First off this may be a ludicrous post but my mind has been on it all day so I want to spell it out to the nation. Everyone seems really bummed about the 2012 team and things just seem to be going downhill and negative. So I thought I'd do some research and find a comparable recent A's team in history and compare them to our projected 2012 team. Our 2002 team won 103 games. Once you see my breakdown, it may help put things in perspective and brighten up our thoughts on the 2012 team.
The bold player is the better player. This is looking at the 2002 season only. What people did in other years is irrelevant.
C: Hernandez: .233/.313/.335 7HRs Suzuki: He had his worse season last year, but still hit .237/.301/.385 with 14HRs. He is definitely a better option than Hernandez. Imagine if he gets back to his 2009 numbers.
1B: Hatteberg: .280/.374/.433 15HRs Kila/Carter/Barton: We don't know who's going to be out starting 1B. What we do know is that all 3 of those guys have potential to at least do just as good as Hatteberg did. If Barton can get back to his 2010 numbers or Carter and Kila perform the way we expect them to (Carter hit .274 w/ 18HRs in 344 PAs and Kila hit .272 w/ 11HRs in 388 PAs in AAA last year) then they should match Hatteberg, maybe even hit a few more HRs.
2B: Ellis: .272/.359/.394 6HR 4SB Weeks: His defense doesn't compare to Ellis', but because the A's have such quality pitching, offense is more important in this situation. The 2002 year was Ellis' rookie year and this past year was Weeks'. Weeks batted .303/.340/.421 w/ 22SB in 2011. Keeping or increasing those numbers in 2012 easily makes him a better pick at 2nd than Ellis was in 2002.
3B: Chavez Sizemore: No discussion. Chavez's 2002 season will be better than any season Sizemore ever has.
SS: Tejada Pennington: Tejada's number's don't need to be discussed. They are very very good. I must note that he only had 7 SBs though. Pennington will get much more than that and hit for a respectable AVG. Probably not the .308 Tejada hit in 2002 though.
LF: Justice: .266/.376/.410 11HRs Smith/Gomes: Smith hit .284/.347/.483 w 15Hrs. Granted he was in Colorado. Even if we deflate his numbers to Oakland he would still hit about the same as Justice did. 20 less AVG points and 4 less HRs and a lower SLG. So Smith alone is equal to Justice. Now add in Gomes to help hit LHP, now you have an above average LF that together hits better than Justice did in 2002.
CF: Long: .240/.298/.390 16HR 3SB Crisp: (2011) .264/.314/.379 8HR 49SB- The numbers say it all. While Long might be able to hit more HRs, Crisp is hands down a better player than Long was in 2002. Crisp can steal 50+ bases and he will overall hit much better than a 2002 Long.
RF: DYE: .252/.333/.459 24HR Reddick: (2011) .280/.327/.457 and hit 7HR in only 278 PA. Translating those numbers to Oakland and giving him a full season, I would project him to hit about the same line as Dye did in 2002. Bill James has him projected to hit .249/.312/.457 with 19HRs in 493 PA in 2012. If we give him 555 PA like Dye had in 2002 then I see his HR and SLG going up to match Dye's.
DH: Durham: .289/.374/.450 15HR Kila/Carter/Manny?: Durham didn't play the full season with Oakland, so his .299BA and 9HR from Chicago are in the above stats. That being said, no matter who our DH is I think they can hit just as well as Durham did in 2002. Look at Manny's numbers in 2010 and read my analysis in the 1B section for Carter and Kila. Everybody should be able to hit above .260 and at least 15HRs. Our DH slot is the same and probably better if we land Manny.
Total Offense: 2012 is better: 4 2002 is better: 2 Positions are equal: 3
Now the pitching (I'm just gonna do the starting rotation). Our relief is just as good as it was in 2002.
Hudson: 2.98 ERA 1.25 WHIP Anderson: (2010) 2.80 ERA 1.19 WHIP. If he can stay healthy his numbers will be comparable to Hudson's in 2002.
Zito: 2.75 ERA 1.13 WHIP Braden: Braden is a great pitcher who will have above avg numbers in 2012 if he stays healthy. He will not, however, be able to duplicate Zito's 2007 numbers.
Mulder: 3.47 ERA 1.14 WHIP McCarthy: (2011) 3.32 ERA 1.13 WHIP- The numbers tell the story. McCarthy even has potential to be better than Mulder was in 2002. For now let's just say that they are pretty equal.
Lidle: 3.89 ERA 1.19 WHIP Colon: (2011) 4.00 ERA 1.29 WHIP. Colon's numbers reflect what he did playing for the Yankees. A full season with Oakland and I see his numbers being the same as Lidle was in 2002. Lidle was the "old guy" of the 2002 rotation just as Colon will be in 2012.
Harang: 4.83 ERA 1.57 WHIP Ross/Peacock/Milone/Parker: It doesn't matter who gets our 5th spot. They will be better than Harang was in 2002. They all have had a little MLB level experience already and have pitched great. Give any one of them a full season as our 5th starter and their numbers will easily be a huge increase from Harang's 2002.
Total Pitching: 2012 is better: 1 2002 is better: 1 Positions are equal: 3
Team Total: 2012 is better: 5 2002 is better: 3 Positions are equal: 6
So if you look at the players we had and the numbers they put out, we have an overall better or at least equal team to our 2002 A's that won 103 games. We have to keep in mind the the Angels and Texas were not as good in 2002 and they are going to win some close games against the A's in 2012. So let's take away 10 wins, that still leaves us at 93 wins. I'm not saying the A's will win that many, but if everyone plays up to their potential and stays healthy then I think we will win a lot more games then people are projecting right now. Remember, last year's terrible season was due to a lot of injuries on both our pitching and offense. I am sure that the 2012 A's will be a better team than 2011 and I'll even go as far to say that I think we'll be an over .500 team.
Keep your chin up AN and think positive. Your Oakland A's will surprise you as they always do :)