Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Oakland Athletics

  •  

After two straight American League West titles and two straight ALDS losses to the Tigers, it appears that Athletics general manager Billy Beane's "stuff" still doesn't work in the playoffs. It may not work particularly well in Fantasy either. Though Beane's squad had more than enough power and pitching to earn a postseason berth, they were short on elite players and well-rounded talents who are sought out by Fantasy owners.

Consistent with their reputation for exploiting market inefficiencies, the A's were led by an overlooked 27-year-old catcher-turned-third baseman (Josh Donaldson), a 33-year-old outfielder who finally turned in his first 20-20 season (Coco Crisp), an injury-prone shortstop who managed to deliver a full season's worth of games (Jed Lowrie), a platoon first baseman (Brandon Moss) and a 40-year-old contact pitcher (Bartolo Colon). Yoenis Cespedes, probably the most recognizable Fantasy entity coming into 2013, couldn't clear the bar he set as a rookie, when he was a top 20 Rotisserie outfielder. Difficulties in making contact helped to shave 52 points off Cespedes' batting average, as he languished with a .240 mark and No. 33 ranking among Roto outfielders.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

Despite the team's collective success, you could easily get through the first three or four rounds of your upcoming mixed league drafts without seeing a single Athletic go off the board. Still, Donaldson and Cespedes are legitimate early-round options (if not the very early rounds), and Crisp and Moss can be targeted in the middle rounds, particularly in Roto leagues. Colon is out of the picture, having signed with the Mets this offseason, but Sonny Gray and A.J. Griffin are solid candidates for your mixed league rotation. New closer Jim Johnson is also an appropriate pick for the middle rounds. Lowrie, outfielder Josh Reddick, catcher John Jaso and starting pitchers Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily are all players worthy of late-round fliers.

The A's did lose a few key pieces from their 96-win team, but they found solid replacements during the offseason. Colon and closer Grant Balfour departed via free agency, but Beane signed Scott Kazmir and traded for Johnson to take over for them. Kazmir is another name to add to your late-round sleeper list after completing a successful campaign with the Indians last year. The team also added bullpen depth by trading outfielder Seth Smith to the Padres for Luke Gregerson, and they maintained their outfield depth by acquiring Craig Gentry from the Rangers.

Fantasy teams don't usually face the same payroll constraints that the A's do, so they don't have to mimic the franchise's no-stars approach. That said, the organization still offers plenty of players who can help Fantasy owners win a title this coming season, if not the centerpieces to build a team around.

Injury-risk sleeper No. 1 ... Scott Kazmir, starting pitcher

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Coco Crisp CF
2. Josh Donaldson 3B
3. Jed Lowrie SS
4. Yoenis Cespedes LF
5. Brandon Moss 1B
6. Josh Reddick RF
7. John Jaso DH
8. Alberto Callaspo 2B
9. Stephen Vogt C
Bench Nick Punto IF
Bench Craig Gentry OF

Kazmir gave us a nice comeback story last year, just by virtue of cracking the Indians' rotation and staying there through the end of the season. What he accomplished, especially from late June on, was actually much more impactful than simply winning and keeping a job. Kazmir gave owners strikeouts all year long, and his 4.04 ERA and 1.32 WHIP obscure how dominant he was over his final 18 starts. Over that three month-plus stretch, he posted a 3.06 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, as he threw more than two-thirds of his pitches for strikes and recovered from poor early luck with hits on balls in play. As long as Kazmir doesn't revert to his prior history of injuries and wildness, he has a shot at pitching like a top 30 starter.

Injury-risk sleeper No. 2 ... John Jaso, catcher

Jaso's first season in Oakland got off to a slow start, as he hit just .252 with one home run through the end of May. His Fantasy owners didn't get to enjoy the fruits of a midseason revival for long, as Jaso's year was done for good on July 24 when he was concussed as a result of taking foul tips off his mask in back-to-back games. Any time a player returns from a concussion, it's a risk to assume they can pick up where they left off, but Jaso is in a situation that is as close to ideal as possible. He will spend most of his time as the designated hitter, spared from the rigors and injury risks of catching, and assuming he is healthy, Jaso should be able to amass more than his previous career high of 404 plate appearances. Given that you may be able to get the likes of Geovany Soto, Alex Avila or Welington Castillo off waivers in a two-catcher mixed league, it's worth giving Jaso a try with a late-round pick, as there is minimal cost if he doesn't work out. If all goes well, he could provide a decent batting average and power with a high on-base percentage.

Bust ... Jed Lowrie, shortstop

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Jarrod Parker RHP
2. Scott Kazmir LHP
3. A.J. Griffin RHP
4. Sonny Gray RHP
5. Dan Straily RHP
ALT Drew Pomeranz LHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Jim Johnson RHP
2. Luke Gregerson RHP
3. Ryan Cook RHP
4. Sean Doolittle LHP
5. Jesse Chavez RHP

As part of a crowded infield situation a year ago, Lowrie headed into spring training looking poised for a utility role, but he emerged as the starting shortstop. Then Lowrie did something unprecedented, turning in a full season in a regular role. He finally answered the question, "What could Lowrie do if he could just stay healthy for a full season?", and the answer was to his owners' liking. Hitting .290 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI and 80 runs, Lowrie finished fourth in standard Head-to-Head scoring among shortstops and seventh in Rotisserie value. Lowrie was aided by his career-high batting average and 45 doubles, which were partially boosted by a drop in strikeouts but also by a 28 percent line drive rate. That's more than 10 percentage points higher than his rates from each of his three previous seasons, and it has regression written all over it. Health permitting, Lowrie should be able to provide 15-plus homers for the third straight season, but don't be surprised to see his batting average and doubles total plunge. Despite his lofty rankings from 2013, Lowrie is best viewed as a late-round option this spring.

Prospects Report

Addison Russell's stock has been enhanced by his rankings on top prospects lists, and he put up stats in the California League that back up the hype. Then again, lots of hitters do in that hitter-friendly circuit, but Russell's home park in Stockton is not an especially favorable environment. The 20-year-old shortstop could bring his power-speed combination to Oakland sometime this season, making him worthy of a flier in deeper leagues. ... Michael Ynoa may be the best known of the A's current pitching prospects, but Raul Alcantara is younger, fared much better after making the jump from Class A to Advanced Class A, and doesn't have Ynoa's history of elbow injuries. Both pitchers should be targeted in deeper dynasty leagues. ... Other than Russell, first baseman Maxwell Muncy is probably the prospect closest to the majors, but he may not arrive this year, and when he does debut, he may not hit for much power. ... Outfielder Billy McKinney and third baseman Renato Nunez are still working through the lower minors, but both have sufficient promise to merit a pick in dynasty formats.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Pirates' Starling Marte coming out of funk vs. Brewers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:44 am ET) Pirates left fielder Starling Marte carried a .103/.156/.241 line into this weekend's series against the Brewers but has found his swing, going 4 for 10 with two home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases in his last two games.

"Look where he was four days ago, and look where he is now," manager Clint Hurdle said after Saturday's win.

Marte struck out 14 times in 26 at-bats over his first seven games, and while he still didn't manage a hit Wednesday, he was able to avoid striking out for just the second time this season at that point. He's yet to strike out in his team's current series against the Brewers.

"Sometimes, it's extra work (on an off night). Sometimes it's us talking," Hurdle said. "It's always important for players to know the expectations of the manager. And it's never an average, a home run or RBIs; it's intangibles. They need to hear that you believe in them when things might not look very good. And he responded very well."

With his recent upturn, Marte has hit .189/.225/.459 with three home runs and nine RBI in 37 at-bats. He's batting fifth in Sunday's series finale against the Brewers.


Jake Marisnick out of Astros' lineup on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:39 am ET) Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick is out of the team's starting lineup on Sunday. 

Colby Rasmus moves over from left field to play center, and Robbie Grossman fills in at left field, batting ninth. 


Michael Brantley, David Murphy in Indians lineup on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:36 am ET) Michael Brantley starts his second straight game in left field for the Indians, on Sunday. Brantley, who battled injury earlier in the month, is hitting third in the Indians' lineup. 

David Murphy gets his third straight start at three different positions. After playing left and right field the last two days, Murphy gets the start at DH, batting sixth.


Delmon Young gets start in left for Orioles
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Delmon Young is in the Orioles starting lineup for the first time since April 14. 

Young starts in left field for the first time this season on Sunday. Alejandro De Aza is out of the lineup.

Chris Davis starts at first base for the second straight game, with Jimmy Paredes at DH.  


Mets' Travis d'Arnaud swinging hot bat from No. 2 spot
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:30 am ET) Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud has batted second in three of the four games since David Wright hit the disabled list, and he's 3 for 12 with two home runs and one walk in those games while batting second.

"This is what I want from him. That's why he's hitting second," manager Terry Collins said Saturday, per MLB.com. "He showed us last year he could swing the bat."

d'Arnaud stuggled initially last season and was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas in June, but he was able to make adjustments and deliver a fine offense performance after being recalled. He's continued to shine early in 2015, hitting .289/.317/.526 with two home runs and nine RBI in 38 at-bats.

"I just believe in myself," d'Arnaud said. "I'm able to make adjustments quicker and believe in my thought process at the plate and know it works."

d'Arnaud is back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Marlins.


Dodgers' Mattingly concerned with Yasiel Puig's limp
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig went 2 for 3 with a walk, a double and an RBI in his return to action Saturday, and while he was able to play all nine innings after missing three games with a tight hamstring, he was limping enough for manager Don Mattingly to notice, MLB.com reports.

"It looked like he limped a little that one inning, but he told the trainer he was fine," manager Don Mattingly said. "He swung the bat good, made a nice play in the late innings. He looked good."

It was Puig's first action since Monday due to hamstring issues, but he was able to reach base multiple times and knock in a run for the third straight game. He has hit .267/.353/.533 with two home runs and four RBI in 30 at-bats.


Phillies' Maikel Franco working on plate patience
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:11 am ET) Phillies third-base prospect Maikel Franco is working to contain his energy at the plate and become a more patient hitter, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"You have to be aggressive. But you have to take your pitches and get that one, good pitch to hit," Franco said. "And that's what I do. When I go out there, I try to relax and everything will happen."

Director of player development Joe Jordan said after watching the prospect this week that Franco has to become more patient at the plate.

"He's still a 22-year-old hitter," Jordan said. "At times, he gets excited still. But that's all stuff that's going to change with experience and maturity."

While Franco struggled to put up stats early last season, his aggressiveness has paid off this April. He has hit .385/.442/.667 with one home run, seven RBI and four walks in 39 at-bats with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Hanigan out of Red Sox's lineup on Sunday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Ryan Hanigan are out of the Red Sox's starting lineup for Sunday's game against Baltimore. 

Pedroia is hitless in his last two games with three strikeouts. He's getting a rest on Sunday. Brock Holt replaces him at second base, leading off. 

Hanigan also gets a day off. Sandy Leon replaces him behind the plate, batting ninth.


Shane Victorino returns to Red Sox's lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino returns to the lineup on Sunday, after he was a late scratch on Saturday with sore ribs. 

Victorino is batting seventh for the Sox on Sunday. 


Pirates' Francisco Cervelli not in lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's matchup with the Brewers.

Cervelli has started each of his team's last five games but will catch a break Sunday. Tony Sanchez will get the start behind the plate and bat eighth.

The Pirates are heavy favorites (-170) at home Sunday.


 
 
 
Rankings