The Oakland A’s have had one strength that stands above the rest over the past two decades. Pitching. From the Big 3 consisting of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson, to another dynamic trio in Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Gio Gonzalez, and the most recent group of Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, the same Brett Anderson, Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin, and Travis Blackley, the A’s have had shined on the mound. With the departure of Brandon McCarthy and the question marks surrounding Bartolo Colon the A’s depth may need some adding. This was helped by the addition of Andrew Werner who was acquired from the Padres in the Tyson Ross deal. The upcoming season is full of expectations starting with the rotation. This is how it should shape up:
ACE (1): Brett Anderson. Anderson is the most experienced out of the group (other than Colon) and can dominate a game at any time. With his nasty breaking pitches and strong fastball, Anderson has the résumé and pedigree to be the Ace of the staff and the opening day starter. Even after missing most of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010 he looked refreshed and sharp instantly after returning back to the mound.
(2): Jarrod Parker. Parker was the centerpiece of the Trevor Cahill trade and proved why in 2012. Parker finished 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 181.1 IP, pretty good for his first Major League season. Look for his success to continue in 2013 possibly improving on those numbers. He will one day be the Ace of the staff.
(3): Tommy Milone: Milone is a Dallas Braden style pitcher. He never overpowers you but rather out thinks you. With his pin point location and changing of speeds he was the A’s most consistent pitcher in 2012 and he will only continue to get better with time. He won’t ever be the Ace of a staff but he is a solid number three in the rotation.
(4): A.J. Griffin. Griffin was a late call up at the end of the season replacing the suspended Bartolo Colon. He skyrocketed into A’s fans hearts with his string of starts up until the final week of the season when he finally came back down to the Earth. It remains to be seen whether his success was real or just a run of good luck though so look for eyes to be on him early on in the season.
(5): Dan Straily: Straily came out of nowhere to be one of the A’s most sought after prospects at the end of the 2012 season. He developed an elite change up that led to him having the most strikeouts in all of the Minor Leagues. However, he parallels Griffin in questions surrounding his success. Because of this his spot in the rotation may be in question if he does not look sharp in Spring Training.
Other potentials: Travis Blackley (spot starter/ long reliever), Bartolo Colon, Andrew Werner, Michael Ynoa, and Brad Peacock. Peacock, Ynoa, and Werner will have a lot to prove in Spring Training if they expect to be considered for that final spot in the rotation.
The A’s have some depth in the rotation but could possibly use one more addition; a minor league contract signee would be my guess. Regardless, the rotation looks poised to have another strong year and potentially lead the Green and Gold back to October baseball again.