Three keys for success
-Taking advantage of the depth: It’s been a while that the A’s had such quality depth in their organization, virtually at every position. They can toy around with the mix of players they’ll have in the 25-man, especially early on when they’re trying to figure out what’s going to work well on the field. While Oakland lost a lot of pure talent, Beane and manager Bob Melvin usually do a good job of finding what works.
-Getting on base: the departures of Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss saw whatever power Oakland had in the lineup disappear. So, as the team went back to basics as far as the construction of the roster goes, the lineup has to do the same – they need to get on base. Oakland knocked out 146 home runs with a .381 slugging percentage as a team, good for eighth and ninth respectively in the AL last year. They have players who can hit home runs in Butler, Davis, Lawrie, Zobrist, Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp, but none are or should be expected to hit 20 or more home runs.
-Keep the rotation sharp and healthy: The A’s suffered two big injuries in their starting rotation last spring, losing both AJ Griffin and Jarrod Parker to Tommy John surgery during spring training. They were lucky then to be able to get and hold onto first place throughout the first half of the season behind the arms of Gray and Scott Kazmir, however they won’t be so lucky this time around should any of their starters goes down, mainly Gray. They have some depth in the back-end of the rotation in Jesse Chavez and Sean Nolin, but this staff has to be able to make it through June at least when Griffin and Parker return to the mound.
Next: 2015 season predictions