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by user Timothy Moreland
Billy Beane is the man! He traded Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder away and still had one of the top rotations in baseball last year. There is very little difference in value from top to bottom of this rotation. If I had to pick a breakout candidate it would be Rich Harden. He could win a Cy Young if he gets enough run support to reach an impressive enough win total, even though wins should not count as much as they do in the voters' minds. Joe Blanton is the pitcher who I see regressing the most. He does not strikeout enough people and probably will not duplicate his ERA last year. There is no way Huston Street does what he did last year again. But his ERA could raise a run and a half and Street would still be a valuable closer. Oakland has an extremely strong, deep bullpen with Kiko Calero, Duchscherer, and Jay Witasick leading the way.
<stats> Player=Barry Zito Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Rich Harden Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Esteban Loaiza Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Danny Haren Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Joe Blanton Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
Projected Batting Order
2B Mark Ellis
<stats> Player=Mark Ellis Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Milton Bradley Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SS Bobby Crosby
<stats> Player=Bobby Crosby Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
3B Eric Chavez
<stats> Player=Eric Chavez Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
DH Frank Thomas
<stats> Player=Frank Thomas Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
1B Dan Johnson
<stats> Player=Dan Johnson Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
LF Nick Swisher
<stats> Player=Nick Swisher Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
CF Mark Kotsay
<stats> Player=Mark Kotsay Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Jason Kendall Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
This team does not have any big standout players on offense or pitching but they also are without any major holes. They have a lot of flexibility with most of their players able to play multiple positions on the diamond. Which is a bonus because Frank Thomas cannot be expected to give any more than 300 ABs, albeit with tremendous power. Any additional PA's by Thomas are a bonus to the team. Milton Bradley was a strong addition to the top of the order with power and a decent OBP out of the #2 slot. I don't see his attitude being a problem. The only hole I can find in this lineup is with Kendall at the bottom who has a below average OBP and no power whatsoever. Defensively, he has never been anything special and his SBs are declining. As a whole, the defense of the A's is spectacular. With the exception of 1B Dan Johnson, C Jason Kendall, and LF Nick Swisher, everyone is above average defensively. Chavez and Ellis are gold glove caliber fielders.
PREDICTION: 95-67 1st in the AL West...They a the most balanced, deep team in the AL West and will have the best pitching/defense out there.
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Tue 03/07/06, 6:14 am EST