The Oakland A’s are a young team built around their pitching and defense, and a big part of their success this season has been because of the maturation of their starting rotation. Pitchers like Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson made tremendous strides this season, and consistently demonstrated why Oakland had one of the best starting rotations in baseball.
The A’s starting rotation led baseball with 103 quality starts, and were fourth in ERA with a team mark of 3.56. Furthermore, the A’s kept opposing offenses at bay, as the team held their opponents to a .245 batting average (5th best in baseball).
Although Trevor Cahill made a name for himself this season by winning 18 games, my favorite player in the current rotation remains Brett Anderson. Anderson, 22, had his share of injuries this season, but the A’s still value him immensely. Earlier in the season, the A’s and Anderson agreed to a four-year contract, with options for 2014 and 2015. The deal indicated that the A’s intended to keep their young players in order to ensure future success down the road.
In 2009, both Anderson and Cahill pitched in Oakland’s starting rotation. Despite having an offense that included the likes of Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera, the A’s starting rotation was far to young to keep up with the rest of the division. Anderson ended up winning 11 games, while Cahill finished the season 10-13. Both pitchers, however, did show promise at the end of the season.
Heading into this season, I had predicted that Anderson and Cahill would combine to win 25 games or more for the Athletics this year. Unfortunately, however, the A’s were without Cahill for the start of the season, which opened the door for Gonzalez, and Anderson made four starts before hitting the DL.
The A’s eventually had Cahill rejoin the rotation once he was healthy, and he ended up establishing himself as one of the brightest young arms in the league. Anderson, meanwhile, spent a majority of the season on the disabled list. The southpaw made 19 starts and threw for only 112.1 innings. Despite his injuries, however, Anderson ended up finishing the season on a strong note.
Anderson finished the season 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA. Now, I don’t want to jinx Anderson or anything by comparing him to ex-A’s pitcher Rich Harden, but when Anderson is healthy he is the real deal. The same was often said about Harden, who often landed on the DL during his time in Oakland.
For next season, I see the A’s pitching staff getting even better. The A’s made huge strides this year, and the youngster should continue to growth next year. I’ve put together a table, which compares the 2009 A’s starting rotation with the 2010 A’s starting rotation.
Tags: 2009 MLB Stats 2010 MLB Season A's Starting Rotation AL AL West Brett Anderson Gio Gonzalez MLB MLB Injuries MLB Stats Oakland A's Oakland A's Starting Rotation Oakland Athletics Promotions Trevor Cahill