2019 Autopsy Report: Oakland Athletics
On to report number four on the day, having just wrapped up the 2019 Baltimore Orioles
The 10th team eliminated, and 5th in the American League, is the Oakland Athletics. The A’s made a number of solid moves to compete in 2019, but given the division they play in – made tougher with the Astros ascent – it was hard to gain any traction. I still think they’re a bit better team than their record or run differential dictates.
Time of Death: Wednesday September 11th, 8:40 PM PST when Taylor Sparks grounded to second, ending a 6-run comeback in the A’s 10-8 loss to the Houston Astros.
Cause of Death (Primary): Power Outage. The A’s aren’t as low as some teams we’ve recapped, but in the power laden AL – they’re just 14th. OF Lucas Edgar, 1B Ike Davis and 3B Taylor Sparks will each finish near 20, but it’s likely that they’re the only players still on the team that finish in double-digits.
Secondary Issues: Power typically aligns with high strikeouts, but the A’s had those too – tops in the AL West and 3rd most in the American League. While they got on base at a league average clip, they only hit .247 as a team. The pitching was in the vicinity of league average, but the pre-deadline rotation (more on that later) really lacked the ace punch to counter the big guns.
Left to Play For: Tons. On a team-related note, they need a 9-6 finish to top last years record – a mark any team shoots for as a baseline. Spoiler-wise they have 6 against Texas, 2 in Anaheim and end the season with a 4 game series in Seattle. They only have one series left against teams out of the picture.
2020 Outlook: While they’ll still be in the AL West – the A’s have some curiousity to their outlook for 2020. At the deadline they actually went out and “bought” two top of the rotation pieces in Walker Buehler and Shelby Miller. Rotation-wise, they can match a lot of teams now. Offensively, they’re still going to need some help – especially up the middle and at 1B. Young, great-glove CF prospect Aaron Phillips has gotten a long look since the deadline and has likely shown he can hit well enough to keep that glove in the lineup.