Predicting Oakland Athletics' 2016 Opening Day Lineup

By Brad Berreman

The Oakland Athletics went just 68-94 in 2015, which was good for a last-place finish in the American League West. Any chance of improvement this year will have to mostly come internally, with no big-name acquisitions during the offseason. When the A’s take the field on opening day, here is what Bob Melvin‘s lineup card should look like.

Predicting Oakland Athletics\' 2016 Opening Day Lineup
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1. CF Billy Burns

CF Billy Burns Credit: Getty Images
Burns' speed (26 stolen bases in 2015) and average (.294 last season) plays well at the top of the batting order, so he's Oakland's leadoff guy until further notice.

1. CF Billy Burns

Burns' speed (26 stolen bases in 2015) and average (.294 last season) plays well at the top of the batting order, so he's Oakland's leadoff guy until further notice.

2. 2B Jed Lowrie

2B Jed Lowrie Credit: Getty Images
After one injury-marred season with the Houston Astros, Oakland re-acquired Lowrie during the offseason. He'll step in at second base, with some pop to offer (15 home runs with the A's in 2013) from the two-hole on opening day.

2. 2B Jed Lowrie

After one injury-marred season with the Houston Astros, Oakland re-acquired Lowrie during the offseason. He'll step in at second base, with some pop to offer (15 home runs with the A's in 2013) from the two-hole on opening day.

3. RF Josh Reddick

RF Josh Reddick Credit: Ronald Martinez Getty Images
Reddick led Oakland in home runs (20), RBIs (77) and slugging percentage (.449) last year, so he fits perfectly in the No. 3 spot in the order.

3. RF Josh Reddick

Reddick led Oakland in home runs (20), RBIs (77) and slugging percentage (.449) last year, so he fits perfectly in the No. 3 spot in the order.

4. LF Khris Davis

LF Khris Davis Credit: Justin K. Aller Getty Images
Davis was acquired from Milwaukee in February, and he'll add some pop (27 home runs over 392 at-bats in 2015) to the Oakland lineup. He's a cleanup hitter for sure.

4. LF Khris Davis

Davis was acquired from Milwaukee in February, and he'll add some pop (27 home runs over 392 at-bats in 2015) to the Oakland lineup. He's a cleanup hitter for sure.

5. C Stephen Vogt

C Stephen Vogt Credit: Norm Hall Getty Images
Vogt is working his way back to full strength after offseason elbow surgery, but I'm putting him behind the plate on opening day. His 2015 production (18 home runs and 71 RBIs) makes Vogt a solid No. 5 hitter.

5. C Stephen Vogt

Vogt is working his way back to full strength after offseason elbow surgery, but I'm putting him behind the plate on opening day. His 2015 production (18 home runs and 71 RBIs) makes Vogt a solid No. 5 hitter.

6. DH Billy Butler

DH Billy Butler Credit: Getty Images
Butler had a down 2015 campaign, with a .251 batting average, 15 home runs and 65 RBIs over 538 at-bats. As he looks to rebound, the No. 7 spot in the order is where I think he'll be on opening day.

6. DH Billy Butler

Butler had a down 2015 campaign, with a .251 batting average, 15 home runs and 65 RBIs over 538 at-bats. As he looks to rebound, the No. 7 spot in the order is where I think he'll be on opening day.

7. 3B Danny Valencia

3B Danny Valencia Credit: Danny Valencia
Valencia hit 11 home runs over 183 at-bats with Oakland last year, and for the season as a whole he had a higher OPS against right-handers (.881) than lefties (.834). He could be higher in the lineup fairly quickly, but I'll put Valencia in the No. 8 spot for opening day.

7. 3B Danny Valencia

Valencia hit 11 home runs over 183 at-bats with Oakland last year, and for the season as a whole he had a higher OPS against right-handers (.881) than lefties (.834). He could be higher in the lineup fairly quickly, but I'll put Valencia in the No. 8 spot for opening day.

8. 1B Yonder Alonso

1B Yonder Alonso Credit: Getty Images
Right-handed hitting Mark Canha is also an option here against a tough lefty like Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox, but his numbers actually were not good against left-handers last year (.221 average, three home runs). So I'm going with Alonso here, mostly by default.

8. 1B Yonder Alonso

Right-handed hitting Mark Canha is also an option here against a tough lefty like Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox, but his numbers actually were not good against left-handers last year (.221 average, three home runs). So I'm going with Alonso here, mostly by default.

9. SS Marcus Semien

SS Marcus Semien Credit: Getty Images
Semien's defense at shortstop needs work (major league-high 35 errors in 2015), but he did show promise offensively (15 home runs and 11 stolen bases last year). A higher lineup spot could come later in the season, but with Sale on the bump Semien should hit ninth on opening day.

9. SS Marcus Semien

Semien's defense at shortstop needs work (major league-high 35 errors in 2015), but he did show promise offensively (15 home runs and 11 stolen bases last year). A higher lineup spot could come later in the season, but with Sale on the bump Semien should hit ninth on opening day.

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