The Oakland A’s are most certainly in rebuilding mode. They have made interesting acquisitions over the last two off-seasons. These new additions are keeping the team young, and setting them up for success in the, possibly near, future. The A’s pitching staff has been the beneficiary of some of these additions. Will the rotation find success in 2017? Here’s where the Oakland rotation stands.[Blake]
- Sonny Gray
Come August of this year, Sonny Gray could very well be in a different uniform. The Oakland A’s need Gray to be the dominate ace that he’s capable of being. If 2017 is the year that Gray turns it on, he may find himself getting dealt, like Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir before him. Last season, Gray finished 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA. It was, without a doubt, his worst season to date.
- Kendall Graveman
Kendall Graveman ended up being the hero of the Oakland A’s pitching staff in 2016. He was the team leader in wins (10) and innings pitched (186). Graveman, over 31 games, had a 1.306 WHIP and a 5.2 K/9. His 4.11 ERA was way higher than anyone would have liked to see. With that being said, Graveman stayed healthy last season. He proved to be a solid, reliable pitcher for the club. Graveman certainly earned a spot at the top of this rotation.
- Sean Manaea
Received in the Ben Zobrist trade, Sean Manaea missed a lot of the 2015 season. He was often plagued by nagging soreness with his groin, abdominal, and oblique areas. He also was consistently down with muscle pulls. In 2016, Sean Manaea was able to play in 25 games. He finished with a 3.86 ERA over his 144.2 innings pitched. With a 1.189 and a 7.7K/9, Manaea proved to add some consistency to the Oakland A’s rotation. The 24-year-old has a lot of room for growth, and could be the future of the Oakland pitching staff.
- Jharel Cotton
In another disappointing season for the Oakland A’s, Jharel Cotton provided some hopeful moments. The right-hander was truly impressive over his first five starts for the club. He had a 2.15 ERA in those five starts, keeping to a .818 WHIP. It was a small sample size but he was exciting to watch. He’s currently ranked as Oakland’s No. 10 prospect and will have fans waiting to see a breakout season. Should the 25-year-old righty have an impressive season, he could be instrumental in the rotation of the future.
- Andrew Triggs
During a four-start stretch late last season, Andrew Triggs struck out 20 batters in 21 2/3 innings, with just one walk. He showed the ability to pitch effectively, even while getting his count up into the upper 80’s. Triggs is not as promising as Cotton but will be the typical back-end starter that the club will need. The bullpen should foresee frequent work on days that Triggs pitches, and possibly some early starts to work.
- Zach Neal
Zach Neal will spend the majority of his time at Triple-A Nashville. He does provide emergency rotation relief. Should Gray find himself injured again, or should one of the back-end pitchers prove to be a failure, the Oakland A’s will lean towards Neal as a filler. He made his MLB debut last year, posting a 4.24 ERA in 70 innings with only 6 walks allowed. The 28-year-old just isn’t fit as an everyday starter. But with the history that the club has with injury-prone pitchers, one could expect to see Neal at some point in 2017.