Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 Oakland A's Team Preview and Predictions

With Major League Baseball's opening day officially one week away, I wanted to do an Oakland A's 2010 team preview. We've already gotten in our San Francisco Giants Team Preview over at The Giants Baseball Blog, so today we'll take a look at how the 2010 A's Roster projects to look and how I expect each player to perform in 2010:

2010 Oakland A's


1. Coco Crisp CF - .278 avg, 8 hr, 54 RBI, 76 runs, 21 sb
2. Rajai Davis LF - .290, 4 hr, 43 RBI, 80 r, 54 sb
3. Kurt Suzuki C - .298, 17 hr, 72 RBI, 75 r, 14 sb
4. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B - .258, 22 hr, 85 RBI, 62 r, 0 sb
5. Jack Cust DH - .250, 23 hr, 79 RBI, 68 r, 5 sb
6. Eric Chavez 1B - .286, 16 hr, 57 RBI, 59 r, 1 sb
7. Ryan Sweeney RF - .303, 10 hr, 62 RBI, 71 r, 11 sb
8. Mark Ellis 2B - .267, 15 hr, 70 RBI, 63 r, 12 sb
9. Cliff Pennington SS - .262, 7 hr, 45 RBI, 49 r, 13 sb


C Landon Powell - .237, 9 hr, 37 RBI, 21 r, 0 sb
IF Eric Patterson - .259, 1 hr, 14 RBI, 22 r, 11 sb
OF Gabe Gross - .246, 10 hr, 34 RBI, 36 r, 5 sb
OF/IF Jake Fox - .272, 19 hr, 71 RBI, 43 r, 0 sb

The A's don't have a bunch of power in their lineup, and they aren't going to throw out the best scoring bunch in the AL, but they do have some strengths. Crisp and Davis bring huge speed to the top of the order, and Kurt Suzuki is one of the better young catchers in the league, in my opinion the A's best all-around ballplayer. The A's are also hoping for a nice comeback year from Eric Chavez. I'm looking for Ryan Sweeney to kind of break out this year and hit over.300 with 10+ homers while providing solid defense in the outfield. I was anticipating Jake Fox to play his way into the starting lineup this spring, but he's had a bad one. Still, he's got 30 homer pop and should be in the lineup more often than not.


1. Ben Sheets RHP - 11-8, 4.02 era, 157 IP, 131 K's
2. Brett Anderson LHP - 13-8, 3.65 era, 192 IP, 176 K's
3. Justin Duchscherer RHP - 10-7, 3.92 era, 141 IP, 109 K's
4. Dallas Braden LHP - 10-12, 4.26 era, 178 IP, 126 K's
5. Trevor Cahill RHP - 13-10, 4.10 era, 203 IP, 149 K's


CL Andrew Bailey - 5-2, 2.72 era, 36 saves, 76 games
SU Joey Devine - 3-1, 2.89 era, 23 holds, 60 games
RH Michael Wuertz - 3-4, 3.23 era, 25 holds, 83 games
RH Brad Zieglar - 3-5, 4.14 era, 6 saves, 78 games
LH Josh Outman - 4-6, 4.46 era, 11 starts, 52 games
RH Jason Jennings - 2-2, 5.10 era, 63 games
LH Craig Breslow - 2-3, 3.99 era, 68 games

The A's pitching staff should be a strength if they can stay healthy. Ben Sheets is a legit ace when he's right, but he hasn't thrown a pitching since 2008. Also, Duchscherer has shown ace-like capabilities when he's been right, but he's been battling some physical and mental obstacles over the last 12-15 months. Right now, it looks like both vets will be ready to start the year in the rotation and join up-and-coming youngsters Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden and Trevor Cahill. Their bullpen also is facing some injury issues at the start of the year as their top-3 relievers (Bailey, Wuertz and Devine) could miss the first couple weeks of the regular season. All in all though, I think the A's pitching staff should be just fine and should help make up for there mediocre at best offense. I say they finish the year at 80 wins and 82 losses, in third place behind the Angels and Mariners but in front of Texas.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Giants Surprises/Disappointments of the Spring

Our Giants Blog over @
has been a big contributor to a very popular baseball site, Since we haven't gotten a chance to get into much of the Giants news here during spring training, I wanted to share one of the Q&A's we recently provided them. It's a brief breakdown on the Giants top two prospects and how they've fared thus far.

Q: Bearing in mind that Spring Training stats are essentially meaningless, who among the Giants' players have helped or hurt themselves the most with their performances this spring?

TC: The guy who has quietly helped himself a ton in regards to possibly making the Giants opening day roster has been their top prospect, Buster Posey. With the Giants' pressing need for all the offense they can get, and with Buster Posey putting up the spring he has (12-28, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 1.055 OPS), it's going to be extremely tough for the Giants to keep him off their opening day roster. They're stuck between a rock in a hard place because they would like Posey to refine his catching skills by playing everyday in Fresno instead of starting off on the bench in San Francisco.

Madison Bumgarner
, on the other hand, has disappointed this spring and could lose his grip on the fifth starters spot because of it. As a matter of fact, on Tuesday, the Giants officially demoted the 21 year-old lefty to AAA Fresno, and it's almost certain that he'll begin the season with the Grizzlies. The big concern with Bumgarner is his diminished velocity, down from 92-94 mph last year, to 87-88 mph this spring, and he's been very hittable. It's going to be interesting to see how these situations transpire as the regular season begins.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A's Trying to Get Healthy

The A's haven't been too impressive as a team thus far in the spring, as they sit at 2-4 and are in route to losing their 5th game of the spring Friday. They have, however, gotten some very good news on the injury front this spring.

Former star third basemen, Eric Chavez, has regained his stroke and looks the best and healthiest I've seen him since 2005. Chavey's appeared in just 3 games so far, but his bat looks very quick with plenty of pop. He went deep twice in one game vs. the White Sox on Wednesday, and is hitting .500 with a triple in addition to his 2 homers and 3 RBI. He's also looked very good at first base, making a few nice plays and looking very comfortable in the process. The solid play from Chavez has caused a ripple effect at first base. It's lit a fire under Daric Barton, who has underachieved in his brief big league career so far. Barton's hitting an even .400 (6-15) with an RBI and a double. The A's are hoping the 25 year old will take reigns of first base this year and make himself the unquestionable starter there going forward, but he'll have plenty of competition. Besides the thriving Chavez, the A's have newly acquired Jake Fox in the mix at first base as well. I'm expecting big things out of Fox, and do still believe he'll force his way into the starting lineup somewhere because of his bat, but he has looked pretty bad so far this spring. Fox is hitting just .071 (1-14) with 0 RBI and may be playing himself out of starting lineup consideration.

Ben Sheets, who like Chavez is coming off a year missed by injury, has also had a pain-free spring thus far, although he hasn't yielded the positive results Chavey has quite yet. Sheets didn't have the best start in his first start of the spring against his former team (Brewers) in which he allowed 1 earned run in 1 2/3 innings while allowing 4 hits and striking out 1 batter. He got hit even harder in his most recent outing vs. the White Sox on Wednesday. In that game, Sheets allowed 5 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk and 0 strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. The good news though, is that he is healthy, and is throwing the ball without pain. There's little doubt in my mind that Ben Sheets will be just fine by opening day as long as he stays healthy and progresses. He may never again be the Ben Sheets of 2004 (2.70 era, 264 strikeouts, 0.97 WHIP) , but as long as he does stay healthy, a repeat of his last healthy year (2008) wouldn't be a bad year by any means. In 2008, Sheets went 13-9 with a 3.09 era and 1.15 WHIP and the A's would take those numbers in a heartbeat.

Another A's arm that's on his way back after missing 2009 is Joey Devine. The 26 year-old flame-throwing right handed reliever is just a couple of weeks away from making his return from Tommy John Surgery. In 2008 with the A's, Devine showed why the A's at that time considered him a closer of the future candidate (6-1, 0.59 era, 0.85 WHIP, 49 K's in 45 IP). Devine's return will further strengthen an already dominant bullpen... Coco Crisp, who's also been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent years, is currently day-to-day with his bum hamstring, but is expected back sooner than later... So, it looks like the A's may indeed have their full-squad ready to go by the end of the spring, and that would be huge for them and their chances in getting off to a good start.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Niners Sign David Carr

In a somewhat surprising move Monday, the Niners inked former #1 draft pick from the 2002 draft, quarterback David Carr, to a 2 year contract worth over $6 million in guaranteed money.

This move kind of came out of nowhere, as the Niners appeared set to role with Alex Smith at QB1 and use Shaun Hill and youngster Nate Davis to back him up. However, the Niners have apparently seen all they care to from Shaun Hill, and aren't confident enough in Nate Davis to use him if Alex Smith struggles or goes down with injury at some point in 2010. So, the Niners went out and grabbed David Carr, who they're hoping will provide them with some stability after Alex Smith. They really like Carr's arm and his ability to get the ball down field, which is an area that Shaun Hill doesn't excel at. In 2008-09, Carr served as Eli Manning's back-up in New York and threw pretty well in his short stints behind center for the Giants. Carr's last year as a starter was in 2006 when he threw for 2767 yards and 11 touchdowns with 12 picks with the Texans, good for a QB rate of 82.1. His best season as a starter came in 2004-'05 when he threw for 3531 yards and 16 TD's. The Niners viewed Carr as one of the better options available as far as veteran QB's who could come in and start if Alex Smith goes down. A few of the other veteran back-up QB's on the free agent market were Patrick Ramsey, Rex Grossman, Jeff Garcia and Chad Pennington.

The move kind of took a few of the Niners players by surprise as well. One player in particular, Patrick Willis, actually voiced dis-pleasure with the Niners signing of Carr. Willis used Twitter as an outlet to sort of throw Niners management under the bus, saying he didn't understand why the Niners would add a quarterback that wasn't as good as their current top-2, and would have rather seen them go after someone like Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb rather than signing David Carr. I was kind of thrown back by Willis' comments, as he's always been a soft-spoken, let my play do my talking for me type of guy, and the last thing I would have expected would be to see Willis lash-out over the signing of a back-up QB. Now, I do understand where Willis is coming from, I don't really love this move either. I would have liked to see Nate Davis get a shot if Alex Smith proves not to be the answer next year, but it looks like David Carr is going to get consideration as a potential QB of the future instead. Hopefully Alex Smith really arrives next year, and this is a moot point, but even so, Carr isn't coming very cheaply. The Niners have apparently expressed some interest in former Jets running back Leon Washington as a back-up running back, but mostly as a kick/punt returner. I don't think I'd look into him too much though, because he'd cost the Niners their 2nd rounder if they do end up signing him, plus I'd much rather spend the money on Joshua Cribbs, who I see as a perfect fit for San Francisco.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A's Add Depth to Their Pitching Staff

The A's made a couple of additions to their roster on Monday, re-signing Brett Tomko and they're also bringing former Rockies' starter, Jason Jennings.

Tomko threw very well for the A's after coming over from the Yankees towards the end of last season, posting a 4-1 mark over 6 starts, with a 2.95 in 36 innings. Unfortunately, he got hurt in one of his last scheduled starts of the season, and it his arm problem will keep him out until May at the earliest. Jennings, I believe, was brought in as insurance for Justin Duchsherer and possibly could fill a void in the A's rotation if need be, or can serve as a long reliever. Jennings had a decent year with Texas as a full-time reliever in 2009, sporting a 4.13 era in 61 innings of work. Neither of these guys will be expected to be full-time contributors to the A's rotation or bullpen, but both can fill a variety of roles and are coming of respectable campaigns, so I do see the logic in adding the depth.

The A's get their Cactus League schedule underway on Thursday as they take on the Chicago Cubs in Peroia. Here's how I expect their lineup to shape up for the ballgame (remember, no DH in NL park):

LF Rajai Davis
CF Coco Crisp
1B Jake Fox
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
C Kurt Suzuki
RF Ryan Sweeney
2B Mark Ellis
SS Cliff Pennington
P Brett Anderson