MLB

2022 Oakland A’s Profile & Projection

Apr 6, 2022, 10:18 AM | Updated: Nov 11, 2022, 12:06 pm
GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 29, 2022: Cristian Pache #20 of the Oakland Athletics bats during the seventh ...
(Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Talk about a fire sale.

The Oakland A’s have moved into a rebuild following an offseason full of changes, one that also included the team’s first managerial change in over 10 years.

Former A’s outfielder Mark Kotsay will begin his first season as manager in 2022, filling in for new San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin.

After a flurry of trades that shipped out the team’s top talent, Oakland’s payroll sits at just $32 million this season–29th out of 30 Major League Baseball teams. Recently signed New York Mets ace Max Scherzer will make nearly $11 million more than the entire Athletics payroll in 2022.

Uncertain times lay ahead for the Oakland A’s, both on and off the field.

When looking at this season’s team, who is left? What will the lineup look like? How about the rotation? Let’s dive into it.

Who’s In?

Outfielder Cristian Pache was the headline prospect during March’s massive trade that sent first baseman Matt Olson to the Atlanta Braves.

Pache was Atlanta’s third-ranked prospect entering the 2022 season after batting .265 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in AAA during the 2021 season. The 23-year-old was called up for depth during Atlanta’s World Series run and secured his first championship ring as the Braves defeated the Astros in six games.

https://youtu.be/Prr0PIJo6Nw

Pache has only logged 67 at-bats over 24 games at the MLB level, but he is in line to open up 2022 as the team’s starting centerfielder as Ramon Laureano will be sidelined for 27 games due to a PED suspension.

Oakland would be smart to give Pache everyday reps in the field and at the plate as they look to groom the next crop of stars for a team that desperately needs fresh talent.

As far as large acquisitions go, that’s pretty much it for the A’s.

Old friends Jed Lowrie and Stephen Vogt re-upped with the A’s, forming a reunion of 2013-2016 teammates that took Oakland to the postseason two times and secured an American League West Championship during the 2013 season.

Nostalgia for the win!

Who’s Out?

Sorry for the reminder, but here is what happened during the offseason:

  • 1B Matt Olson traded to the Atlanta Braves
  • 3B Matt Chapman traded to the Toronto Blue Jays
  • SP Chris Bassitt traded to the New York Mets
  • SP Sean Manaea traded to the San Diego Padres
  • OF Mark Canha signs with the New York Mets

Ouch.

Offensively, defensively, pitching, it doesn’t matter which way you slice it. Those names have been staples for this Oakland A’s team over the years, and now they are gone.

A’s ownership has long been criticized for holding onto their checkbooks, and allowing (forcing, really) homegrown talents like Olson and Chapman to leave is disturbing. Those two players, years away from their 30’s, were fan favorites.

https://youtu.be/eb6mHKDz0LQ

All-Stars. Gold Glovers. Power threats. Defensive specialists.

Now, they are gone–all to save money.

Projected Lineup

via FanGraphs Roster Resource

2B – Tony Kemp

LF – Chad Pinder

C – Sean Murphy

1B – Seth Brown

DH – Billy McKinney

RF – Stephen Piscotty

SS – Elvis Andrus

3B – Kevin Smith

CF – Cristian Pache

Bench

C – Austin Allen

UTIL – Sheldon Neuse

INF – Stephen Vogt

OF – Skye Bolt

INF/DH – Jed Lowrie

Rotation

RHP – Frankie Montas

LHP – Cole Irvin

RHP – Daulton Jeffries

RHP – Paul Blackburn

Bullpen

RHP – Lou Trivino

RHP – Domingo Acevedo

LHP – A.J. Puk

RHP – Dany Jimenez

LHP – Kirby Snead

RHP – Justin Grimm

LHP – Sam Moll

RHP – Zach Jackson

RHP – Jacob Lemoine

RHP – Adam Oiler

Injured/Restricted List

OF – Ramon Laureano (suspended for 27 games, PED suspension)

RHP – James Kaprileian (AC joint irritation)

RHP – Brent Honeywell Jr. (elbow)

Batters to watch

As mentioned earlier, all eyes will be on Cristian Pache this summer.

Along with Pache, catcher Sean Murphy will be looked to as a key piece of the offense this season. Last year, the 26-year-old showed plenty of pop as he racked up 23 doubles and 17 home runs over 119 games.

https://youtu.be/SO7RNlh_GBU

Lastly, Jed Lowrie is back in the green and gold after proving that he still has some gas in the tank during the 2021 season.

After missing most of 2019 and all of 2020, Lowrie appeared in 139 games while hitting 14 home runs, driving in 69 runs, and slashing .245/.318/.398 for the A’s last season.

Does the soon-to-be 38-year-old have enough in him for one more big season? This offense sure could use that kind of punch.

Pitchers to watch

There was plenty of hype surrounding A.J. Puk when he made his debut in 2019.

The hard-throwing lefty was looked at as the next big arm for Oakland, but injuries have plagued the 26-year-old ever since. Puk missed the entire 2020 season due to shoulder issues, and in 2021 the lefty only appeared in 12 games, sporting a 6.08 ERA over 13.1 innings pitched.

https://youtu.be/x-JmozwYMdE

Puk will get a chance to get back on track in 2022 as the A’s bullpen will look for stability around late-inning options Lou Trivino and Domingo Acevedo.

Frankie Montas’ name has been heavily mentioned in trade rumors during Spring Training, but it appears as if the Athletics will be holding onto their current ace for a bit longer.

Montas is a trade candidate for the summer deadline when contending teams will be more aggressive in their pursuits of starting arms, and the 29-year-old will be at the top of team’s wish lists.

Last season, the right-hander went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA while striking out 207 batters over 187 innings.

If Montas can provide the A’s with a similar presence in 2022, they will undoubtedly get a bigger return for the veteran pitcher once the trigger is pulled on a deal.

Projection

FanGraphs has the Oakland Athletics finishing the 2022 season with a record of 70-92.

A 70-92 finish is projected to place the A’s dead-last in the American League West division and 27th out of 30 teams in the league, with only the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies having worst seasons.

Over/Under – 70.5 wins

I’m actually going to go over on this one.

Oakland has shown some resiliency before, and to expect this team to lost near 100 games, I can’t predict that–not in good conscience.

However, I do think that the A’s are destined for 72-75 wins in 2022.

Here’s to hoping that ownership will be able to dig deep into its pockets and retain the next up-and-coming crop of home-grown talent.

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