The Oakland Athletics won the AL West last season with a 36-24 record and won their wild card playoff round. But the team will likely make a downturn. The team has a few high-value players to watch for in 2021, but it will be a challenge for them to return to the playoffs.
Our MLB predictions for the A’s show they might have some struggles this year. The team’s offense has been a dramatic problem, and one of the team’s top prospects might not be active for a sizeable portion of the season.
An Offensive Look
The offense was mostly dead on arrival last season, as the team struggled to have anyone hit for .250 or greater. Matt Olson led the team with fourteen home runs, but he also had a .195 average.
The departures of Tommy La Stella and Robbie Grossman will make the coming season more of a challenge. Recent acquisitions like Tony Kemp, Stephen Piscotty, and Ramon Laureano haven’t managed to perform as well as the team had been hoping they would.
The team is sticking with younger players, including a few who haven’t even played in the majors. Top prospect Sheldon Nurse will start the season on the bench, but the infield prospect might make it to the starting lineup at some point.
You can cross “Chappy update” off your holiday wish list. pic.twitter.com/7RCEkcIqJj
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) December 18, 2020
Outfield Ka’ai Tom will also join the team on the bench after being taken as a Rule 5 draft pick from Cleveland. The team’s farm system is weak, so the A’s are resorting to lesser players to fill the roster. There’s always a chance they might be better than people expect, but it is hard to figure what will happen.
The Athletics will see much of the team’s rotation making a comeback, with Chris Bassitt and Jesus Luzardo leading the way. Frankie Montas had a 5.60 ERA last season and is looking for a bounce-back year.
Mike Minor’s departure to the Kansas City Royals will require the team to find a replacement. A.J. Puk may not make it to the start of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery in September.
Puk is the team’s top-rated prospect and has been heralded for having one of the best fastballs in the league. How he recovers from his procedure will be instrumental to how well the Athletics can contend in 2021.
Jake Diekman will likely be the new closer, as the team will not be with Liam Hendriks and Joakim Soria this season. Diekman had a 0.42 ERA in a little over twenty innings pitched last season.
Where Will the A’s Finish in 2021?
Our prediction for the Oakland Athletics for 2021 is that they will finish in third place in the AL West. The A’s don’t have much of an offensive push, plus the team hasn’t been as active in trying to keep its free agents. The team is likely to take a step back this season.
Will the Athletics Reach the Playoffs?
We don’t see the Athletics getting into the playoffs this year, as the team saw too much of a turnover this past season to be competitive. The team will need its younger players to start developing, but the real need is to have a stronger offense. The team’s lacking offense has been a liability that might hurt the team more than it can afford if it doesn’t improve.
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Image by: Keith Allison