The Oakland A’s don’t really have a set lineup, so instead we’ll be taking a look at a generic lineup of the players who will be in that spot most often. For example, Cespedes Won’t be 4th in lineup everyday, but he will most likely be there the most out of any player. So we will put Cespedes as the 4th hitter, even though others will be there at some point as well. That is how it will work for every spot. The Platoon players will share the spot so I will group them together.
1. Coco Crisp
Coco Crisp is and will always remain the leadoff man for the A’s. If he’s healthy, he’s the leadoff man. Coco is amazing at the spot, because he is the heart of the team. He is the engine that keeps the team going, so naturally he would be the one to start the game off. If coco does well in a game, the rest of the team follows his lead and keep the momentum that Coco started going. Pitchers fear Coco because even when he strikes out or gets a hit, he makes sure the pitcher’s count is much higher than it was when he stepped up. He did amazing last year, having hit over 20 homeruns and stealing over 20 bases. Overall, Coco had a career year last year, and will continue to get the team going in 2014.
The two spot is often switched back and forth between Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie. They both switch between the 2nd and 3rd spots. The reason I put Donaldson as the two spot hitter is because last year when Donaldson was put in the no. 2 spot he did even better and put up spectacular numbers. Donaldson should be the 2 spot hitter because he would be able to repeat his breakout season a whole lot better. Nobody expected Donaldson to break out like that last season. He lifted the team and throughout the entire season he kept the team afloat. With a struggling Cespedes and struggling Reddick, the team needed someone to step up and put up all-star caliber numbers. Donaldson did just that for the A’s, and will keep it up in 2014.
3. Jed Lowrie
Lowrie was another big reason that the A’s were able to repeat winning the AL West. People expected Lowrie to be a bench player and Nakajima was supposed get all the playing time. Lowrie won his spot in spring training and never looked back. He had a career year, not losing major time to injuries like he always had before. Lowrie hit a lot of doubles that in any other ballpark might have been homeruns, and consistently got on base either by hits or by walks. Lowrie is a great hitter to be in the 3rd spot, because he would make it 3 guys who can consistently get on base, setting Cespedes up for great RBI opportunities. Overall, Lowrie will keep up the great hitting in the 2014 season and round up a great group of guys for the first 3 spots.
Cespedes had a down year last year, but it’s looking like he’s going to have a much better season in 2014, due to the fact that he said he’s been working on shortening his swing to make more contact. He also said that in his debut season in 2012, pitchers had no idea who he was so he was able to take advantage of that. In 2013 pitchers knew just how to strike him out. He knows this now. He’s working on it so that he can improve, and I believe that he will. He will drive in a lot more runs this time around in the no. 4 spot and will be able to improve on his 2013 numbers remarkably. In 2014, this spot will be perfect for Cespedes to rebound.
5. Brandon Moss
Many are speculating that Callaspo will get playing time at 1st and platoon with Moss. I don’t think that it will be enough to have to share this spot with Moss. It won’t be a true platoon because Moss will see most of the playing time here, and even if he’s not on 1st base, he can still play as the DH and he would be in the 5th spot. Moss is a power bat, his style is homerun or strikeout. He swings hard every time. If Cespedes doesn’t get a homerun but gets on base, Moss is perfect to drive him in. In the 5th spot, Moss will bring in a lot of runs even if it’s by solo homeruns. Cespedes and Moss make the middle of the lineup intimidating.
These guys are both good offensively. Sogard had an amazing average in spring training last season and earned all the playing time he had in 2013. Sogard is a good hitter all around. Not a lot of homeruns or big hits, just simple singles and occasional doubles, but that is all you need sometimes. Callaspo is also a great hitter who is hard to strike out and also gets simple hits that keep the inning going. Both are reliable hitters that are great for the 6th spot because their simple hits will drive in the power guys when they didn’t get the ball over the fence.
Gentry is a great offensive asset. He is great on defense, but Reddick is Gold Glove caliber. Spring Training will decide who gets most of the playing time there, but the common theory is that they will platoon at right field, and I believe that is the most sensible choice. It’s nice having a Gold Glove outfielder but Gentry is plenty capable at handling right field while also offering great offense. Whoever is playing, the 7th spot is where these guys will be inserted. It’s hard to predict any of the spots after the 5th because it’s always changing. These guys could just as easily be 8th or 9th. After the 5th spot these are just best guesses since it will be constantly changing.
Derek Norris is a good player as is Stephen Vogt. They will both take over at the catcher position leaving John Jaso to mostly DH. Norris and Vogt will both be decent hitters that won’t be amazing but won’t be horrible either. These guys had their good and their bad moments last season, and I expect more of the same from them in 2014.
The 9th spot will be one of the guys from the 6th to 8th spots. When Jaso DH’s guys will move down and Norris, Vogt, Reddick, or Sogard will be in the 9th spot. This spot is tricky because of all of the lineup changes. Sometimes Gentry might DH and Reddick will be in the outfield and the people that share the 7th spot will both be in, therefore filling the 7th and 8th spots. Little moves like that will determine who will be in the 9th spot. We never need to worry however, because Melvin is a genius and will put up the best possible lineups for each different team that we face.