clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Just some unbridled optimism about your Oakland A’s

New, comments

Baseball is more fun if you believe.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes-Press Conference
Leading the Kavalry.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re irrational enough to watch pajama bottomed millionaires throw a piece cow towards other pajama bottomed millionaire swinging dead trees, you’ve got all the makings of someone who can believe in the A’s.

Most people don’t, and that’s fair. The A’s are coming off two consecutive 69 (nice) win season, they haven’t added a ton of talent that can be expected to produce right away, and that defense. Oh, that defense. The A’s being good just wouldn’t make very much sense.

But we like this sport because it doesn’t make sense. So let’s talk about why the A’s are going to be the best team in the league!

Why the A’s are awesome

-Most teams struggle to find a good catcher, backup catchers are usually disasters, and most are only good on one side of the ball. The A’s have too many good catchers! Bruce Maxwell is in AAA cause Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are too busy wrecking opposing pitchers to let the youngster through.

-Yonder Alonso turned himself from the at bat where you go to get a beer to a must watch player. Who knows if he’ll be good, but his upside has skyrocketed.

-Jed Lowrie is in the last year of his deal.

-Marcus Semien has already been solidly above average during his career and is poised to get better. His power is immense, his glove no longer made of steel, his name isn’t Crosby, and he’s still just 26 years of age. I can’t stress that not being Crosby thing enough - even when Semien was brutal for the better part of 2015, he was a dream teammate and genuinely likable guy.

-Trevor Plouffe is just so, so handsome.

-The Raiders are leaving but it seems Mt. Davis is staying. If anyone can take it down, it’s Ryon Healy playing the same division as Yovani Gallardo. If Ryon Healy applied to be a bouncer, he’d be rejected for being too big and too strong, and the ball jumps off his bat in a Cespedes-ian way.

-Khris Davis is probably the best Khris/Chris Davis in a baseball no matter how you spell it.

-The value of stolen bases can be marginal, but at certain times, they can make or break a game. Rajai Davis is the best basestealer in baseball late in games in tight situations. He’s been known to be clutch with the bat, too.

-Matt Joyce is a swing change success story, making him a buy low proposition with upside. For a team that couldn’t take a walk last year, his patience will be a welcome sight.

-When your team is expected to win a depressing amount of games, swinging for the fences is a must in all senses. Risks are exciting as there’s little to lose and excitement to gain. Mark Canha swings like he doesn’t know singles exist and in the event he makes good contact? He’s a powerful man.

-Kendall Graveman has managed to pitch two seasons in front of this defense without quitting the sport. That kind of sticktoitiveness isn’t something you can teach, and while you can teach a sinker and a cutter, few learn it as well as he has.

-Jharel Cotton’s changeup, hngghhhh.

-When you can expect zero out of Sonny Gray and still reasonably expect and okay rotation, you’ve got some quality depth. Gray still has a live arm and could potentially come back strong, a potential huge add to the A’s.

-You want relief? The A’s got relief! Probably too much relief. But hey, 2015 should still be fresh enough in your memory and that’s why the A’s have eight freaking relievers and like 1.5 outfielders. Okay, I can’t be positive about everything.

-Dave Kaval is here making moves of all sorts. In a mere couple of months, he’s made the Coliseum a home. The food has improved vastly, you can get drunk on a much finer selection of beverages, there’s entertainment in our home park that is now attractive to more than just your hardcore baseball fan.

It can’t be overstated how quickly Kaval has turned sewage into water, and it’s a great sign that he’ll be able to turn that water into wine as the years go by. He’s done everything right in a time when being a fan of an East Bay team isn’t easy, and that commitment is exactly what the A’s need.

Also no one has made a bad “Kavalry” joke which is pretty neat.

-Yeah, we’re in a good division. That part makes the turnaround hard, as the A’s aren’t going to be squeezing out wins against rebuilding clubs. They’ll have to beat very good teams on a nightly basis.

But optimism: the Mariners are old and also the Mariners, the Angels seem hellbent on wasting Mike Trouts best years, are still paying Albert Pujols like he’s not 70, the Astros tank job has netted them a single wild card, and the Rangers can’t defy the projections forever.

Out of those teams, at least one will probably be pretty good. Maybe two, even three will compete for a playoff berth. Or maybe the AL West will be disappointing again and the A’s will be able to squeak some playoff baseball out of divisional ineptitude. You just can’t know till the season gets going.

____________________

The A’s are projected to win a pathetic amount of games again this year. There’s reason that people are down on the team and a reason you should go to Vegas and put money on the A’s and their awful odds - they’re not supposed to be good. But dammit, there are some players on this team, some reasons to be excited, and the A’s are going to overachieve in 2017.