Pitchers and catchers have officially reported which means it the perfect time to look at one of the upcoming teams the Reds will be playing in 2016.
Oakland (68-94, 5th in AL West, 20 GB, worst record in AL)
Key Additions: Henderson Alvarez, John Axford, Ryan Madson, Yonder Alonso, Marc Rzepczynski, Jed Lowrie, Rich Hill, Liam Hendriks, Andrew Lambo, Khris Davis
Key Departures:Brett Lawrie, Craig Gentry, Evan Scribner, Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez, Barry Zito (retired), Ike Davis, Cody Ross, Phil Coke
Reds Dates: June 10-12
The Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A’s have been on very different paths, but have both been trying to achieve the same goal since they met in the 1990 World Series. The Reds won that meeting while Oakland took home the honors in 1989, but neither team has been able to break the streak.
Unlike the A’s though, the Reds have at least been given the luxury of a new stadium, while Oakland is stuck in the Coliseum which treated just 1,768,175 fans last season, which was the fifth lowest attendance last season.
Bob Melvin enters his sixth season as the team’s skipper and he’s seen the good and the bad in the time he’s been there. Up until last season Melvin had the team above .500 and he even won Manager of the Year in 2012. However, much like Bryan Price, it appears that Melvin has found his team trying to bounce back after a disastrous 2015 against a very difficult division.
While the Reds had to deal with three teams that made the playoffs, the A’s could have very well been in the same boat with the Rangers and Astros making the playoffs and the Angels just missing the chance. It seems like those three will be equally strong in 2016 while the Mariners once again look good on paper and in theory should improve.
That being said, the A’s won’t be an easy win for teams in the AL West, at least when Sonny Gray takes the mound for Oakland. Gray gave the A’s quality production in 208 innings, going 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA an 169 strikeouts, all team-highs. Jesse Hahn was a nice addition in the rotation going 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA, but he was lost to an arm injury in July.
The bullpen is almost entirely revamped which may not be a bad thing for Oakland fans. Sean Doolittle is healthy and ready to take on the closer’s role while Liam Hendriks, Marc Rzepczynski, Ryan Madson, and John Axford hope to hold the leads that will allow Doolittle to do his job.
Josh Reddick returns to right field and as the Athletics top power threat. Last season he led the team with 20 homers and 77 RBI. Center fielder Billy Burns left his mark on the team in his rookie season leading the team in average (.294), hits (153), and steals (26) while playing in 125 games. He’ll be prime to lead things off for the A’s in the lineup and get on for Reddick, DH Billy Butler, and former Reds prospect, Yonder Alonso, who arrived via trade in the off-season. The A’s also added a familiar face to Reds fans in Brewers outfielder Khris Davis, who hit 27 homers for Milwaukee last season.
Here’s a look at what the A’s could be bringing to Great American Ballpark in June (as of 2/21).
Starting Rotation (2015 stats):
1.) Sonny Gray (14-7, 2.73 ERA, 169 Ks)
2.) Jesse Hahn (6-6, 3.35 ERA, 64 Ks)
3.) Kevin Graveman (6-9, 4.05 ERA, 77 Ks)
4.) Chris Bassitt (1-8, 3.56 ERA, 64 Ks)
5. Rich Hill (2-1, 1.55 ERA, 36 Ks w/Red Sox)
In competition: Aaron Brooks, Jarrod Parker, Henderson Alvarez
Closer: Sean Doolittle (1-0, 3.95 ERA, 15 Ks, 4 saves)
C. Stephen Vogt (136 games played, .261 avg, 18 HR, 71 RBI, All-Star)
1B. Yonder Alonso (103 GP, .282 avg, 5 HR, 31 RBI w/Padres)
2B. Jed Lowrie (69 GP, .222 avg, 9 HR, 30 RBI w/Astros)
3B. Danny Valencia (105 GP, .290 avg, 18 HR, 66 RBI w/Jays,A’s)
SS. Marcus Semien (155 GP, .257 avg, 15 HR, 45 RBI)
LF. Coco Crisp (44 GP, .175 avg, 0 HR, 6 RBI)
CF. Billy Burns (125 GP, .294 avg, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 26 SB)
RF. Josh Reddick (149 GP, .272 avg, 20 HR, 77 RBI)
DH. Billy Butler (151 GP, .251 avg, 15 HR, 65 RBI)
C. Josh Phegley
1B/LF. Mark Canha
IF. Eric Sogard
2B/3B Tyler Ladendorf
OF. Sam Fuld
OF. Jake Smolinski
OF. Khris Davis