After the 2020 season, the A’s will come to a major crossroads. Extend Marcus Semien, or let him leave in free agency. Management won’t have to make that difficult decision until November, but that upcoming decision will linger over the club for the entire 2020 season. Fortunately the A’s are imbued with talent all throughout their roster that will help fans stop thinking about that dreaded deadline. The A’s consensus top three prospects, A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo, and Sean Murphy all arrived at the same time to help push the team over the wildcard hump as well as Sean Manaea’s return from injury help bolster a team that was already a 97 game winner. With the Astros in the division, it’ll be hard to reclaim the AL West crown, but this A’s team has the talent and ability to dethrone the reigning AL conference champions
You’d be hard pressed to find a front office that is more consistent and high quality than the A’s. Despite consistently having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, Billy Beane has always found a way to make his teams somewhat competitive. That doesn’t mean the A’s offseason is always super exciting. The A’s had a quiet offseason this year, not making any big splashes in the free agent or trade market. But the acquisitions that they did make were good additions to a team that fill out some roles that were sorely needed. Austin Allen, Tony Kemp, Vimael Machin, and T.J. McFarland all provide good assets to the A’s that I will go into more detail on later in this article. When it comes to on field management, Bob Melvin is about to enter his 10th season with the A’s, and now has the longest active managerial tenure with a single team. He is a great clubhouse figure that the players love, but his bullpen management can be questionable at times, often having flame throwing closer Liam Hendriks go multiple innings and pitch on short rest. Fortunately with the shortened season, overworking the bullpen shouldn’t be much of an issue. Nevertheless, the A’s management on and off the field is a definite strength
After spending 5 years as a backstop with the A’s, Josh Phegley was non tendered by Oakland in order to free up space for arguably the best catching prospect in baseball, Sean Murphy. Murphy, who would have been in the majors much sooner if he hadn’t had injured his left knee twice in the minors last year, dazzled in his short time in the majors near the end of 2019. In his 60 plate appearances, he slashed .245/.333/.566 with 4 home runs, a .370 wOBA with a 135 wRC+. His average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH was well above the major league average as well. His defense did leave something to be desired, having a -1.6 FRAA in his 130.2 games behind the plate. But considering he had a 14.5 FRAA in 560 innings at AA, I think it’s fair to say that he’ll improve as he gets more comfortable at the major league level. Austin Allen, acquired from the Padres in the Jurickson Profar trade, is one of two other catchers who will play backup to Murphy with the larger rosters. Allen has always been valued for his bat, slashing .330/.379/.663 with a .419 wOBA and a 143 wRC+ in his 298 plate appearances in the juiced up PCL, but he’s no slouch defensively. After struggling at it early in his career, he’s made great strides and now it can be considered a strength of his. In his 528 innings behind the plate at AAA, he had a 7.1 FRAA. Allen could also double as a DH if Khris Davis needs a break or if management wants to fit another left handed bat in the lineup. The other option for catcher? Switch hitter Jonah Heim. Despite only playing 35 games above Double A, the 24 year old made a big splash in 2019, catching (No pun intended) the eye of many. In his 208 plate appearances in Double A, he slashed .282/.370/.431 with 5 home runs for a .361 wOBA and 125 wRC+. He also showed great plate discipline, walking at a 11.5% rate while only striking out 13.0% of the time. And he’s not a bat first kind of catcher. In 367.1 innings behind the plate at Double A, he put up 7.7 FRAA. He is extremely skilled on both sides of the ball. Due to his injury history, a full 162 game season might’ve seen a more 50/50 split between Murphy and the other catchers, but a 60 game season means that Murphy will be able to get the lion’s share of innings behind the plate. If it weren’t for the cancellation of the All-Star game, the A’s might’ve had their first All-Star catcher since Stephen Vogt in 2015.
Marcus Semien was one of the best shortstops in baseball on both sides of the ball. He parlayed that high quality play into a third place MVP finish, and will be looking to repeat that season in 2020. Just maybe with a trophy to put on his mantle this time. In his 747 plate appearances Semien slashed .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, good for a .373 wOBA and a 137 wRC+. It was a breakout that, due to an increased walk rate, is very likely to be sustainable. Even in the rare occasion his bat falters, you can always count on his glove. After being one of the worst defenders in the league at shortstop, Semien was able to turn it around and is now one of the best fielders at his position. His 12 DRS in 2019 was 5th in the majors and his UZR/150 of 5.0 was 7th best in the MLB. It is Semien’s last year before hitting free agency, so it will be interesting to see if the A’s extend him. Even more so considering the A’s don’t have a high quality shortstop prospect ready to replace him. Robert Pauson and Nick Allen are talented players, but neither has reached Double A. Management also has to think about extending Matt Chapman and Matt Olson as well. It is an unenviable situation for the front office
Second base is most likely going to be the A’s worst position for the second year in a row. After shipping off Jurickson Profar for Austin Allen and prospects, it isn’t clear who will start at second base for the A’s in 2020. There are 5 potential players who could fill the position, and it looks like they will compete for the job in spring training. I already wrote about 3 of the candidates in detail previously (Article can be found here), so I’ll give a brief rundown on the players I already covered. Franklin Barreto was stellar in the minors in 2019, but struggled in his very short time in the majors. He is the youngest of the potential second base starters and shows a lot of potential. He is out of minor league options, which means that he can’t be sent down without being placed on waivers, which gives other teams the options to snag him and add him to their roster. Sheldon Neuse was also great in the minors and did perform decently in the majors, but it does not seem sustainable, though he did have good quality of contact. Defense can be a concern since he isn’t used to playing second base, having spent most of his time in the minors at third base. Jorge Mateo was mentioned in the article, but he was traded to the Padres for a PTBNL, so he is now obviously not a factor in the second base competition. But during the offseason the A’s added 2 more players that will compete to play second base. The left handed middle infielder Vimael Machin, and left handed utility man Tony Kemp. Machin, who was acquired by the A’s in a trade with the Phillies, has spent his entire career in the minor leagues to this point. Last year was a bit of a break out for him, slashing .294/.386/.403 with 6 home runs in 498 plate appearances, good enough for a .359 wOBA and 129 wRC+ at AA. He also walked more than he struck out, and is a fast runner. Even if he doesn’t get the job at second, he could find a way on the roster as a pinch hitter. He is a rule 5 draft pick, so he does have to be on the 40 man roster for the entire season, otherwise he’d be sent back to the Chicago Cubs (The team the Phillies drafted him from). Tony Kemp is another left handed player, and the only player out of the 5 with significant major league time. He slashed .212/.291/.380 with 8 home runs for a .285 wOBA and 77 wRC+. He really struggled against lefies, slashing .208/.291/.367 with a .282 wOBA and 75 wRC+. He was much better against righties in 2018, slashing .261/.357/.413 with a .337 wOBA and 116 wRC+ however. After strong spring training 1.0 performances, Bob Melvin and Billy Beane have indicated that a Barreto/Kemp platoon is in the cards, leaving Machin on the bench to play a utility role and Neuse in the taxi squad in case someone gets injured.
Matt Chapman is a superstar. Coming off of back to back 6 WAR seasons, his glove is the best in baseball and strong enough to carry him to strong seasons even in years his bat was unlucky, such as 2019. Chapman still had a good year at the plate, slashing .249/.342/.506 with a .354 wOBA and 125 wRC+, while also leading the A’s in home runs with 36. But not only did he have a BABIP of .270, rather unlucky for a fast runner and someone who hits the ball incredibly hard, he had 3 dreadful months in July, September and October, where he slashed .202/.308/.387 for a .300 wOBA and 89 wRC+ in those combined months. Even with those shortcomings, Chapman still finished 6th in MVP voting. Chapman has shown he can catch absolute fire during the start of the season, putting up a 149 wRC+ in the 30 games in March and April last year. If he can maintain that over a “full” 60 game season, he might have to move over his gold glove awards on his mantle piece for an MVP award. But he can also potentially crash and burn. Like I said, he is prone to cold streaks. In a shortened season, Chapman can be feast or famine.
Matt Olson might be one of the most underrated players in baseball. He is spectacular on both sides of the ball. Among qualified first basemen he finished 2019 first in DRS with 18 and sixth in wRC+ with 134. And that was after missing the first month of the season with a broken hamate bone. An injury that’s supposed to sap your power! Didn’t matter for Olson, as he finished 2019 with the 4th most home runs of any first baseman, with 36. With a full season and no power sapping injury, it is very possible he finishes with 45 or even 50 home runs. Unfortunately, with the shortened season, Olson is not going to reach those lofty marks. But don’t be surprised if he is able to hit 20 in a 60 game season. It goes without saying that the A’s have one of the best corners in baseball.
Ramon Laureano is a young stud. Despite dealing with a shin injury that kept him out for over a month and finishing with less than 500 PAs, he still managed to finish with 3.9 total fWAR. Most of which came from his high quality offense. He slashed .288/.340/.521 with 24 home runs for a .356 wOBA and a 126 wRC+. There are sustainability concerns, given how Laureano had a high BABIP of .342, but considering Laureano’s elite speed and quality of contact, it shouldn’t be too much of a worry. What is a concern is Laureano’s defense. Among all center fielders with at least 900 innings in the field, he ranked second worst in DRS, UZR and OAA. Laureano did spend some time at the end of the season playing right field, and he looked good there. In his 96.2 innings there, he was able to put up 2 OAA, 4 DRS and 3.7 UZR . If the A’s get fed up with Laureano’s poor defense in center, a change of position could be in the cards for him. Mark Canha had one of the most remarkable seasons ever by a rule 5 draft pick. In his 497 plate appearances, he slashed .273/.396/.517 with 26 home runs, resulting in a .386 wOBA and a 146 wRC+. There is concern for regression, as he did put up career bests in every offensive category. It is extremely unlikely he can replicate his jaw dropping season, but if he can maintain his high walk rate, it’s hard to see him not being one of the best hitters on the A’s. But he’s not just a hitter, Canha is also very good in the field. Not including his time in center field, he was worth 4 DRS, 1.8 UZR, and 4 OAA in 295.1 innings. Rather impressive considering all those stats are cumulative and not rate stats. Outside of center, he is a very good defender. Stephen Piscotty, unfortunately, spent most of his 2019 hurt with an ankle injury that limited him to just 17 games in the second half. An incredible shame, as he was starting to get used to the Coliseum’s outfield and play good defense to go along with his strong offense. In his 795 innings, he had 1 DRS, -0.9 UZR, and 1 OAA. He did take a step back offensively, only slashing .249/.309/.412 with 13 home runs in 393 plate appearances, enough for a .306 wOBA and 93 wRC+. That line is a bit deceiving, however. In his 89 plate appearances in the month of June, he had a very unlucky BABIP of .183. Had he not had that unlucky stretch, it is very likely he finishes the season with a 110 wRC+ or better. If Piscotty stays healthy the entire 2020 season, he could be used in a platoon with Mark Canha in right field, as Piscotty hits left handed batters better than Canha (Canha has a 102 wRC+ against lefties while Piscotty has a career 136 wRC+ against southpaws). Despite a gold glove nomination, Robbie Grossman had his worst season of his career. In his 482 plate appearances, he slashed .240/.334/.348 with 6 home home runs for a .299 wOBA and am 88 wRC+, well below his career averages. He is a switch hitter which does provide some lineup versatility for the A’s, but that’s pretty much all his value on offense. On defense, however, he was quite strong. Among players with at least 500 innings in left field, Grossman was third in DRS (Three), fourth in UZR (3.7) and tied for 6th in OAA (Zero). Not spectacular in the grand scheme of things, but he was certainly one of the best defenders in left field. If he can bounce back to his career average offense while still putting up good numbers on defense, he could be a solid contribution to a playoff team. If his bat doesn’t bounce back, Mark Canha might move to left field and take his place. Khris Davis had a rough 2019. Like the previously mentioned Piscotty, Davis dealt with injury for most of the year after a game in may at Pittsburgh where he slammed his ribs into the outfield wall. Prior to that game, Davis had a 104 wRC+, a far cry from his 132 mark in 2018, but this was due to a BABIP well below his career mark of .274. His ISO and BB% were still very close to his career averages, which means he was just unlucky. But after that game, Davis fell off a cliff. Despite his BABIP rising back to a .274 mark, his ISO had dropped to .134 and his OBP was a paltry .288. This wasn’t due to worse plate discipline, but because Davis quality of contact had dropped an incredible amount. In 2019, Davis went from an average exit velocity of 92.5 MPH to 90.1 MPH, a barrel percentage of 17.2% to 10.1%, and a hard hit percentage of 47.8% to 40.2%. If there is one bright spot, the advanced stats say Davis got unlucky. Now for his career Davis has underpreformed his xwOBA by about 20 points. Such is the nature of playing in the Coliseum. But Davis’ wOBA was about 30 points below his xwOBA. Given that his plate discipline wasn’t what caused the decline, a fully healthy and not unlucky Davis should go back to his mashing ways. Maybe not like how he was in 2018, but a return to 2017 or 2015 form would not be unexpected. The A’s outfield isn’t the best in baseball, but it’s still full of good players who can make an impact on a team looking to contend.
With Ben Zorbist retired, Chad Pinder is now the de facto utility man king in baseball. In his 773.2 innings in the field, Pinder played every position excluding pitcher and catcher. The majority of his time was spent in left and right field, where Pinder shines defensively. In his 518.2 innings in the corner outfield, he acrewd 12 DRS, 4.8 UZR, and 3 OAA. You could make a case that he is one of the best defensive outfielders. But being a utility man, he doesn’t just play the outfield. And while he has experience playing every position in the infield, he spends most of his time at second base. Unfortunately, unlike his outfield play, Pinder’s second base defense is not that good. In his 444.2 career innings at second base, he has -7 DRS, -3.9 UZR, and -9 OAA. Not good enough to be a starter, but helpful in a pinch. While his infield defense isn’t great, the fact that he is able to play anywhere in case provides great value. Like his infield defense, Pinder’s bat isn’t starter quality, but it’s very good for someone who will be coming off the bench. In his 370 plate appearances in 2019, Pinder slashed .240/.290/.416 with 13 home runs to put up a .298 wOBA and am 87 wRC+. Again, a low BABIP does come into play, bringing Pinder down slightly. His BABIP in 2019 was .284, a far cry from his career average of .299. His BABIP returning to the norm would help him provide even more value off the bench. With the 30 man roster size to start the season, both Austin Allen and Jonah Heim are gonna find a spot on the bench most likley. If they dom Allen will be more likely to be used as a pitch hitter as he is the better hitter, but both provide utility as Allen is a lefty and Heim is a switch hitter. Rounding out the bench will most likely be the other utility man I talked about, Vimael Machin. Even if he doesn’t win the starting second baseman spot, his left handed bat and positional versatility provide value off the bench. While not as impressive as a team like the Dodgers, the A’s bench will still have some good players on it
Jesus Luzardo would’ve made the major leagues much earlier if two injuries didn’t keep him out of a green and gold uniform. First, after looking like he was going to make the major league team out of spring training, he suffered a rotator cuff strain that kept him out of action for six weeks. Then, in July, after just 5 outings in AAA, he suffered a grade two lat strain that kept him out for another four weeks. But he eventually made it. In his 12 innings on a major league mound, Luzardo put up a 1.50 ERA and 2.63 FIP. He struck out 34.8% of batters he faced while only walking 6.5%. It’s hard to project Luzardo, since he only threw 55 total innings in 2019, but he has the raw stuff of an All-Star and the composure and mental game of a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately Luzardo contracted COVID-19 and will likely be unable to start by the time opening day roles around. He will probably find a spot in the bullpen and play a role like the one he played when he was called up in 2019. A.J. Puk was in a similar situation to Luzardo. He was set to make the majors in 2018 after a strong spring training outing, but tore his UCL and needed to get Tommy John surgery. After spending all of 2018 and most of 2019 recovering, he, like Luzardo, made his debut coming out of the bullpen for the A’s. In his 11.1 innings, he put up a 3.18 ERA, 3.39 FIP, struck out 27.7% of the batters he faced while walking 10.6% of the batters he faced . Just like Luzardo, it’s hard to project him because he too has a low inning count, just 36.2 innings among all levels in 2019. But the big lefty has been compared to Randy Johnson for good reason. He has a very high ceiling he hopefully can reach. He put up some great numbers in 2019, and that was without utilizing his curveball or change up very much. He may not be an ace right out of the gates, but he definitely has the potential to become one. Frankie Montas had a very promising start to 2019. The 26 year old added a splitter to his arsenal and raised his strikeout rate while lowering his walk rate. Then he was handed an 80 game suspension for PEDs and, aside from one game in September, missed the rest of the season. But in his 96 innings thrown, he was great. He had a 2.63 ERA, a 3.00 FIP, a 26.1% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate. What was most interesting was how his ground ball rate rate jumped to 49.4%, pairing well with the A’s strong infield defense. With an average launch angle of 9.7, Montas was made for the A’s. Sean Manaea was having a career year in 2018, setting personal bests in ERA, innings pitched, and walk rate. But near the end of August, just as the A’s were making their wildcard push, he was shut down for the rest of 2018 due to tendinitis in his rotator cuff. It was a long recovery period for Manaea, but he finally made his return to the major leagues in September of 2019, just in time to help the A’s with another playoff push. In the 29.2 innings he threw, Manaea compiled a 1.21 ERA, a 3.42 FIP, struck out 27.5% of the batters he faced while only walking 6.4%. Obviously that ERA is unsustainable and Manaea’s FIP shows that he over performed it by a lot, it was still good to see Manaea could preform despite his injury. What I think is the most important number to look at is that huge uptick in strikeout rate. Manaea has never been a big strikeout guy. His career best strikeout rate in a full season was 20.9%. The shortened 2020 season makes it more likely for Manaea to maintain his 2019 strikeout rate for a “full” season. If he can, he could follow in Kyle Hendricks footsteps and be dominant despite being a soft thrower. Mike Fiers became the de facto ace for the A’s last year just due to his ability to not get injured or suspended. He led the A’s in innings pitched, with 184.2 innings in total. In his time on the mound, he put up a 3.90 ERA, a 4.97 FIP, struck out 16.7% of the batters he faced while walking 7.0% of those he faced. Regression is coming for Fiers, especially if his strikeout percentage continues to drop like it has for the past 2 years. With Luzardo catching COVID-19, Chris Bassitt will likely be called upon to take his spot in the rotation. The tall right hander had a career year in 2019, the first in which he passed 100 innings in a season. With an 3.81 ERA and 4.40 FIP in 144 innings, Bassitt isn’t the ace that Luzardo has the potential to be, but he is still a talented and skilled pitcher. With the rather drastic difference between ERA and FIP, you might think that Bassitt over performed. But while Bassitt’s strikeout rate of 23.0% isn’t great, Bassitt is very good at preventing good contact. In 2019 he allowed an average xwOBA of .304 and an exit velocity of 87 MPH. Both very good. While Bassitt is a good pitcher, he will just be a stop gap until Luzardo is ready to pitch, but that isn’t a slight against Bassitt. He is still a reliable pitcher and someone the A’s will have to lean on. Even with Luzardo being out, the A’s will still have one of the better rotations in the MLB.
The A’s bullpen was historically great in 2018. Blake Treinen had one of the best seasons of all time by a closer. It only made sense for regression to happen, but I don’t think anybody expected him to regress so far. Treinen went from leading relievers in WAR to having negative WAR. Set up man Lou Trivino saw his ERA balloon by over two runs. But despite those two regressing hard, the A’s bullpen was still very good, thanks in part to two players having career years. Liam Hendriks had good years before 2019, most notably 2015 and 2016. But a new offseason training program allowed him to tap into strength he never fully utilized before. The change was visible immediately. His velocity improved and thanks to that improvement in velocity, saw a drastic improvement in his results. In the 85 innings he threw, he accrued a 1.80 ERA, a 1.87 FIP, struck out 37.4% of those who stepped in the box against him while only walking 6.3% of the batters he faced. All of which (aside from walk percentage) were career best numbers. Regression is most likely going to happen. It’s to be expected after such a career year. But it shouldn’t be drastic like Treinen’s was. Unlike Treinen, Hendriks hasn’t had control issues over his career that he can fall back into, and unlike Treinen in 2018, Hendriks didn’t overperform his xwOBA. But Hendriks wasn’t the only player that improved greatly in 2019. Yusmerio Petit became the A’s go to set up man. In his 83 innings pitched, he had a 2.71 ERA, a 3.59 FIP, struck out 23.1% of those he faced while only walking 3.3% of those he faced. It was the lowest walk percentage of his career, and a career best K/BB. I’m a lot more skeptical of Petit’s sucess than I am of Hendriks. Like I mentioned Petit did have a career low walk rate which he might not maintain, but he is also on the wrong side of 35 and did overperform his xwOBA of .271. Still good, but not elite. He can still be a valuable asset, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t have a season like 2019. Lou Trivino had an incredible rookie season in 2018. And for the most part, he repeated it in 2019, if you look at the advanced stats at least. Trivino’s quality of contact stats stayed mostly the same. In fact, his exit velocity, barrel% and xwOBAcon were all better than they were in 2018. But, unfortunately, a worse K%, BB% and BABIP led to him having an ERA over 5. Not good, obviously. But it won’t last. Even if Trivino doesn’t get his K% back to a level like what he had in 2018, his wOBA will not be as high as it was in 2019. He had a .333 wOBA but a .296 xwOBA. In fac,t I dare say Trivino is closer to repeating his 2018 season than his 2019 one. His cutter still is one of the best in baseball, so hopefully he can go back to his dominant self. Joakim Soria had a rather unlucky season in 2019. Despite having a 4.30 ERA in his 69 innings pitching, he had a 3.62 FIP. He also struck out 28.4% of those he faced while only walking 7.2% of batters who stepped into the box against him. It was a good season for him. His WHIP was his best in a season since 2014! So why was his ERA so high? He was one of the biggest victims of the new juiced ball. His HR/9 of 1.17 was the worst of his career. If the balls are no longer juiced in 2020, he should return to his dominant self. If the balls stay juiced, hopefully he can adjust and become a quality member of the A’s bullpen. J.B. Wendelken had an interesting 2019. He split time between the majors and AAA. The 26 year old threw 32.2 innings when he was in the MLB, and he was very good. He had a 3.58 ERA with a 2.94 FIP, and struck out batters 25.9% of the time while only issuing a free pass 6.9% of the time. One of Wendelken’s most valuable ability is his success at keeping the ball in the park. His HR/9 was a very impressive 0.55. His low home run rate isn’t due to a high ground ball rate, but instead is because Wendelken excels at getting weak contact. Opponents averaged an exit velocity of just 86 MPH against him and had just a .234 xwOBA. A full season in the majors would give Wendelken the opportunity to show just how dominant he can be. Jake Diekman was acquired in a trade with the Royals and is one of the more interesting players in the A’s bullpen. He is the only lefty aside from T.J. McFarland who is likely to get a significant amount of innings in the majors. He is the definition of effectively wild, as in his 62.0 innings he had a 4.65 ERA and a 3.55 FIP while walking batters 13.8% of the time. His success is mostly due to his high strikeout rate 29.8%, but he also generates a large amount of ground balls. Balls that are put in play against him end up on the ground 47.3% of the time, a statistic which certainly pairs well with the A’s defense. And his high ground ball rate also helps him limit home runs, having just a 0.44 HR/9. If he can get some more control, he will be deadly. If not, he’s still a really good pitcher. T.J. McFarland is a really compelling player to think about. He was picked up by the A’s after being placed on waivers after a disappointing 2019 where he had a 4.82 ERA and a 4.48 FIP while only striking out batters 14.0% of the time and walking them 8.0% of the time in his 56.0 innings. However, he does provide a unique skill set that the A’s can make good use out of. His ground ball rate of 61.1% was the 6th highest among all qualified relievers. He’s not gonna blow you away with strikeouts, but he can provide great value feeding the A’s top quality infield defense balls to turn into outs. I talked about Chris Bassitt when discussing the A”s starting rotation, but he is most likley going to spend most of his time coming out of the pen in 2020. Bassitt has said he doesn’t mind the change and is excited to embrace the new flex man role he has been given. In Bassitt’s 144 innings pitching he had a 3.81 ERA, a 4.40 FIP, struck out batters 23.0% of the time while only walking 7.7% of those who faced him. I’m tired of saying this but his BABIP was low, a mark of .267. It’ll be interesting to see how Bassitt performs in his new role. He might regress a bit, but his flexibility provides an immeasurable asset to a bullpen that was shakey at parts last year.
The nature of the shortened 2019 season makes predicting how a team’s season will go nearly impossible. But one thing is for sure. The A’s have the talent to be one of the best teams in the MLB. With players who are the best in the league at their position and others who are sorely under looked and undervalued, the A’s have the ability to not only make the playoffs but win it all this season. Billy Beane said he was building for this season, and it shows. This is one of the A’s best chances to win a world series in a long time. Hopefully they can take advantage.