Oakland A’s spring outlook

Around this time last year I boldly stated the A’s were a sleeper team to make an impact in the 2017 American League teams such as the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. Obviously, many A’s fans soon found that didn’t turn out to be the case.

     The Oakland Athletics finished the season in last place in the American League Western division with a record of 75-87— the third worst record in all of Major League Baseball. However, the A’s did show some life toward the end of the season as they finished on a 17-9 run that saw an emergence of young players who are here to make an impact in Oakland.

     Prospects such as Matt Olson , Matt Chapman, Franklin Barreto and Brentwood’s own, Paul Blackburn, who burst onto the scene last year, all bring a ray of hope to the green and gold fans in Oakland, as their young squad looks to take on the tough American League in 2018.

     One of bright spots towards the end of the season was first baseman Olson who, in his final month, hit 21 homers, the most by any rookie in a single month. Now baseball analysts are saying that Olson is the next big thing to hit Major League Baseball and has the potential to hit 40 home runs and drive in more than 100 runs for the A’s in the coming years.

     It should be exciting for A’s fans to see the growth of Olson and the other players who brought light to a dark situation for the A’s last year.

     One prospect who shouldn’t be overlooked this year for the A’s, is fireball left-hander A.J. Puk. The southpaw was drafted in the first round by the A’s in 2016 and has impressed many baseball fans since, with his incredible fastballs that can hit upward of 95 to 97 mph. He is now drawing comparisons to recent Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson, with his tall stature on the mound and the intimidating presence he brings every time he takes the bump to begin the game. Fans should be excited as the youth movement is beginning to pay off.

     For A’s fans patience has been hard since the trading of Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson, and Sean Doolittle, but with this young group of players it should be fun to watch baseball in Oakland for years to come.

     One of the keys for the A’s to be successful this season is for their young squad to keep growing as they play their first 162 game-season together as a whole team. The Oakland A’s have the youngest starting rotation in Major League Baseball as well as the youngest line-up, but it’s both a rotation and a line-up that can be electric as the season goes on.

     With a starting line-up that features Khris Davis, who comes off another 40-homerun season, the A’s just need to find ways to score runs and get outs as the season goes on, and they should see more success than they had last season.

     By no means does this suggest the A’s will be playoff contenders right away— it took the Houston Astros seven years to put all the pieces together with their youth movement, and now they are World Series Champions. For the A’s there will still be rough patches, but this is a team that will not be easy to put down. They’re young, hungry, and ready to showcase what the green and gold are capable of for years to come.

     In addition, they’re the only team in Oakland not chasing relocation to other cities like the Warriors and the Raiders. Oakland fans be ready, be excited, but also be patient, because the green and gold are on the rise, and sooner or later we will see the them sitting back on top.