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19 Things for the 2019 Oakland A’s

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Oakland Athletics v San Francisco Giants Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Welcome back, baseball season! I suppose spring training for writers is over as well.

2018 certainly took its toll on many of us but we’re back right where we want to be. The goal at the start of 2018 was simply to hang in there. The A’s blew right past that en route to a postseason berth. The goal for 2019 should be to put 2018’s Wild Card loss behind us and demonstrate that the Oakland A’s aren’t merely a fun, surprising story but a true force in the league.

However, to get a clearer view of how the 2019 A’s can repeat their 2018 success we need to look to 2018 to provide a roadmap. To kick-off the year I’m bringing back an annual post I’d write pinpointing specific numbers that may be telling us something about the upcoming year. I hope you enjoy them!

Here are my 19 things for the 2019 Oakland A’s season:

  1. In 2018 Matt Chapman finished 7th in MLB in fWAR, thanks to his well-above-average bat and league-best glove work at third base.
  2. The last Oakland Athletic to finish in the top-10 was Josh Donaldson, who finished 5th in 2013.
  3. Despite playing in roughly half a season less than his counterparts, Chapman’s 9.3 fWAR since 2017 is 6th-best in baseball. His defense rating is tops among MLB third baseman in that time-span.
  4. Chapman is largely to thank for Oakland defenders posting the AL’s highest defensive runs saved total in 2018.
  5. In 2018 Oakland pitchers induced a higher percentage of ground balls than all but two AL teams.
  6. A’s pitchers allowed the 2nd-lowest BABIP in baseball, trailing only Tampa Bay.
  7. Oakland is returning three of their four Gold Glove nominated infielders from 2018, including both winners.
  8. MLB starting pitchers posted a 43% groundball rate in 2018.
  9. Two of Oakland’s starting rotation members posted a GB% that was higher than league average last year: Brett Anderson and Frankie Montas.
  10. Aaron Brooks’ triple-A GB% was 55.1% and Tanner Anderson’s was 62.2% as a reliever. In 2017, as a starter in double-A, Anderson’s was 61.3%
  11. Three Oakland hitters posted career-highs in isolated slugging in 2018.
  12. Not only did Jed Lowrie, Stephen Piscotty and Khris Davis post their highest career ISO in 2018, their respective wRC+ were each a career-high.
  13. Khris Davis has batted .247 four consecutive seasons. He has also eclipsed 40 home runs and 100 three straight seasons. His ISO has climbed every full season he has played as well.
  14. Davis leads all of baseball in home runs since the start of 2016 and trails only Nolan Arenado and Edwin Encarnacion in RBI in that time span.
  15. In 2018 Davis finished in the top-10 in MVP voting for the first time in his career.
  16. In 2018 Oakland’s relief corps. Posted 6 fWAR, good for 6th-best in MLB, and 4th-best in the AL.
  17. Oakland’s 2019 Opening Day bullpen posted 8.2 fWAR in 2018, trailing only the New York Yankees in all of baseball.
  18. The 2018 A’s received the 4th-fewest innings from starting pitchers but the 2nd-most innings from relievers.
  19. Overall Oakland pitchers allowed the 11th-fewest runs and earned runs in all of baseball in 2018, while the A’s offense scored the 4th-most.

Here is to the 2019 Oakland A’s!