A's Preview: Vin Mazzaro

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Remember the A’s “Big Three” that consisted of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito? Do you remember how effective the three aces were for the A’s in early part of the 2000’s?

If you do remember, you probably remember how A’s GM, Billy Beane, dismantled the trio as well. After Hudson and Mulder were dealt (Hudson deal=bust for the A’s), Zito was left alone to man a staff that many seen as incapable of leading the A’s to the playoffs in 2005.

For the most part, the analysts were right when assuming Oakland would miss the playoffs in 2005. However, the A’s put on an impressive run during the second-half of the season that led Billy Beane into believing that his team could contend in 2006. In short, the A’s made the playoffs in 2006 with the help of Zito (16-10, 3.86 ERA) and Frank Thomas (39 HRs).

However, after getting swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, the A’s went downhill abruptly. The A’s have finished under .500 in each of the last three seasons, and haven’t had many exciting moments as had in the days of the “Big Three.”

Last season, however, was an indication that the dark age may be coming to an end. The A’s featured a young pitching staff full of promise. Among my favorites were Brett Anderson, Andrew Bailey and Vin Mazzaro.

Yes. I said Vin Mazzaro.

Mazzaro, who came up later in the 2009 season pitched exceptionally well in his first three or so outings. However, after the quick start, Mazzaro hit a rough patch that seemed to last through the remainder of the season. For the year, Mazzaro went 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA. Opponents hit .319, an average that will have to come down if he wants to remain on the big league level.

Mazzaro is currently vying for the fifth-spot of the A’s starting rotation, but he’s also having a tough time getting batters out this spring. His spring stats are very comforting, but Mazzaro is a talent young pitcher who could help the A’s in the future.

A’s GM Billy Beane is eerily setting up for another “Big Three” that could include Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro. And like Hudson, Mulder and Zito had during their days in green-and-gold, Anderson, Cahill and Mazzaro will have plenty of offense once prospects like Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, Jemile Weeks and Adrian Cardinas come up to the big leagues.

Although I see Mazzaro starting out the year in Triple-A, I see him popping back up with the A’s and pitching better than he did last season. Will he have a remarkable, breakout season? Probably not. But he’ll make some strides at becoming a solid starter in the MLB.

PREDICTION for VIN MAZZARO:

Wins: 5, Losses: 8, 100-105 IP, 68-70 Ks, 4.50-4.60 ERA

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Tags: 2010 Barry Zito Big Three Billy Beane Fantasy Baseball Mark Mulder MLB Oakland Oakland A's Oakland Athletics Pitching Prediction Preview Projection Promotions Spring Training Stats Tim Hudson Vin Mazzaro

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