The Oakland A’s got some good news Friday in regard to outfielder Ramon Laureano and his impending suspension.
After initially being slapped with a six-game ban for his role in a recent brawl, Laureano appealed the ruling, and upon further review it was reduced to four games, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. He will begin serving it Friday, missing three interleague matchups against the San Francisco Giants and then one against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The suspension is in response to Laureano’s actions against the Houston Astros last weekend. After being hit with his second pitch of the game and reacting to it dramatically, Laureano was then further provoked by Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron. After resisting Cintron’s instigative antics for a few moments, Laureano snapped and charged the dugout. No punches were thrown amid the ruckus.
This is obviously excellent news for the A’s, and even better than I expected since I was guessing he’d ultimately serve five. In this short season, every game has the effect of 2.7 games in a normal year, so even just shaving off a pair is a huge difference. Instead of missing 10% of the season, now he’ll only miss 6.7%, to put it in rate terms.
Every win is going to count in 2020 even more than usual, so now there are two more days against the D’Backs next week in which one the A’s hottest stars will be back in the lineup. Oakland has the depth to cover his absence, with LF Robbie Grossman (Top 5 hitter in MLB so far), CF Mark Canha (115 wRC+), and RF Stephen Piscotty (homered in his last game), but Laureano leads them all in both versions of WAR. He’s been a game-changing force on both sides of the ball and has made a critical difference in several wins already, arguably ranking as the team MVP so far through one-third of the schedule.
The A’s will still put out a good lineup the next few days even without Laureano, but their best lineup includes the 26-year-old. Now they’ll wait two fewer games to get him back on the field.