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MLB Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics Must Worry About Sophomore Slump From Jarrod Parker

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 season saw a young group of pitchers once again take the Oakland Athletics to the postseason led by Jarrod Parker. Parker comes into the 2013 season looking to find a way to match what he did last season, and I’m not sure if that is going to happen.

Parker finished 13-8 last season with a 3.47 ERA in 181 innings during his first full year in the MLB. I have to think that the quality of players in the American League West has improved even more, and that is going to hurt his numbers this season.

The righty is going to have to face better lineups from the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, while the Texas Rangers are still very powerful. Parker’s lone reprieve may come when the Athletics have to face the Houston Astros. He has always been very highly regarded after being a first-round pick six years ago and while he did fulfill a lot of that talent last season, there were some cracks in the armor.

The postseason saw Parker lose both of his starts in the divisional series while giving up seven runs in 13 innings. He did win his last four regular season starts and six of his last seven decisions, though.

I think that Parker is going to experience a sophomore slump during the 2013 season, however. The 24-year old will likely end up winning only 11 or 12 games, and probably will finish with a .500 record as Oakland falls back to near the .500 mark themselves. I believe in the talent that Parker has, but I think it will be the 2014 season before we see it on a consistent basis.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.