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November 14, 2013

Fantasy Team Preview

Oakland Athletics

by Ben Carsley


The Athletics were the surprise winners of the AL West last year, relying on a power-heavy offense and good, young pitching to conquer preseason favorites in Texas and Los Angeles (of Anaheim).

Fantasy owners who took gambles on some Athletics players last year were largely rewarded, as some oft-injured contributors stayed healthy, while some relative unknowns emerged as reliable fantasy assets. Were said performances sustainable, or should fantasy players stay away from the offense-suppressing environment in Oakland? We take a look in this early preview.

Projected Lineup

  1. CF Coco Crisp
  2. SS Jed Lowrie
  3. 3B Josh Donaldson
  4. LF Yoenis Cespedes
  5. 1B Brandon Moss
  6. RF Josh Reddick
  7. DH Seth Smith
  8. 2B Alberto Callaspo
  9. C John Jaso

What really sticks out here is power, as the no. 3-6 hitters in the order are each capable of knocking 20-plus bombs during a time when home runs are at a premium. That’s not to say these players are perfect: Cespedes had a down year thanks in part to BABIP and in part to a regression in his approach, and Reddick struggled thanks to BABIP and injury. They finished as the 45th- and 83rd-most productive outfielders in standard 5x5 leagues, respectively, and both are moderate bounce back candidates for 2014. The two biggest surprises, of course, were Donaldson, who came out of nowhere to finish as fantasy’s fifth best third baseman, and Moss, who quietly finished as the 13th-best first baseman in fantasy. The key for the order’s top two hitters, Crisp and Lowrie, was health. Each player had over 575 PA, and each was quite productive. Smith, Callaspo and Jaso don’t belong on rosters in any but the deepest of leagues, although Jaso could be used as a second catcher in a pinch.

Projected Bench

There’s not much to see here in terms of infielders: Sogard doesn’t produce enough to be relevant in any fantasy leagues, and the recently signed Punto has never been a fantasy asset. Norris, however, is one of the more intriguing “backup” catchers in baseball, and he’d likely be capable of hitting 20-plus homers in a full season of work. Choice is another interesting name, as he should see plenty of time spelling Reddick and Smith. We’ll address him further below. There’s a possibility that Scott Sizemore, Nate Freiman, or Daric Barton could break with the MLB club as well, and they are also irrelevant.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/14)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (11/13)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (11/15)
Next Article >>
Premium Article One Move: National Lea... (11/14)

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