What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Post says it all. Honestly it feels like there's no way the Athletics can be such a force in 2013 as they were last season. But then again, the entire time the A's hung in there behind the Rangers and Angels, and then when they overtook the Angels and were behind us, and then inevitably moved closer and closer and went in for the kill in the final week... I had the same feeling that there was no way that bunch could, as a whole, keep playing at above-talent levels, but they did. And they did for so long and so consistently that it feels like it could be real, that previous talent projections were just flat out wrong, and that everyone is ignoring the bunch that made both the Angels and Rangers look like bad teams last year.
Of course with the off-season being what it has been, the media have all but ignored the A's in lieu of setting up the Angels as the division giant, but that's just writers following the money and generating the needed attention that big signings are supposed to bring.
I'm thinking the Athletics are (as a largely unchanged team from last season) the defending Division champs, and as such are the first obstacle we need to focus on getting over. Can anybody provide evidence that isn't refuted by last season's extended performance levels of the Athletics that could provide hope for the Rangers chances this year in the AL West?
Lightning in a bottle. No way it happens again.
The Angels are the team to beat. If you exclude April (pre-Trout and the Pujols transition period), they won 58.2% of their games last season. That translates into about 94 wins over the course of the entire season. They also had 95 third order wins. They were that good even with a terrible bullpen and 3 starting pitchers who posted 4.2+ ERAs in a pitchers park. They've improved their bullpen, replaced Hunter with Hamilton, and I suspect that barring an injury to Weaver or Wilson, their starting pitching probably won't be any worse than it was last season. On paper, they're a 95 win team. We'll see if they live up to their potential.
The A's aren't largely unchanged. They are improved. The question is do the young players continue to get better or come back to reality. Yoenis Cespedes my bet is he gets better after playing in the states for a full year now. If you expect Yu to be better by virtue of having a season under his belt you have to afford the same courtesy to Cespedes. Reddick always had high upside, and finally got a chance to show it. Chris Carter has been a top prospect in their system for years, and showed his potential last year. Expect him to keep improving. Chris Young is a definite improvement over Coco Crisp in the outfield. An outfield of Cespedes, Young and Reddick is far better than what the Rangers will be running out this season. Where the A's are going to have a hard time is where you don't want to be weak and that's up the middle at catcher, ss, and 2b. They did nothing to get better at those positions, but to be fair they couldn't be worse. So as compared to last year it's a push for them. What is going to be the main factor is the pitching staff as it was last year. I think there has to be regression for 1 or 2 of their starters at least. I just can't see that they hit on 5 rookies like that. The league will adjust. Sophmore seasons usually seem to be hardest on pitchers because the rest of the league has had a chance to see you, study you, and come up with adjustments. This adjustment could be the downfall for the A's this season, and I expect it will be.
The A's show why the stat "WAR" is basically worthless except statistical purposes. It shows more what has already happen rather than what may happen.
Get real, boys. Here is the reality, packaged up for you with a ribbon.
From June 1st to the end of the season the A's played at a .655 clip, 72-38...That's 34 games above .500....that's 5 and half games better than any other AL team...and that's 10 games better than our Rangers. Yes it was that cuurazy.
More reality gum to chew:-Very young pitching generally gets better. -Assuming sophmore slumps is sophomoric.-A's have best arms in division-A's have best GM and a better manager
Money? Who needs money. They have money ball.
So what if a few of their players regress? So what if there was a little luck involved. An arms race is upon us and they have ARMS. It's the War of the Worlds and we are unprepared.
I'm excited about the 2013 season to watch the young Ranger kids emerge. But come 2014 when our window re-opens...we better figure out a way to acquire another stud arm (or two) to roll out there with Yu and Harrison. And we better hope we've found enough guys who can hit in any venue. Over the next 3, 4 seasons the A's scare me more than the Angels, though both are bristling with hazard. (One is Saruman, the other Sauron...pick your poison)
The AL West is Best. For the next 3, 4 years...War is coming.
Finally...For whatever reason, over their history (last 20 years), the A's seem to start slow and then steamroll the latter part of the season. I wouldn't be surprised to see that QR pattern again next year. Scan it now. See it later.
As for the big picture? Book it.
Assuming some regression from 1 to 2 out of 5 rookie pitchers that all pitched like veterans down the stretch is sophomoric? I don't think so. That's reality and the law of averages. As baseball fans we all believe in the law of averages. The law of averages states that their young pitchers will experiences some growing pains in their second season as the rest of the league adjusts to them. They have good arms, but I doubt they have the polish of a veteran. They also have some glaring holes in the infield that I just don't know a platoon will continue to cover up.
Colt...if you want to assume regression for 1 or 2 out of 5...then you *also* ought to assume further improvement for 1 or two of the 5.
Here is the rub. The A's starting "rotation" isn't 5 pitchers deep. Brett AndersonTommy MiloneJarrod ParkerTravis BlackleyAJ GriffinDan StraleyWith more in the farm
Here was what one scout had to say:Greg Cadaret:"I don't expect any falloff at all between Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker. I expect them to continue to improve. I don't think you are going to see huge strides forward, but they already pitched like they have experience that's what's so phenomenal about them. I do expect Griffin and Straily to get better.
Oakland's success on offense in the second half last year relied heavily on their ability to hit home runs. Eight Oakland second-half regulars posted a wRC+ above 100. Seven of them (Coco Crisp the exception) had above-average HR/FB rates despite playing their home games at the Coliseum, and Seth Smith and Derek Norris also had above-average HR/FB rates as well. Oakland played a lot of close games last year, and home runs are pretty good at swinging close games. That's where I expect significant regression next year.
Profar, when you and all the other bandwagon fans stop using regression years as proof of a decline and start understanding flyer years, then we will talk :) because too many are screaming that the sky is falling just because we had an off year after two hard campaigns. I for one am looking forward to a year where the Rangers are not under a microscope with everyone in baseball looking for holes in the team and their management. Flying is good when you're under the radar if you ask me. I would rather cheer for a team with unknown quantities and lower expectations than the Yankees or Red Sox, etc. I have been a Rangers fans since they moved here and will be a Rangers fan for the forsee-able future...I do not cuss, lible or slander teams just because they didn't read the notes about how to run their team that I send them; do you think it is because I prefer to write with crayons? It's all that the orderlies here let me have to write with.
Well clearly Profar you're hoping all of the rookie pitchers in Oakland turn out to be what Beane hopes they will be. I think it's absolutely sllly to think that 5 guys that posted ERA's 3.7 or better will repeat that. Millone and Parker may get better, but not too much better. Of all of their rookies Straily has the biggest upside. I think Millone pitched about as well as you could hope for him. That's probably where he will be his whole career. Parker is has an outstanding change up which is always a quality pitch in the pros. As for the rest of the rookie class, I'd look for decline. As you mention they have a ton of starters so I wouldn't be surprised to see one or more of them traded for a SS or 2b or maybe catcher unless they absolutey believe in Kottaras. Point being the A's are going to have to be better on offense than they were last year, and I think it's something that can happen with the maturation of their young sluggers, and the addition of Chris Young. They didn't lose anything on offense which is the biggest plus for them. The A's will be very tough for years to come. The Angels are clearly very tough as well. The Mariners are even starting to gain some steam, though still a couple years away from being a threat, but are no longer an easy win. Thankfully there's the Astros now that will be a doormat for a very long time. That franchise is in absolute shambles. The West will be very brutal. It's entirely possible now that 3 teams could make the playoffs from that division. It almost happened last year.
So we're banging Billy Beane's drum again? Beane's got a philosophy that he stay's true to (because he has no choice) and he's good, but I wouldn't declare him a better GM than JD. 5 years of having a largely irrelevant team is a long drought. His teams almost never progress past the ALDS. He's a little too devoted to some of the SABRE stuff and has been far too dismissive of the importance of closers, in my opinion.
He finds young talent, but would you rather have the A's talent or the Rangers going forward? I'm on team JD.
Personally I think Chris Carter is due for a major regression. You can't strike out over 30% of the time and walk 15% of it. I guess the one exception is Adam Dunn, but its not like there is a ton of Adam Dunn's out there. I have to imagine that his walk rate will come down. I could also see is 25% HR/FB rate coming down.
Their young pitching runs the gambit between very good talent and guys who seemed to get by on pitching to the park. The latter guys I expect to come back down some. Milone is a guy who loved his time at Oakland and pretty much was 5th starter material away from Oakland. I'll have to see more from Straily, but the scouting reports make him read like someone who has a shot of being a good back end up, maybe up to a midrotation guy in Oakland. Oakland had a lot of young pitching that performed well last year, as opposed to a lot of good young pitching in my mind.
On the other hand I suspect that Cespedes is going to get better. Not sure how much better. Chris Young probably gives them a little bonus over Crisp in CF, but it could be mainly with the glove. The biggest wild card for them, in my opinion is Jemile Weeks. If he recovers and has an MLB starting level season then they are getting a lot of extra production out of 2b. Their SS position still seems to be a massive black hole and I'm not very impressed by 3b either.
Notify me of follow-up comments via email.