There are a lot of new faces in Oakland this year after general manager Billy Beane once again retooled the A’s roster, but one constant remains: a solid starting rotation.
Young right-hander Sonny Gray will make his first Opening Day start after posting a 3.04 ERA and winning 14 games in his first full season in the big leagues. The owner of one of the best curveball’s in the game, Gray was unhittable at times last season – especially in the month of July in which he was 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA in five starts.
Just 25 years old, Gray is a bit young to be asked to be the ace of the staff, though because of Beane’s wheeling and dealings, there aren’t many other options.
Scott Kazmir proved his bounce-back 2013 was no fluke and pitched 190.1 innings across 32 starts for the A’s last season. He’s had a terrific spring as well having posted a 1.00 ERA in four Cactus League starts, but the 31-year old lefty is better in the middle of the rotation than at the top.
Newcomers Jesse Hahn (traded from San Diego for Derek Norris) and Kendall Graveman (acquired in the trade that sent All Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto), will slide into the third and fourth spots, respectively.
Hahn didn’t make his Major League debut until June last season while Graveman began the year in Single-A, but was in the big leagues in September and has dominated (3-1, 0.36 ERA 12 hits allowed in 25.1 innings) this spring.
Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who finally capitalized on the huge potential that once made him one of the top prospects in baseball, won the role as fifth starter this spring He beat out Jesse Chavez in the process and will keep the spot warm for the first few months of the season. Jarrod Parker is hopeful to return from Tommy John surgery in June, as is A.J. Griffin.
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