What To Watch For With The 2021 Oakland A’s
April is the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball Season.
Last year was a season unlike any other. It was shortened, it was played only against similar divisions, and by the end the playoffs were in a bubble.
This year it is scheduled to look like most every other baseball season that you have seen before. 162 games with interleague games still in play. Fans will be back and hopefully so will the game.
The Oakland A’s are ready to defend their American League West title from 2020. They will look a little different than last year but this team should still be very good.
Here are a couple of things to monitor with the Oakland A’s as the season begins:
What will the loss of Marcus Semien mean to the team?
Semien was a huge part of the offense and defense over the last couple of seasons.
He had a couple of spectacular seasons and was very talented. Losing him will be a big deal but how well can they cover this. Elvis Andrus has been brought in to mitigate the damage.
He needs to stay healthy and keep the difference of production at a minimum.
Can the Matt’s find regain their top form?
Matt Chapman and Matt Olson will be vital for the overall strength of this offense.
We know they will be rock stars defensively on the corners but will their lethal bats be back? Olson needs to seek numbers that resemble stats that he produced in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He should live in a neighborhood where he hits .260-.280, blasts 30 plus homers and flirts with 100 RBI’s.
As for Chapman, he can hit for a higher average than he has been the last couple of years and needs to hit power numbers similar to Olsen.
Will the staff find an ace or a couple of dominant arms?
I really like the opening day roster of starting pitchers. Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, Mike FIers and Frankie Montas. There are additional arms that can move up or fill in based on injuries to any of those five.
This group is good but can they be great? Luzardo ,Montas, and Manaea seem to have the best stuff. Bassitt is amazingly consistent and Fiers has been a really solid innings guy. Ideally, someone will separate themselves from the pack as a true ace.
That would help Bob Melvin for later in the year if this team makes it back to the postseason.
What can the Oakland A’s get from their new additions?
Specifically I am looking at four key additions to this roster.
On the mound veteran Sergio Romo should provide some quality appearances to Bob Melvin’s bullpen. I also really like the addition of Adam Kolarek to the pen as well. This should give them some much needed depth and versatility.
They will miss Liam Hendricks but they will hope that strength in numbers will get great results. Offensively, Jed Lowrie is back and if they can get anything from the versatile veteran would be great.
I expect Mitch Moreland to provide more than Khris Davis over the last couple of seasons. Davis had turned into homer or bust and unfortunately was bust too often.
The American League West Outlook
The A’s fit in prominently here.
In fact, they still may be the best team in the West. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels should be a factor. Seattle is on the rise but I don’t think they will be quite ready to jump into the race this season and the Texas Rangers look to be clearly the bottom of the division.
Overall, I like the roster construct of this team.
They have a clear wining culture and a clubhouse that continues to be stellar. Bob Melvin always gets the best out of this team. I see a team that will be very good defensively, has the potential to have a strong starting staff and a deep bullpen. I am a bit worried about the offense but that is a wait and see for me. Some others that have yet to be mentioned could be very key in the offenses success.
Canha, Murphy, Laureano, Piscotty and Pinder could round out a lineup that keeps the line moving. In the final analysis, I see another trip to the postseason with either a wild card entry or a back to back division title run.
This should be a good year for the green and gold.