file photo from sfchronicle.com: Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien fields a grounder by San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, who was out at first during a baseball game in San Francisco. Semien will look to build momentum from a career season that included being top three in the AL MVP voting. He was rewarded with a new $13 million, one-year contract to avoid arbitration, a raise of $7.1 million
2020 Predictions: Los Atléticos
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
My predictions for this upcoming 2020 season.
(American League West)
1-Oakland Athletics 2-Houston Astros 3-Los Angeles Angels 4-Texas Rangers 5-Seattle Mariners
Oakland A’s (Offense) This is the year everything will come together for the Athletics. For the second year in a row finished with an excellent 97-65 record and behind the Houston Astros. They will catch and pass the scandal-riddled Houston Astros.
A’s are a powerful offensive force with numbers that do the talking. Among all 30 teams,the A’s finished fifth in home runs with 257,number eight in runs scored 845 and number ninth in runs driven-in with 800.
The team of the greatest base stealer ever, and in my opinion the best all-around player in the history of the Oakland A’s,Rickey Henderson who stole 1,406 bases during a stellar Hall of Fame career,only stole 49 bases last season,which put them close to the bottom,only three teams in baseball stole less bases.
But nobody is perfect,that is not their game, only the Giants, Twins and Cubs stole less bases than the A’s. Unfortunately (if you are old school) at this time in history where 30 homers for a player is “normal” and many say boring,the stolen base is like the bunt,”Breaking News”when it happens.
(Pitching) Bob Melvin A’s had the sixth best earned run average for a pitching staff in baseball with 3.97. Only Astros, Dodgers, Rays, Indians and Cardinals showed a better ERA. Their 2020 staff is one of the youngest and most talented in the game. Sean Manaea, Jesús Luzardo, Frankie Montás, A,J Puk, Mike Fiers starting and leading the way.
(Bullpen) Liam Hendriks (25 saves and 1.80 ERA),who took over Blake Treinen as closer was robbed of the Reliever of the Year Award by New York Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman,but was one of the reasons the A’s got to the AL Wild Card game.
The only reason Hendriks did not win the award is because he pitches for the A’s and Chapman for the Yankees. The market was the deciding factor. However,the Astros had the top bullpen in the AL West and third best in baseball last year with ERA (3.75) and batting average against (.226). Roberto Osuna led the Astros with 38 saves,second in baseball only to San Diego’s Kirby Yates with 41.
(Defense) Los Atléticos finished tied with the Atlanta Braves as the fourth best defensive team in baseball,with a .987 fielding percentage. and committed total of 80 errors,only Cardinals,Royals, Houston and Braves committed less. It all starts with the Golden Corners; Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, both Gold Glove winners,plus a mostly improved Marcus Semien at shortstop,and very a talented outfield with Ramón Laureano in center field. Ramón’s arm is one of the best – nobody runs on him.
2020 A’s are very similar to 2019.The second base position still wide open, they acquired veteran Tony Kemp but also have A’s minor league star Jorge Mateo as well as Franklin Barreto who already have some major league experience with the club, as well as Sheldon Neuse and then there is Rule 5 pick Vimael Machín.They are all candidates at the second-base position that Jurickson Profar left vacant after he signed with the San Diego Padres.
Conclusion: It will be a battle for the division between the A’s and the Astros. Now under Dusty Baker,the Houston team still one of the best group of players in baseball,it should not be easy for the A’s, but they are ready for battle. It is of great importance that the A’s win the division,because they are starting to get the label that they cannot win a Wild Card game.
The LA Angels with the addition of one of the finest hitters and all around players in third-baseman Anthony Rendon, who will now be in a lineup with MikeTrout, Justin Upton,Shohei Othani and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols hitting sixth or seventh,they will score tons of runs, but they are still short of pitching.Good luck to a great baseball guy,Joe Maddon, now back in Anaheim as manager.
Texas will be Texas,Joey Gallo might hit 50 home runs,so what? and the Seattle Mariners will continue to look up to the others in the division. Seattle a great city that once had stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. Edgar Martínez, Randy Johnson, Ichiro Susuki, Féliz Hernández, Jaime Moyer, Raúl Ibañez and others, but for this season they will be a sad again. Mariners remain the only team in the division never to win the pennant.
Atléticos First Homestand features two Divisional champions. A’s Open 2020 this Thursday March 26th at 1:07PM with the first of a four games against the Central Division champion Minnesota Twins followed by the Western Division champion Houston Astros for a three game series starting Monday. The Twins loaded with power set a new MLB record last season with 307 home runs and the Astros lead the regular season with 107 wins.
Coronavirus Note: WHO(World Health Organization)tips about this virus. 1-Wash hands frequently 2-Maintain social distances 3-Avoid touching,eyes, nose and mouth 4-If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s Spanish radio broadcasts and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com