In terms of fantasy potential, there really isn’t much to like on the Oakland A’s. Their starting pitching consists of either journeymen or youngsters, while their offense contains a bunch of guys who either don’t hit for much power or steal any bases. It’s not a very good team in terms of picking guys up for your fantasy ballclub. Let’s see if we can find anything worthwhile, however.
It doesn’t look the A’s have anyone who deserves to go in the first three or four rounds of mixed league drafts.
CL Huston Street – His ascent to the Major Leagues came rather quickly, and he has not looked back since then. The former Texas closer had 37 saves last year, but somehow blew 11 opportunities. The A’s have Justin Duchscherer waiting in the wings, but Street will have the opps earlier next season. We’ll see something between his rookie season (1.72 ERA over 78.1 IP) and his sophomore year (3.31 ERA over 70.2 IP). Pencil him in for 38 saves and a 2.70 ERA, but that’s just one man’s guess.
1B Nick Swisher – In his second full season, Swisher has begun to solidify himself as one of the best power bats available. His 35 homers and 95 RBIs certainly are gaudy, even for the first base position. While there are definite others who belong on your team before him, Swisher can do a fine job as a CI on your team, especially as he continues to mature. Expect similar power numbers next year, but with a much-needed boost in batting average.
C Mike Piazza – Even though he’ll be primarily a DH this year, Piazza still qualifies as a catcher this year. And when we look at his .283/22/68 season, we can say top 7 catcher in the Major Leagues. I bet his move to the DH role will give him a .280/25/90 year, and that’s definitely something you want on your team. He’s Victor Martinez with a little less batting average and a lot further back draft position.
SP Danny Haren – This right hander is turning into a Mark Buerhle type. Pre 2006, of course. If Haren continues to pitch as he had in recent seasons - - serviceable ERA, 14 or so wins, and a fair amount of strikeouts - - he may fulfill that comparison. This year, he’ll be 27, which is the beginning of his prime. Let’s keep our eyes peeled.
RF Milton Bradley – If Bradley can stay healthy all season, we could see a .280/25-30/100 year from him. He’s that talented. However, for whatever reason, he’s only gotten more than 400 ABs once. Because of his injured and angry past, let’s write Bradley down for a .270 average with 15-20 homers and 60 RBIs. Because of the 10 or so SBs he’d get you, this outfielder is worth owning in AL Only leagues.
LF Bobby Kielty – Kielty is a similar player in terms of Bradley: if he can play every day, expect a .270 batting average, but with 20 homers and 70 RBIs. These are decent numbers, but he doesn’t steal bases. He could be a valuable option to ride on hot streaks, but not even worth a last-round pick in your fantasy draft.
2B Mark Ellis – The only reason he’s listed here is because of his position, second base. It’s such a weak spot, that only catchers are harder to find. Anyway, Ellis hit .249/11/52 last year. What, did you think he’d repeat that .316 figure again? No way! But we can expect .270 with 12 homers, and that might have some value in a very deep, AL Only league where your starter gets injured.
SP Joe Blanton – After a very good 2005, this plump right hander took a step backwards. His freshman campaign had him tossing 201.1 innings with a 3.53 ERA; that last number jumped 1.49 runs in 2006. Oddly enough, he managed to win 16 games -- or more than his freshman year. I’ll bet that he’s closer to his 2006 figures in 2007, but he should be a decent filler guy for the final portions of your fantasy rotation or a spot starter.
SS Bobby Crosby – This may be Crosby’s last chance to coast in as being the A’s starting shortstop once players head down to Spring Training. He hasn’t been healthy but once in his four seasons in the Major Leagues, and that has got to be killing A’s fans. In his only full year, Crosby hit 22 homers, albeit with a .239 average. If he can stay healthy, there’s potential for a .260 batting average and Miguel Tejada power numbers.
3B Eric Chavez – It’s a shame what happened to this lefty with the sweet swing. Chavez put up five consecutive seasons (2000 through 2004) in which he was a very relevant fantasy factor. Now, he’s striking out more often, which has caused a decline in his on base percentage. The big question surrounding Chavez is whether or not he’ll reclaim his former glory or did he fizzle out once he got that big contract extension? He finished with an Adrian Beltre-type year last season.
SP Rich Harden – Without question, Harden could be a fantasy ace, if he managed to stay healthy. However, he hasn’t managed to stay healthy enough to make more than 31 starts in his career. If he comes back ready to pitch and stays on the mound, he’s one of the top 10 pitchers in fantasy; if he misses a few starts (and when he misses starts, he really misses a few), then he’s no better than Kelvim Escobar.
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