Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Without making a big splash like other teams in their division—The Texas Rangers trading for Prince Fielder and Seattle Mariners signing Robinson Cano, in particular—the Oakland A’s have been quietly active this offseason.
The only new addition to the team that should have an fantasy impact will be Jim Johnson. Otherwise, the Oakland Athletics are a source of good young starting pitchers, 3-4 tier hitters, and a couple potential late round gems.
[table id=306 /]
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp
— Donaldson: what a stud this guy was last year. Now can he do it again? That is going to be a question that plagues fantasy owners this off season. I like Josh Donaldson in the 4th round at the earliest, and if someone offered me Ryan Zimmerman straight up for him, I would take the trade.
— Cespedes: I’ll take a bit more about Yoenis Cespedes later, but I think he is good pick in 5th round or so. However I think he might be going earlier than that and if so, then do not sweat missing out on this hit-or-miss player.
— Moss: Generally speaking, 30 potential bombs is nothing to sneeze at in a fantasy hitter. Unfortunately I don’t really trust Brandon Moss as he has had a tough time finding consistent at bats in his career. The bright side of that is that the A’s don’t exactly have guys breathing down his neck, so he very well should get the at bats if healthy and playing well. I’d wait on him either way.
— Reddick: I will address Josh Reddick a little more later, but he should be a good value late round gamble in my opinion.
— Crisp: I feel like Coco Crisp has been playing since I was born. He has always had the look of a much older man, and at times he plays like it. However the guy just seems to rack up counting stats when healthy, so he is a very viable fantasy option, even at the ripe old age of 34.
[table id=307 /]
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: All of the above!
— Parker: Probably the most sure bet of the starters, Jarrod Parker has put out two full season in a row with good, even if not great, numbers.
— Gray: This is probably the biggest roll of the dice of this group, but he has far and away the highest ceiling. He was stellar in the postseason for the A’s and looks to build on that success in 2014. It’s hard to say where Sonny Gray should be drafted, but I would probably reach for this kid, especially in a keeper league.
— Straily: He’s a solid option and could be a good vote for sleeper pick. Dan Straily is largely overshadowed by a lot of other names and storylines on the A’s and should be a very good value pick late in drafts.
— Griffin: Parker’s the most reliable, Gray’s got the highest ceiling, Straily has the most sleeper potential, and A.J. Griffin is probably the best value guy of the group. Much like Straily, Griffin gets lost in the shuffle, and he is a better pitcher as far as control and K/9. I think his ERA is projected a little higher than what he will come in at too.
Fantasy Star: Yoenis Cespedes (by name more than production)
Cespedes is more of a star on his name and hype. When the A’s landed this Cuban defector there was a lot of buzz generated about his raw skills. Unfortunately, his skills remain raw and therefore he has not turned the corner into fantasy stardom.
You need to be mindful of what Yoenis Cespedes costs you in a draft or as a keeper and make sure he is worth it. The nice thing is that his name carries enough weight that he could be useful in a trade, but if you draft him early or for a lot of money he could be closer to bust that star.
Fantasy Bust: Jed Lowrie
Jed Lowrie turned out a solid season in 2013, and as a shortstop that made him VERY valuable to fantasy owners. However, my guess is that he comes down to earth this year and will be drafted too high because of his productive 2013 season. If you can land him after Round 7, I would take a chance, but not before.
Prospect Watch: Addison Russell
This kid has it all, good build, all the tools, and he even has a little bit of Hanley Ramirez in him, meaning he is fighting the move to 3B already. Even still, Addison Russell is by far the A’s best prospect and is usually found in the Top-20 of any all MiLB prospect list.
Fantasy Sleeper: Josh Reddick (more of a dark horse than strict sleeper)
On the flip side to Jed Lowrie are guys like Josh Reddick. He vastly under-performed in 2013 and because of it, runs a great chance of being overlooked. There is some risk here that Reddick doesn’t quite bounce back. However if he does bounce back, even just to a decent level, he will be a steal after round 10 or so.
- Final Thoughts
As a fantasy source the A’s aren’t exactly a top-flight market, but they are rich with guys that round out a good fantasy team. If you don’t land Adam Jones in one of the first few rounds, Cespedes is not a bad second option a couple rounds later.
Likewise maybe you waited a little too long on pitching, just take any two of the A’s starters listed above and you will be fine.
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