The Oakland Athletics are a team to keep an eye on in 2020. With their blend of solid defense and young upside, they could be both a fun team to watch and one that could excel in the sprint that is a 60-game season. Regardless, from a betting standpoint, there could be a lot of upside, so check out their betting odds.
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Like most years, though, the Athletics will rely on maximizing their roster despite the struggles of financial constraints imposed by a smaller budget.
Oakland Athletics 2019 Results
The Oakland Athletics finished the regular season with a 97-65 record, tying for the fifth-best in all of baseball. Still, they were 10 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West.
Overall, they were solid both at home (52-29) and on the road (45-36). They had a run differential of +165 (scoring 845 versus giving up 680). All in all, they were able to get it done on both sides of the diamond.
Their remarkable season led them to a playoff berth as they played host to the Tampa Bay Rays in a Wild-Card Game at Oakland Coliseum. Unfortunately, they could not take care of business, losing 5-1.
The biggest blow in the Wild-Card Game came in the form of the long ball. Oakland gave up four home runs. It was not just the pitching that struggled, though, as Oakland’s offense went stagnant, failing to record a single extra-base hit.
Despite the tough postseason loss, it served as another building block for the Athletics as they continually seem to put together a solid roster despite limitations in spending.
Oakland Athletics Key Additions
One of the big additions comes in the form of a player who was already on the roster. Starting pitcher Sean Manaea was expected to miss all of last season after having arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder. However, he was able to return for five starts, going 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep it going as he got roughed up in the Wild-Card Game, but the Oakland Athletics are looking forward to a full season of him back on the bump at or near the top of their rotation.
Another player who will return to the top of the rotation is Frankie Montas. The hard-throwing righty went 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 games last season, but was suspended for the rest of the season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Aside from these two, there isn’t a whole lot that the Athletics did. In a minor deal, the Athletics sent a low-level prospect to the Cubs in exchange for Tony Kemp, who will likely get opportunities at second base, although he can also play in the outfield.
Last season, for both Houston and Chicago, Kemp hit .212/.291/.380 with eight home runs, 29 runs batted in and 31 runs scored. While he is not going to set the lineup ablaze, he does give Oakland another left-handed-hitting option to likely platoon at second base.
Just like the Athletics did not bring notable acquisitions, they did not really lose many, either. The notable players absent from the roster are Blake Treinen and Jurickson Profar.
Treinen is the best illustration of the volatility of relievers in baseball. In 2018, Treinen was almost unhittable, going 9-2 with 38 saves, while also posting a 0.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and striking out 100 in 80 1/3 innings pitched.
Last season, though, was a completely different story. He went 6-5 with 16 saves, but he sported a 4.91 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. He also struck out just 59 in 58 2/3 innings pitched.
Needless to say, he did not perform to his pay, and the Athletics ultimately non-tendered him to save some payroll.
Since his cut, Treinen has been picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers and is expected to be a part of their bullpen.
Another loss was second baseman Profar. After hitting .218/.301/.410 with 20 home runs, 67 runs batted in and 65 runs scored in 459 at-bats, the Athletics dealt him to the San Diego Padres.
While young, the Oakland Athletics’ starting rotation could be solid for years to come. The aforementioned Montas and Manaea will likely be the 1-2 punch atop the starting rotation for the Athletics.
After those two, it will go to veteran Mike Fiers, who Oakland hopes can continue his resurgent 2019.
The last two spots, though, are the most interesting. These two spots will likely be held by youngsters A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo.
Puk comes into this season after getting his feet wet a little in the big leagues last year. In 10 games, he went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and struck out 13 over 11 1/3 innings pitched.
Despite working as a reliever last year, he will come in as a starter in 2020 and, especially with the shortened season, will likely not have any restrictions on him.
Another youngster that will round out the rotation is Jesus Luzardo. Like Puk, Luzardo got a taste of the big leagues as a reliever last year. In six games, he had a 1.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and struck out 16 over 12 innings pitched. He also earned two saves in the process.
Luzardo actually came into spring training 2.0 testing positive for the coronavirus; however, he has since had two negative tests and has rejoined the team.
He is good to go for the regular season. The A’sl have a rotation that is not only dangerous but one that could be a true weapon for the foreseeable future.
For the most part, the Oakland Athletics’ lineup should return mostly intact. The projected lineup will likely look something like: SS Marcus Semien, LF Robbie Grossman (or Mark Canha), 3B Matt Chapman, DH Khris Davis, 1B Matt Olson, RF Stephen Piscotty, CF Ramon Laureano, 2B Tony Kemp, C Sean Murphy.
At the leadoff position, shortstop Marcus Semien was the catalyst. In fact, he had such a strong season that he finished third in the American League MVP voting (behind winner Mike Trout and runner-up Alex Bregman).
Last year, Semien hit .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 92 runs batted in, 123 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 657 at-bats. In fact, it was good for an 8.9 WAR (wins above replacement).
Another major piece to their offense is first baseman Matt Olson, who was limited to 127 because of a broken hamate bone. He made the most of that time. In 483 at-bats, he hit .267/.351/.545 with 36 home runs, 91 runs batted in and 73 runs scored.
Stephen Piscotty comes in having dealt with the frustrations of nagging injuries in 2019. He was able to get 357 at-bats, hitting .249/.309/.412 with 13 home runs, 44 runs batted in and 46 runs scored. At age 29, he is still young enough to contribute to an already solid lineup.
One last player to keep your eye on is outfielder Ramon Laureano. Every year he seems to get better. In 434 at-bats, he hit .288/.340/.521 with 24 home runs, 67 runs batted in, 79 runs scored and 13 stolen bases.
If those four can have productive seasons, along with Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and others, the Athletics lineup can certainly be dangerous.
Three Key Players
Oakland needs Khris Davis to bounce back. The slugging outfielder/designated hitter was the model of consistency from 2015-18. In that time, he hit exactly .247 every year while slugging at least 42 home runs in three of the four years.
Last season, though, Davis hit just .220/.293/.387 with 23 home runs, 73 runs batted in and 61 runs scored. Davis will likely be hitting in the middle of the lineup, and the Athletics need his thump again this year.
Pitcher Mike Fiers has been up and down, but he was sensational last season. He went 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and struck out 126 in 184 2/3 innings. Slotted into the middle of the rotation, the Athletics need a repeat. Fiers has been in the news as the main whistleblower in the Astros’ cheating scandal, so it will be interesting to see if a bit of extra attention makes a difference.
Lastly, teams need their stars to act like stars, and one of Oakland’s brightest stars is third baseman Matt Chapman, who hit .249/.342/.506 with 36 home runs, 91 runs batted in and 102 runs scored. He also showed why he is widely considered one of, if not the best defensive third basemen in the game.
Oakland Athletics Schedule Breakdown
The Athletics will play 40 games against their AL West rivals (Astros, Rangers, Mariners, Angels) while playing 20 games against the NL West (Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres, Giants, Rockies).
For Oakland, that means that the majority of their games will be played in California because, in addition to their home games, it will face the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
As found in the sportsbook, the Athletics currently are +1200 when looking at AL pennant odds. Furthermore, they are seen as a bit more of a longshot in the World Series odds, as BetUS.com currently has their moneyline at +2400 to win it all.
In terms of MLB regular-season wins odds, the over/under is set at 33.5 games for the Oakland Athletics. Again, if you are new to sports betting, please check out our MLB betting hub page to get started.
While the division-rival Houston Astros may have more star power, the Oakland Athletics show every year that they are capable of contending for a division title. If they can get off to a hot start, they have the best chance within the division of dethroning the Astros and claiming the AL West.