Predicting the Oakland Athletics' Opening Day 25-Man Roster
The Oakland Athletics enter the 2014 season in a favorable position on the heels of back-to-back AL West divisional crowns. The A’s are loaded with an arsenal of solid starting pitchers and a lineup capable of bashing home runs. The A’s are talented in each facet of the game. They have the personnel needed to support their starting staff, bullpen and everyday lineup if injuries occur. The following slideshow predicts the Athletics’ 25-man roster:
Jarrod Parker (RHP), Scott Kazmir (LHP), A.J. Griffin (RHP), Sonny Gray (RHP), Tommy Milone (LHP)
The battle for the fifth spot in the Athletics’ rotation has been disappointing in camp, as Milone, Dan Straily and Drew Pomeranz have all struggled immensely. Milone supplies the most value for the A’s simply because he’s a southpaw. The Athletics would enter the regular season with a more balanced rotation with Milone securing the back end.
Jim Johnson (RHP), Sean Doolittle (LHP), Luke Gregerson (RHP), Evan Scribner (RHP), Dan Otero (RHP), Fernando Abad (LHP), Josh Lindblom (RHP)
The Athletics are expected to begin the regular season with a seven-man bullpen. The back end in the eighth and ninth innings are strong, featuring a combination of setup men Doolittle and Gregerson, and closer Johnson. Things get dicier in middle relief for the A’s, though.
Derek Norris, John Jaso, Stephen Vogt
Inconsistent first baseman Daric Barton began the spring on the bubble to make the Opening Day 25-man roster, but recently suffered a hamstring injury that derailed his chances of reclaiming a spot on the team. Barton’s injury has created an opportunity for Vogt, who has been unstoppable at the dish in camp. He owns a .476 batting average with 10 hits, driving-in five runs, in 21 official at-bats.
Brandon Moss (1B), Eric Sogard (2B), Nick Punto (2B), Jed Lowrie (SS), Josh Donaldson (3B), Alberto Callaspo (UTL)
The Athletics’ Opening Day infield isn’t etched in stone, but it’s about as close to concrete as it could be midway through Spring Training. Oakland’s infield features an appropriate balance of energetic youth and veteran presence. Sogard and Lowrie have emerged as a dynamic double-play tandem, and have been impressive in camp.
Yoenis Cespedes (LF), Coco Crisp (CF), Josh Reddick (RF), Michael Taylor (OF)
The Athletics’ previously projected outfield has been shaken-up due to Craig Gentry succumbing to lingering lower back pain. It remains unknown whether Gentry will be ready for Opening Day, granting an opportunity to Taylor, who has been solid in Spring Training. Taylor owns a .353 batting average with 12 hits, including two home runs, in 34 at-bats in camp.