The Oakland Athletics have had an active off-season thus far. However, most high profile additions and departures have been pitchers, so next season’s batting order might not look too different from last year’s. Nick Punto and Craig Gentry are new acquisitions that could make a difference early in the season, but the Opening Day lineup will not have changed much from last year.
Potential Opening Day Lineup
CF Coco Crisp, SS Jed Lowrie, 3B Josh Donaldson, LF Yoenis Cespedes, 1B Brandon Moss, RF Josh Reddick, DH Alberto Callaspo, C John Jaso, 2B Eric Sogard
Obviously, this isn’t a set lineup by any means.
There doesn’t seem to be much question about who will start in the outfield. However, that is not the case for the infield, especially at second base. Sogard, Callaspo, and Nick Punto will all compete for the starting spot in Spring Training, though one of them, most likely Callaspo, could end up at DH. Designated Hitter is also very difficult to predict. It will most likely come down to Spring Training performances as well. Though it is unlikely,it is possible that someone like Nate Freiman could snag the opening day DH position with a stellar Spring Training performance. It also remains to be seen if Bob Melvin has enough confidence to start John Jaso after such a long absence. If Jaso sits on opening day, Derek Norris would slide into the catcher position.
With Bob Melvin at manager, one can’t really predict an everyday lineup. Sure, people like Cespedes, Donaldson, and Lowrie will be everyday players, but Melvin’s platoon-like system will mix up the rest of the batting order.
I can easily see Melvin putting in a different infield every other game. I can see Jed Lowrie moving to DH for an extended period of time to get Sogard, the better fielder of the two, at shortstop. If Donaldson needs a break at third base, either Punto or Callaspo could step in. Craig Gentry will see a lot of action at all outfield positions when the starters need a day off.
Prospects must also be taken into consideration. If Billy Burns keeps up the work he started last season, he could very well get a stint in the majors. It is also possible that Addison Russell gets called up to the majors, although that would most likely come toward the end of the year. These young players would also need to be worked into the rotation.
Once again, the Athletics seem like a team that is ready to take on the monster that is the MLB regular season. With their depth, they will be able to keep hitters fresh and make a playoff run.