Mar 092011

Major Changes

They replaced their entire outfield, plus their DH, signing Matsui and Crisp, and trading for DeJesus and Willingham. They signed Rich Harden (round 2) to replace Mazzaro in the rotation, and signed Fuentes and Balfour to bolster the bullpen. While not perhaps the off-season that they envisioned, the A’s were in fact quite active this winter.

Hitters 2010 D 2011 D+ (+2.5 WAR)

It appears that the changes are an upgrade. Even assuming serious regression from Barton, not a given since he is still very young and therefore growing (in skills), the offense looks to be better – it needs to be, as it was one of the truly bad ones in 2010. DeJesus is a major upgrade (and big money) in left, and Crisp and Abreu should be at least as good as Davis and Cust were last year. I may, in fact, have underestimated the impact of the changes – if Pennington and Barton are as good as they looked last year, or take a step forward, this offense could be ML average, which would be a huge improvement.

Rotation 2010 A+ 2011 A+

As good as the A’s rotation was in 2010, there is no reason not to believe it is going to be better. Harden is a serious upgrade on Mazzaro, and Mazzaro was the only hole. Yes, the pitchers are young, and young pitchers can break your heart, but we are not projecting any of them on a single good season. Look out, AL!

Bullpen 2010 B- 2011 B

And the bullpen appears solid, as well. Fuentes and Balfour are both solid, if unspectacular, and Bailey is the real deal.

Overall 2010 C 2011 B (88-74)

Maybe I will be like the fan projections at FanGraphs, and project the majors to win 50 more games than they lose, but I see the A’s as quite an improved team. Time will tell, but Billy Beane may have done it again after a hiatus.

Charts

Player Position 2011 2010
Kurt Suzuki Catcher 2.4 1.2
Daric Barton First Base 2.9 4.4
Mark Ellis Second Base 2.0 2.7
Kevin Kouzmanoff Third Base 1.4 1.2
Cliff Pennington Shortstop 1.9 3.3
David DeJesus Left Field 3.1 -0.4 Gross
Coco Crisp Center Field 1.7 1.0 Davis
Josh Willingham Right Field 2.3 1.1 Sweeney
Hideki Matsui Designated Hitter 1.7 2.2 Cust
19.4 16.7

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Dallas Braden Starting Pitcher 2.8 3.0
Brett Anderson Starting Pitcher 2.6 2.3
Trevor Cahill Starting Pitcher 3.3 4.1
Gio Gonzalez Starting Pitcher 4.0 0.3
Rich Harden Starting Pitcher 1.2 -0.1 Mazzaro
13.9 9.6

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Brian Fuentes Relief Pitcher 1.1 0.9 Ziegler
Grant Balfour Relief Pitcher 1.0 0.5 Blevins
Michael Wuertz Relief Pitcher 0.8 0.0
Craig Breslow Relief Pitcher 1.1 1.4
Brad Ziegler Relief Pitcher 1.1 0.9
Andrew Bailey Closer 3.0 2.5
8.1 6.2

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