30 in 30 next travels to Oakland, home of bus brawls and Billy Beane. The “allegedly” soon-to-be San Jose A’s were horrendous in the first half of 2009 and eventually sold everything not nailed down. Manager Bob Geren had the responsibility of shepherding a nearly all-rookie rotation, with guest starring roles from such luminaries as Brett Tomko and Dana Eveland.
The only way to go is up from here, and the 2010 vintage A’s are prettier to look at fantasy-wise then their ’09 brothers (if you look hard enough).
|C Kurt Suzuki||.274||.313||.421||74||15||88||8||570|
|1B Daric Barton||.269||.372||.413||31||3||24||0||160|
|2B Mark Ellis||.263||.305||.403||52||10||61||10||377|
|SS Cliff Pennington||.279||.342||.418||27||4||21||7||208|
|3B Kevin Kouzmanoff||.255||.302||.420||50||18||88||1||529||w/SD|
|LF Coco Crisp||.228||.336||.378||30||3||14||13||180||w/KC|
|CF Rajai Davis||.305||.360||.423||65||3||48||41||390|
|RF Ryan Sweeney||.293||.348||.407||68||6||53||6||484|
|DH Jack Cust||.240||.356||.417||88||25||70||4||513|
Unsettled: First Base and Outfield. Can Daric Barton hit enough to hold off the cast of thousands waiting to take his spot? What happens in the outfield when Carter and Taylor are ready? How healthy is Coco Crisp? These are among the questions the A’s must answer to find even a little fantasy relevance at these positions. It’s probably best to look elsewhere, however.
Target: Rajai Davis. Rajai got “the nod” in terms of stolen bases in 2009, and received a ridiculous 53 opportunities from only 390 at bats. Naysayers are talking about how his average will come down as his BABIP normalizes, but a lot of experts are expecting .280ish from him which shouldn’t hurt his total number of SBs – seeing as he should log 500+ at bats this season instead of 390. He’s being drafted around the 170th pick region which is a good deal compared to someone similar like Michael Bourn, who is usually taken four or five rounds earlier.
|Ben Sheets (R)||0-0||—-||—-||0||0||0||Missed ’09 season|
|Brett Anderson (L)||11-11||4.06||1.28||150||45||175.1|
|Justin Duchscherer (R)||0-0||—-||—-||0||0||0||Missed ’09 season|
|Dallas Braden (L)||8-9||3.89||1.36||81||42||136.2|
|Gio Gonzalez (L)||6-7||5.75||1.71||109||56||98.2|
Unsettled: Everyone after Sheets and Anderson in the rotation. Is Duchscherer physically capable of completing a season as a starter? How is Braden going to survive without feeling in some of his toes? Will Gio step up and take what should be his?
Target: Ben Sheets and Gio Gonzalez. Ben Sheets is a bonafide ace . He has had a year off to refresh and heal his body. He has moved to a pitching-friendly park, with a stellar defence behind him. He is being drafted in the 189th pick range in drafts. Value,value,value. Gio is going around pick 371, usually scrapsville, but for your 371st pick you could be getting a 9 k/9 juggernaut. He has the ground balls, the sexy K rate and the unhittable out pitch, all he needs is the composure and a walk rate of less than 4 per 9. Is 2010 when it happens for him? I’d pay my 371st pick to find out.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Michael Wuertz (R)||4||2.63||0.95||102||23||78.2|
|Andrew Bailey (R)||26||1.84||0.88||91||24||83.1|
Chasing Saves: Andrew Bailey blew everyone’s minds with a Rivera-esque 2009, and has a firm grip on the closer’s spot. He’s getting drafted around 40 picks after Mariano. Michael Wuertz is his back up at present, ably supported by Brad Ziegler and a recovering Joey Devine. But really, there should be no mistake – Bailey is the closer.
There are bargains to be had here, as Oakland players tend to be overlooked in favour of players on trendier teams. Another example is Kevin Kouzmanoff, who could potentially put up similar numbers to Adrian Beltre, but for a pick 100 spots later. And don’t forget the distant pounding footsteps of Chris Carter and Michael Taylor. Will they suddenly appear in June or July like slasher movie villains and mow down all before them? I for one, can’t wait to find out.
<i>Daniel Wilson is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You should follow all his fantasy advice to the letter - he is the goods. Billy Butler is a close second. You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of</i> AussieDodger.
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