As recently as 2014, the Oakland Athletics won 88 games and were a playoff team but it's as if the team that invented Moneyball had their loan called ever since. The 2015 season saw the A's plummet to an AL-worst 68-94 mark and 2016 saw them lose another 93 games. That makes Oakland the second-worst team in all of Major League Baseball over that two-year span. Posting the worst record in the American League last season (68-94), the A's have a lot of ground to make up in 2016.
With the Rangers and the upstart Mariners holding on to the top of the AL West, Oakland has a young core to work with but it will be an uphill battle this season. The A's, however, feature 26-year-old Sonny Gray, one of the best young arms in baseball. Oakland's first-round draft pick in 2011, Gray had his best season in 2015 by notching his first All-Star selection and posting a record of 14-7 with an ERA of 2.73.
Gray has been the focal point of the A's pitching staff since he made his debut in 2013. He can't do it all by himself and the lack of team support is costing Oakland dearly.
Oakland's front office made note of this in the offseason and let go two of their starting pitchers from 2015 -- Scott Kazmir (now with the Dodgers) and Jesse Chavez (Toronto Blue Jays) -- to go all in on their young pitching rotation. The two other top returners from last year are also 26 years of age.
Both Kendall Graveman and Jesse Hahn got a significant amount of playing time in their first major forays into the big leagues and will be leaned on heavily for contributions in 2016. Hahn (6-6, 3.35 ERA) had a stronger year than Graveman (6-9, 4.05 ERA), but both will need to take the next step in order for the A's to consistently contend in the stout AL West.
The batting lineup for the A's might not have as high of a ceiling as their pitching order does, but it does feature some pieces that could do some consistent damage.
Oakland's main offensive weapon is outfielder Josh Reddick who was their leader in batting average (.272), RBI's (77) and home runs (20). The 2012 Gold Glove winner is also pretty nifty in the outfield and has helped bolster the Oakland defense.
The two top bats behind Reddick had nearly identical stats in 2015. Catcher Stephen Vogt (.261, 70 RBIs, 18 home runs) and 27-year-old outfielder Mark Canha (.254, 70, 16) figure to continue their development in the A's system. Another player to watch out for is 25-year old shortstop Marcus Semien. He played in the most games for Oakland last season, 155, and led the team with 26 stolen bases.
Best Oakland Athletics Betting Lines
For the most up-to-date lines on each A's game, check out the breakout tool below for the current lines and daily favorites.
This function will lay out each game Oakland will play during each season so touch base on a regular basis so you are always on top of each A's matchup.
Additionally, it should be noted that these lines might fluctuate prior to most game days so keep an eye out on whether there are some surprise additions on the disabled list for the A's.
Oakland Athletics Regular Season Schedule
Finding an overview of Oakland's season is a breeze with the breakout function below. This tool will outline each game the A's will play from spring until the fall.
To make the most of this function, make sure to see which teams the A's have had the most success against during the season and also which ones they have struggled with.
This option will also give you a broad idea of how the A's have been playing during the year and it is also wise to see if Oakland has been on a hot streak prior to their current matchup.
Oakland Athletics Regular Season Standings
For a convenient look at how the A's stack up to the rest of the AL, the breakout standings tool below will give you an overview of each team's record throughout the year.
This tool will be updated on a regular basis as the season progresses so make it a point to check this before laying money down on the A's.
With consecutive 90-loss seasons in 2015-16, it's more likely that the A's will lose another 90 games in 2017 than they will find a way to climb the ladder up the AL West standings.
Oakland Athletics betting tips
From 2013-15, A's starter Sonny Gray was among the best pitchers in baseball. He finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2015.
Then came 2016 and Gray's earned-run average soared to 5.69. Was it an off year, or is there something off in Gray's repertoire?
Davis Could Join Elite Company
Oakland's home ballpark is extremely pitcher friendly, so when Khris Davis of the A's clubbed 42 homers in 2016, good for third in the AL, it turned heads. If he does it again in 2017, it will turn Davis into a legend.
Just three players in franchise history - Jimmie Foxx, Mark McGwire, and Jose Canseco - have posted multiple 40-homer seasons while with that A's and only Foxx was able to assemble consecutive 40-homer campaigns.
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