FanPost

A Brief 2022 Oakland A's Season Preview


Last time, I made a review of the 2021 Oakland A's, which you may or may not have seen. Surprisingly enough, I was more correct than I usually am about what the A's would do (though given what they did, that isn't a good thing). Either way, I won't go into too much detail about what they did, because if you are an A's fan, you know. As such, I will list the A's 28-man roster below, and make my predictions for how they do and how different they might look by the end of the season.

Starting Pitchers (SP)

Frankie Montas

Cole Irvin

Daulton Jefferies

Paul Blackburn

Adam Oller

The A's did end up trading Bassitt and Manaea, leaving Montas as the ace of the staff. Kaprelian would likely slot in as either the 2nd or 3rd starter, but he is currently injured. Cole Irvin returns, and armed with his new cutter, could do even better than last season. Jefferies gets his first real opportunity, being healthy, finally. Blackburn is somehow still around, though he might not be by the end of the season. Adam Oller is an interesting pickup who I quite like, but we will see how he ends up doing. I predict that Montas does well, but ends up getting traded at the deadline, and than Irvin steps up as the new 'ace', with everyone else being here, though Blackburn might get released, and two more starting pitchers from the farm coming up (Dunshee and Howard, perhaps?).

Relief Pitchers (RP)

Lou Trivino

Domingo Acevedo

Justin Grimm

Zach Jackson

Dany Jimenez

Jack Lemoine

Sam Moll

A.J. Puk

Kirby Snead

An interesting group, and one that is mostly new. Personally, I am alright with having a cheap bullpen (or, if you would prefer, arm barn), as even expensive relievers can do badly. Trivino is the closer, and will hopefully do well (so long as he isn't overused); Acevedo was very good in Las Vegas, which is impressive for a reliever; Jackson did well in AA, and had a good spring training; Jimenez has great stuff, and could stick around; Lemoine is very good at getting groundballs; Moll did decently last season, and returns for another go-around; Puk is currently healthy (fingers crossed); Snead is a lefty reliever who looks like a cross of A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. I predict that this group will have a lot of turnover, but might be more or less finalized by the trade deadline (which could see Trivino shipped away, if he does well).

Catcher (C)

Sean Murphy

Stephen Vogt

Austin Allen

Overall, this seems to be the A's best position group, with a star in the making in Murphy, a veteran presence in Vogt, and a promising bat in Allen (who might see time at DH/1B). No complaints here, as this could be the best group of catchers that the A's have had in quite some time. I predict that they will do well, though Murphy might get traded at the end of the season, and than Allen will prove to be more of a DH/1B than a catcher. Luckily, Shea Langeliers might be up next season, and he could turn out as good or even better than Murphy.

First Base (1B)

Seth Brown

Jed Lowrie

Billy McKinney

?

Going from Olson to this hurts, but someone will probably establish themselves here, whether it be Brown, who might be Brandon Moss-lite, or the immortal Lowrie playing a new position at 37, or former A's first round pick McKinney, or someone else entirely. I predict that someone here will establish themselves at first base.

Second Base (2B)

Tony Kemp

Jed Lowrie

Tony Kemp seems to be the starting second baseman, and quietly, has established himself as a solid player. He might not have the upside that we dreamt of in the past with Barreto, Mateo, or Russell, but unlike those players, he is a MLB starter. Lowrie might see time here, as well as Neuse, who I will cover as a third baseman.

Shortstop (SS)

Elvis Andrus

Kevin Smith

Andrus seems to be the starting shortstop (for now), and who knows - he could do better than last year, maybe. Either way, unless he suddenly starts hitting .300, the A's won't have his option vest, and as such, he will have his playing time reduced over the course of the season. Nick Allen isn't on the 28-man roster, though I suspect that he will play well enough to be in Oakland by the end of the season, and will hopefully establish himself as the A's new shortstop, in the same way that a couple of players in the past that you might know of named Matt did.

Third Base (3B)

Kevin Smith

Sheldon Neuse

Kevin Smith seems to be the heir apparent to third base after Chapman left. Although he isn't the defender that Chapman was, quietly, he has the potential to be as good if not better on offense, depending on if Chapman remains in his phase of striking out as much as he has the last few seasons. Sheldon Neuse was once a third base prospect for the A's, and although he was traded away to the Dodgers, he is back on a waiver claim, and had a stellar Spring Training. Perhaps he could pull a reverse Max Muncy.

Designated Hitter (DH)

Billy McKinney

Sheldon Neuse

Jed Lowrie

Stephen Vogt

The A's will probably have a rotating spot at DH, with whoever isn't playing in the infield, catcher, and outfield being in the mix for the spot. Not much else to go over here.

Left Field (LF)

Chad Pinder

Billy McKinney

Chad Pinder will get the chance, with consistent playing time, to break out. Whether or not he does remains to be seen, but he certainly could. Billy McKinney will see playing time here, as well as others, surely.

Center Field (CF)

Ramon Laureano

Christian Pache

Because of Laureano's suspension, Pache currently sits as the A's starting center fielder. Whether he can hit enough is the question - there is no question about he defense, which is good enough to dethrone the Laser from CF. Now, the A's haven't really said clearly what will happen with Laureano once he gets back, so here is my theory: While Ramon is gone, Pache and Piscotty are getting their chance, Pache to see if he can hit enough, and Piscotty to see if he can regain some of his 2018 form. How those two do at the beginning of the season will ultimately decide their fate. If Pache plays well, he stays in CF, in MLB. If Piscotty plays well, he stays in RF. If they both play well, then Laureano gets traded (unless Piscotty is playing really well, enough to the point where the A's could get something good for him). If either one does not play well, Laureano would replace them. If neither does well, then Pache would probably be the one sent down to AAA, with Laureano taking CF. This is only a theory, but we will see what ends up happening here.

Right Field (RF)

Stephen Piscotty

Skye Bolt

I have already more or less outlined the situation for Piscotty, so hopefully he remains healthy and plays well. Skye Bolt adds depth to the outfield, and there's always the chance that he plays well.

Conclusion

I don't know what the 2022 Oakland A's will be like, but this is my best educated guess (also known as a prediction). Hopefully they surprise and do well, but if not - it isn't the end of the world. We shall see.