The Oakland A’s 2017 projected lineup raises a lot of questions, as far as teams in the American League West. The division is going to be extremely competitive this coming season. The A’s will need to have their entire offense firing on all cylinders, if they hope to make a run at the division title. Some off-season acquisitions have kept the club relevant. Will those new additions be what the team needs to make a name for themselves in the AL West?
- Rajai Davis, OF
The Oakland A’s picked up Rajai Davis for a one-year deal, worth $6 million. This 36-year-old turned heads in 2016, in his post-season run with the World Series contending Cleveland Indians. He will land in the outfield, most likely at center field. The position is extremely demanding, and the 36-year-old could have some challenges there. The one thing that Davis brings to the table is speed. He led the American League in stolen bases in 2016, with 43 stolen bags.
- Stephen Vogt, C
Stephen Vogt will enter his fifth season with the Oakland A’s. It will be his third as the everyday catcher. Vogt has slashed .256/.322/.424 with 32 homers and a team-best 127 RBIs and .746 OPS over the past two seasons. The 32-year-old is a two-time All-Star also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits. Vogt and the A’s reached a new deal in the off-season, avoiding arbitration. Coming off a year with a few highlights to his swing, Vogt will look to impress again when the season starts.
- Ryon Healy, DH
When the Oakland A’s picked up Trevor Plouffe, Ryon Healy was pushed away from third base. Healy will most likely see the majority of his play come at the DH position, with some time at first base. Last season, Healy hit a remarkable .305 average. Healy was overwhelmingly undervalued before the start of the 2016. But he came out of the gate with an impressive performance. The 25-year-old has definitely earned his spot on the roster, and will likely be a star in the American League.
- Khris Davis, OF
In an off-season that saw the Oakland A’s miss out on Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion, Khris Davis came to the rescue. While Davis is obviously no Trumbo, he finished a mere five homers behind him last season. In his first year with Oakland, Davis hit a .247/.307/.524 slash line, and 42 homeruns and 102 RBIs. The Coliseum in Oakland isn’t exactly hitter-friendly, and that has put a small damper on Davis’ production. However, he found a way to be a success overall. Davis could find his second season in Oakland pretty surprising, especially with the newest additions to the A’s roster.
- Matt Joyce, OF
Matt Joyce was inked up last November, for $11 million over two years. This veteran left-hander is another solid addition to the Oakland A’s. Joyce has a variety of flexibility for the club, as he’s able to play both corner spots and come off the bench. Last year, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Joyce spent a lot of time in the pinch-hitter role. He drew a major league-record 21 pinch walks in 81 plate appearances in that situation. Expect him to be able to cross between center, when Khris Davis bats DH on days Healy covers first. He will likely also platoon with Mark Canha, allowing him the opportunity to show off his amazing pinch-hitting abilities.
- Marcus Semien, SS
2016 saw a bit of magic happen for the Oakland A’s. Marcus Semien hit 27 homers and turned reliable at shortstop. The last week was impressive for the 26-year-old. Fans saw a spark of his progression as a player in that week, which was a great addition to the defensive growth he had throughout the season. While he did tie for the most errors at shortstop in all of Major League Baseball, he dramatically decreased his error number from 35 in 2015 to a more reasonable 21 in 2016. his 27 homers tied for most in the majors among shortstops and were the second most by an American League shortstop in the past 12 years.
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B
The addition of Trevor Plouffe sent Healy away from third base duties. The deal will cost the Oakland A’s $5.25 million for a 30-year-old, injury-plagued player. Plouffe slashed .260/.303/.420 last season. His bat is not exactly impressive, hence the placement at the back end of the lineup. However, the former Minnesota Twins player is a major defensive upgrade. Plouffe had a .960 and .991 fielding percentage at first base and third base, respectively.
- Yonder Alonso, 1B
Yonder Alonso hit .302 with runners on base and went 7-for-11 with the bases loaded. He had a down season last year, hitting a .253 average. The two years prior, he averaged .273. There won’t be a lot of consistency in his positioning. Alonso will share first base duties with Healy. The 29-year-old isn’t an impressive hitter, or a big power threat, but is capable of handling a spot towards the back of the rotation. Alonso will also be reliable in his ability to flex around the diamond, as a utility player.
- Jed Lowrie, 2B
After surgery to repair a ligament in his left foot and surgery for a deviated septum, Jed Lowrie has announced that he is ready to go for Spring Training. His age 33 season doesn’t look promising. Lowrie hasn’t hit for league average since 2013. In 2016, Lowrie hit for a .263 average and a .314 OBP, over 87 games played. While he may get the start at second base, expect him to share the duties with newly signed, returning Adam Rosales.
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