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Considering a best bet for the Oakland A’s 2020 win total

Instead of bringing in free agents, the A’s have elected to promote internally. Will this plan work out for them to hit the over on their 2020 win total?

Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson celebrates with center fielder Mark Canha after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It was the same old story for the Oakland Athletics last season, as they exceed expectations during the regular season, only to get bounced early in the playoffs. The A’s are fortunate enough to have in-house options to replace a number of the players they lost, especially in their rotation. Luckily for them, they’re getting back the majority of their lineup, which ranked fifth in the league in home runs and ninth in RBI.

Additions

RP T.J. McFarland
C Austin Allen
SS Vimael Machin
OF Tony Kemp

Subtractions

SP Tanner Roark
SP Homer Bailey
SP Brett Anderson
RP Blake Treinen
RP Jharel Cotton
C Dustin Garneau
2B Jurickson Profar

Offseason news

Overall, the A’s were fairly quiet this offseason. They’ll have a new look rotation coming into the 2020 season but the replacement from the starters they lost is coming internally. As their current depth chart suggests, Sean Manaea will head their rotation followed by Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Mike Fiers and then either A.J. Puk or Chris Bassitt. No longer will this team feature Homer Bailey, Tanner Roark or Brett Anderson. Luzardo is the name to watch in this rotation, as he’s posted some really strong numbers in the minors, but health continues to be a concern. Montas also posted strong numbers during his 16 starts but his season was mostly derailed after serving an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Putting a full season together could do wonders for this rotation.

Tony Kemp was the biggest position player addition they made, acquiring him from the Cubs for first base prospect Alfonso Rivas. Kemp filled a hole the team dealt with all season long last year, a lack of left-handed bats. While it’ll help mix up the lineup a bit, it hardly moves the needle for the A’s as a whole, as Kemp isn’t the best hitter and brings very little power. In fact, during his four major league seasons, Kemp has an average ISO (isolated power - measures a batter’s raw power) of .107 For reference, the league average hovers around .140 while an elite player like Mike Trout ended last season at .353.

Best bet

Looking back at least year when this team won 97 games, you might be surprised to see their total set at just 89.5 for 2020. Easy over, right? I’m not sure about that. The American League West figures to be more competitive than it was last season. The A’s and Astros were the only teams to have a record over .500, as the Rangers, Angels and Mariners all had a .481 or less winning percentage. The Angels loaded up and the Rangers made some big improvements in their rotation. The A’s very much enjoyed playing divisional teams, boasting a 44-32 record. If you take the Astros out of the mix, they went 36-21. I don’t think it’s going to be that easy in 2020 with how some of these teams retooled their roster. I believe the A’s will be competitive and have a good season, I’m just thinking they land around the mid-80s in wins.

Oakland Athletics UNDER 89.5 wins

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