Oakland A's Season O/U Wins 74
General manager Billy Beane’s "Moneyball” approach continues to age and given his organization’s lack resources and the emergence of more savvy front offices, the Oakland A’s have bottomed out the last two seasons with back-to-back sub-70 win showings. They didn’t make much of any noise during the offseason and appear headed for another rebuilding type campaign.
The Athletics were one of the worst defensive teams in MLB last year and ranked in the bottom five in team ERA. The offense was also abysmal; so much so that the A’s finished 32-45 O/U at home despite posting a 4.50 team ERA. Overall, Oakland had over a -100 run differential last season; every bit as bad as their 69-93 record.
After back-to-back subpar seasons, how did they respond? By shipping their most potent hitter, Danny Valencia, to the Seattle Mariners for you guessed it, a minor league prospect. This is an important factor when handicapping MLB season wins: Is the team primed to be a “seller” or a “buyer” prior to the trade deadline? For Oakland, it’s likely the latter. Sonny Gray is an obvious trade piece even though he may start the season on the disabled list. Keeping Gray healthy by perhaps limited his innings is key in order for Oakland to get as much value as possible in return. Having Gray, the team’s only current plus starter, for 130 innings as oppose to 200+ could very well make the difference between an 80-win team or 69-win team like last year when he tossed only 117 IP.
The American League West possesses three teams with postseason aspirations in Seattle, Texas, and Houston. All three teams are lined 85.5 wins or higher. And Los Angeles is projected to be near the .500 mark based on preseason markets. That leaves the A’s in a very tough position to contend. Reports indicate that the farm system is on the upswing and help is on the way. It’s unlikely however that the impact is felt here in 2017. Play the A’s under 74 wins.