As we set out to embark with the Athletics on the 6 month journey that is the MLB regular season, the time is now for everyone to make their predictions on just what will happen this season. It’s been an interesting offseason, and a very long Spring Training, so Opening Day really can’t come soon enough.
The writers for Swingin’ A’s all took the time to weigh in on what they foresee for the 2013 Athletics, suffice to say there is much more optimisim in 2013 than there was in 2012.
Sean Davis, Editor
The A’s have spent the offseason fortifying their roster in an effort to be able to weather just about any storm. Good problems to have like too many middle infielders, or too many outfielders will prove very useful when injuries crop up during the season. Unfortunately the middle infield depth is already being tested. The team opted not to address the starting rotation, a group that is very talented, but could suffer greatly with a poorly placed injury or two. Yoenis Cespedes appears poised to take the next step in his career, and Josh Reddick hopes to do the same.
The success of this team will largely depend on the ability of those who helped lead the A’s to the AL West crown last year to maintain that level of production in 2013. The rest of the AL West has improve in some ways, and treaded water in many others. The perceived biggest threat comes from the Los Angeles Angels, who added Josh Hamilton to go along with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. But, their pitching staff is not intimidating beyond Jered Weaver. The Texas Rangers are depending on Lance Berkman to stay healthy, and be productive once again, and A.J. Pierzynski to repeat a career year that took place in a contract year in his age 36 season. Highly unlikely. The Seattle Mariners should be better, but they have too many holes to truly be competitive.
The A’s will likely fall behind the Angels this year, because the chances of that team underachieving like they did in 2012 once again are rather slim. But a 92-70 record will be good enough to grab a spot in the wild card game, which is rather frightening to think about. Here’s how I see the division playing out: Angels 96-66, Athletics 92-70, Rangers 86-76, Mariners 80-82, Astros 63-99.
Joseph Lopez, Staff Writer
The defending AL West Champions will have their work cut out for them this year as they try to defend their crown in an extremely stacked division. The division now features five teams with the Astros joining the highly competitive AL West, but the A’s should really only worry about the Angels, Rangers, and perhaps even the Mariners in 2013.
Oakland has playoff experience and their young rotation is not as “green” as it was a year ago, so it will be interesting to see whether or not the likes of Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker can lead the A’s to another division crown. The A’s are going to be successful if their young staff holds up and if their depth proves to be as valuable as their front office thinks it is. Guys like Brandon Moss, who broke out offensively last year for the A’s, will be under close examination to see if last year’s magical run was a fluke or not. Against the likes of the extremely talented Angels, the always dangerous Rangers, and dark-horse in Seattle, the A’s will have a lot to prove this year.
The A’s have the pitching to stay near the top of the division this year and they will likely see their young arms only get better this year, too. Offense will likely be Oakland’s biggest area of concern, as the team really only has one star in Yoenis Cespedes. The A’s will be a feast or famine type of offensive team this year, especially if guys like Moss, who had a K% of 30 percent, don’t cut down on the strikeouts. A lot has to happen again this year if the A’s want to Bernie lean into October, but I can see their young pitching carrying them into the playoffs again.
Expect 90 wins and 72 losses from the boys in green-and-gold this year with a trip to the playoffs via a Wild Card spot. Division finishes as follows: Angels, A’s, Rangers, Mariners, Astros.
Devin Pangaro, Staff Writer
Prior to last season, I received copious amounts of skepticism in my personal life and in the online community for projecting the A’s to finish with a modest winning record in 2012. My how the quickly things can change. Coming off a their first playoff appearance since 2006, expectations are high for Bob Melvin and company and the fan base is alive and well with excitement and optimism. With that said, I honestly expect the 2013 Athletics to return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.
I think of it like this, last season was akin to the first year of a television series. You watch it with tempered expectations, but as the season progresses you become more involved with the storyline, attached to the characters and by the end of the show’s run you are hooked. The season finale leaves you thirsting for more, and with season two beginning soon you prepare to immerse yourself once again. For the Athletics, season two will be an opportunity to build on everything that happened last year. Their may be new characters (Chris Young, John Jaso, Jed Lowrie), but the core cast (Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Jarrod Parker) remains largely intact and this year a divisional title is on the line. In a perfect world the A’s will repeat as division champs, however the realist in me offers a reminder that the Angels will be a force to reckon with, and Texas won’t fade away. The road to glory won’t be easy, but I remain confident because after last season anything is possible.
2013 American League Western Division Projection
Oakland Athletics 92-70
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 90-72
Texas Rangers 85-77
Seattle Mariners 78-84
Houston Astros 68-94
Kevin Mendez, Staff Writer
The 2012 Oakland Athletics defied all odds on their way to an AL West Championship. In 2013 the team has broughten back most of the players from the championship team and added key players such as Chris Young, Hiroyuki Nakajima, and Jed Lowrie. The Athletics have a lot of depth and they still have the great young pitching staff that brought them success in 2012. This is why I am picking the Oakland Athletics to defend their title and win the AL West in 2013. Also, the Angels landed another big bat in Josh Hamilton but their pitching isn’t anything that scares me (and we all know pitching is what wins games). The Texas Rangers lost many key players to free agency so that is why I am not picking either of those teams.
Athletics final record: 95-67
1. Oakland Athletics
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Houston Astros
Andrew Brown, Staff Writer
A’s GM Billy Beane made some major acquisitions this offseason. He added depth in spots that struggled last season or that may be prone to injury or slumps. I think the A’s pitching staff will suffer a minor set back due to the amount of innings Milone, Parker, Griffin, and Straily pitched last season. That leaves Brett Anderson and to a lesser extent Bartolo Colon as the work horses of the staff. Anderson will need to be healthy all season if the Green and Gold want to contend for the AL West crown a second year in a row. The bullpen will also be a major factor. If the starting rotation does take a step back more pressure will be put on them to succeed. However, the same problem with the above four could take place with Cook and Doolittle. The offense will need to take another step forward like they did last season. Céspedes will have to have an MVP type season for the A’s to compete with the offenses of the Angels and Rangers. I think this team took a step forward last season and even if the starting rotation takes a little step back I still see them competing for the AL West crown. The Rangers lost a lot of offense in Hamilton and have serious injury problems currently. The Angels are not as intimidating as some might think. The Mariners will take a step forward this season with their young pitching staff, but along with the Astros will finish at the bottom of the standings at the end of the season.
1. A’s 96-66
2. Angels 90-72
3. Rangers 88-74
4. Mariners 81-81
5. Astros 60-102