How the Oakland A’s can contend in 2022
By David Hill
Sean Murphy needs a breakout season
The Oakland A’s lineup may be better than anticipated. Tony Kemp had a strong showing in 2021, Ramon Laureano is a solid player and will improve the roster when he is back from suspension, and Jed Lowrie is a professional hitter.
The key to the lineup may be Sean Murphy. His production last season was a disappointment as he put together a .216/.306/.405 batting line in his 448 plate appearances, hitting 17 homers and 23 doubles. While the power was solid and he won a Gold Glove behind the plate, Murphy needs to show more with the bat.
That could happen as soon as this year. Murphy ranked in the 75th percentile in barrel rate and was in the 62nd percentile in hard hit rate. His expected batting line of .240/.337/.441 last season would be a drastic improvement over his actual performance.
If Murphy can get better luck with the batted ball, he changes the complexion of the A’s lineup. There is some power potential with Seth Brown, but that is really it in terms of a home run hitter. Murphy could be that option.
The Oakland A’s have a decent enough lineup. If Sean Murphy can have a breakout campaign, it suddenly gets a lot more dangerous.