Oakland Athletics 2019 Fantasy Projections – The Fast Track Back to Success in Oakland
Oakland is one of the storied franchises in Major League Baseball. There three-peat World Series march of the early 1970s gets them mention with some of the greatest teams of all-time. Twenty years later, they rekindled that run at greatness with a pair of sluggers known as the bash brothers.
After finishing dead last in the AL West for three consecutive seasons, hopes at the outset of 2018 were tempered at best. It has been four years since Oakland was even close to a playoff spot, so that had to be the farthest thing from their fans' minds. It turned out to be closer than they realized.
Oakland Athletics 2018 Recap
The Oakland A's started out 2018 labeled as a rebuilding franchise. It didn't take long to figure out they had already built a nice foundation going forward, a foundation of players that could score runs in bunches.
Oakland climbed from one of the lowest scoring teams in 2016, to the fourth most productive run producing offense in baseball. The emergence of their offense equated into a pleasantly surprising season.
The A's won 97 games, gave the defending World Champs a run for their money in the AL West, and stole the final wildcard spot. They made a quick one-game exit against the New York Yankees, but the rebuild seemed to have been a success, and an early one at that.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Best Aces on the A's
The problem heading into 2019 for Oakland isn't so much if they can match their offensive success, but how they're going to prevent the opposition from scoring at will. There is no clear-cut ace in Oakland.
In fact, there isn't a pitcher on board who would foster much hope of being a third day starter for any other team. If the A's fail to live up to some lofty expectations following 2018, it will because their pitching staff just isn't very good.
From a fantasy perspective, the projected fifth starter in the Oakland rotation may hold the most intrigue of all five. Marco Estrada has ventured down from Canada, and the former Toronto Blue Jay has the talent to produce bounce-back numbers.
The fourth man up in the rotation is Jesus Luzardo, a 21-year old who has looked like an accomplished veteran at times. For dynasty purposes, Luzardo is worth flier, but he needs some experience to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues.
Sean Manaea is on the 60-day DL, and when he becomes healthy, Manaea will immediately be the focal point of the A's staff. Occupying a spot beside Manaea on the DL is fast-rising prospect AJ Puk.
The Florida Gator's 2018 rise ended abruptly; however, and he's on recovery road from Tommy John surgery. That leaves Mike Fiers, Paul Blackburn and Chris Bassitt as the top trio of hurlers to begin the A's 2019 season.
Needless to say, fantasy owners should look outside of Oakland for viable fantasy starters, unless they want to take a chance on Estrada, or a dynasty flier on Luzardo. If Oakland continues to score runs and win games, there is one clear-cut fantasy pitcher to consider, RP Blake Treinen.
Blake Treinen RP – Treinen posted numbers worthy of conversation as the best closer in baseball. He was simply lights out in 2018. He racked up 38 saves in 43 chances, plus tacked on nine wins to boost his fantasy totals. Treinen misses a lot of bats as well. He fanned 100 batters in 80 strong innings.
One point to note; however, is how far his statistical numbers in 2018 fell below career averages. His WHIP isn't spectacular for a closer, and he's never posted an ERA below 2.00, besides any number in the sub-one run an inning range. He has tremendous stuff, but keep an out for a sudden regression.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best Bats in Oakland
Fantasy bats are the focus in Oakland after the productive season the A's had as a team in 2018. They have consistently seen a rise in offensive productivity, so there is no reason to think it won't continue. While they were still considered a young team, no one can doubt the obvious potential many of the A's hitters bring to the box.
The middle of the A's order is where most of the productivity will come from, but don't sleep on the two hitters that will sandwich the middle three. Marcus Semien is a serviceable fantasy shortstop and while Matt Chapman falls down the deep list of third basemen, he could shift higher in the Oakland order if his contact improves.
Khris Davis OF – If you're okay with a batting average slightly under .250, but clearly the possibility of 40 or more homers and 100 plus RBIs, Davis is top-tier outfielder. Since he has hit exactly .247 four straight years, you can probably count on his BA being somewhere close to that number.
Davis also strikes out a lot, but his consistency in the power and run production department cement him as a prime fantasy addition. If by some coincidence he reduces his tendency to miss pitches, batting cleanup on a run producing team will even further boost his worth.
Stephen Piscotty OF – Piscotty will hit third in the order, so the presence of Davis behind him should give him a steady diet of good pitches to hit. He'll follow Nick Martini and Semien, so RBI totals will be good as well.
One area worth watching might be his sporadic home run power. Most estimates have Piscotty good for close to 30, but there have been moments in his young career where he goes long periods without going long.
Matt Olson 1B – Olson will follow Davis and hit ahead of Chapman. His batting average, matched Davis's in 2018. He has 100 RBI potential in a potent lineup, plus has seen a steady rise in power production. Just two years ago Olson belted an amazing 24 long balls in 59 games.
He didn't come close to matching those types of out-of-this-world numbers, but he is one of a short list of players in baseball who laced up their cleats for all 162 games. That means a chance of fantasy points every single day if he even comes close to that level of durability.
Fantasy Rank of the Oakland Athletics
Oakland is young, and with young teams there is always the element of the unexpected. Each of the middle hitters in their lineup has tremendous potential. They will certainly feed off the success of one another. The pitching is a little more suspect. While they have one of the more coveted closers, Oakland doesn't present anyone who warrants consideration as a fantasy staff ace.
The Bottom Line for the A's
Oakland seemed to jump ahead of their projected climb back to prominence. Now the onus will be on producing again in 2019. They are still young, but equally talented. There biggest obstacle in matching their run of a season ago could be the competitive AL West. If there are any surprises from the pitching staff, look for Oakland to be a very difficult team to beat on any given night.