be a valuable pitcher this year.
Both Manaea and Montas are capable major league pitchers, and both have had stretches where they look like legitimate All-Stars. Consistency has been a bit of an issue, but I think many teams would be happy to have these two as the third and fourth members of a rotation. The 5th slot has become a question with Mike Fiers sidelined, but the A’s have A.J. Puk and Daulton Jefferies, who can fill in and hold down the back end of the rotation until Fiers returns. My Dad, Trevor, and I all picked the A’s to have the best starters.
Sven, however, went with the Angels! The Angels have a very confusing collection of starting pitching. In terms of stuff, Ohtani is probably the nastiest pitcher in the division and could easily make me look silly for not picking a rotation led by him. Sadly, durability is a factor to consider, and Ohtani’s previous health history and pitching style are concerning. The arms behind Ohtani in the rotation are also tricky to evaluate. Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, and Jose Quintana are all veterans who have had some level of success, but the past few years have seen ups and downs with all of them.
With a healthy Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, the Astros would probably get the top spot. Their rotation still has future Hall of Fame candidate Zack Greinke and curveball master Lance McCullers Jr. leading it. New acquisition Jake Odorizzi and up and comer Jose Urquidy are also valuable arms that can contribute. Still, the top of the rotation isn’t as electric as it once was, and their depth is shakier compared to the Oakland A’s, so I have the Astros second.