AL West Featured MLB Team News — 31 March 2010

2009 regular season record: 75-87, Fourth place, AL West

Major Offseason Acquisitions: Ben Sheets (FA), Coco Crisp (KC), Jake Fox (CHC), Kevin Kouzmanoff (SD)

Major Offseason Losses: Adam Kennedy (WAS), Bobby Crosby (PIT), Dana Eveland (TOR)

Projected Lineup (2009 stats):

1. CF-Coco Crisp (.228 BA, .336 OBP, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 13 SB)

2. LF-Rajai Davis (.305 BA, .360 OBP, 3 HR, 48 RBI, 41 SB)

3. RF-Ryan Sweeney (.293 BA, .348 OBP, 6 HR, 53 RBI)

4. DH-Jack Cust (.240 BA, .356 OBP, 25 HR, 70 RBI)

5. C-Kurt Suzuki (.274 BA, .313 OBP, 15 HR, 88 RBI)

6. 3B-Kevin Kouzmanoff (.255 BA, .302 OBP, 18 HR, 88 RBI)

7. 1B-Daric Barton (.269 BA, .372 OBP, 3 HR, 24 RBI)

8. 2B-Mark Ellis (.263 BA, .305 OBP, 10 HR, 61 RBI)

9. SS-Cliff Pennington (.279 OBP, .342 OBP, 4 HR, 21 RBI)

Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):

1. RHP Ben Sheets (’08 stats: 13-9, 3.09 ERA, 198.1 IP)

2. RHP Justin Duchscherer (’08 stats: 10-8, 2.54 ERA, 141.2 IP)

3. LHP Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06 ERA, 175.1 IP)

4. LHP Dallas Braden (8-9, 3.89 ERA, 136.2 IP)

5. RHP Trevor Cahill (10-13, 4.63 ERA, 178.2 IP)

Closer: RHP Andrew Bailey (1.84 ERA, 26 saves)

2010 outlook: The A’s may have finished in last place in ’09, but 75 wins is nothing to sneeze at.

Top-to-bottom, they are one of the youngest teams in all of baseball, and their lineup looks like one that will play more like a National League team.

They’re not overly-powerful in the middle of the order, but they do have solid speed all-around, led by Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis.

Crisp stole 13 bases in just 49 games last season, and Davis stole 41.

Young Kurt Suzuki broke out at the plate in 2009, racking up 88 RBI while hitting a decent .274.

More will be expected of him this season, and, at just 26, there’s plenty of room for further growth.

The pitching staff is an interesting mix, as neither of the top two starters pitched a single inning in ’09.

When healthy, Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer have been two of the more consistent pitchers in the league, but remaining healthy has been a concern.

Sheets, who is coming off of elbow surgery, was horrible at the beginning of spring training, but has settled things down a bit as time has gone on.

He’s slated to be the Opening Day starter, and he’ll be leading a very inexperienced staff.

Closer Andrew Bailey was named the AL Rookie of the Year in 2009, and Oakland has high expectations for Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Dallas Braden.

All four players showed plenty of promise last season, and they should continue to improve in 2010.

2010 Prediction: 77-85, Fourth place, AL West

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