2021 Oakland Athletics Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
Since the Oakland Athletics become a franchise back in 1968, they’ve won four World Series titles (including three in a row from 1972-74) and lost twice in the Finals. Over the last 15 years, playoff success for the Athletics has been limited at best. They’ve gone stretches where they failed to make the playoffs and then stretches where they made it consecutive seasons in a row. Still, since 2006, they’ve won only two playoff series, and one of those came in last year’s shortened COVID season.
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Last season, the Athletics finished with a record of 36-24, which was good enough for top spot in the AL West and one of the wild-card spots in the expanded playoffs. They handled the Chicago White Sox but ultimately fell to the Houston Astros in the ALDS by a series score of 3-1. There was a lot of positive momentum in that season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the A’s can carry it into this season and make it last over a full 162- game season.
The Athletics will open the regular season on April 1 with a seven-game homestand that will see the Houston Astros stop in for a four-game set, followed by the defending World Series Champion, Dodgers for three games. The Athletics come into this season as possible World Series contenders as they check in at +2800. They are +1000 to win the AL Pennant and +160 to win the AL West. Their win total has been set at 87.5.
Athletics 2021 Projected Lineup
One quick look at the Athletics batting order and you’ll quickly see why they are projected to make the postseason and quite possibly make some noise once they are there. Their projected lineup for opening day looks like this:
- Ramon Laureano
- Mark Canha
- Matt Chapman
- Matt Olson
- Sean Murphy
- Mitch Moreland
- Stephen Piscotty
- Elvis Andrus
- Tony Kemp
To say the Athletics have some serious power up and down the lineup would be a massive understatement. They have six guys in this lineup that are projected to hit 20+ homeruns and slug closer to .450 for the season. The problem is they play in such a massive ballpark that pitchers can get away with making mistakes over the plate.
The top half of the order is slated to do the majority of the damage as Laureano, Canha, Chapman and Olson are projected to hit a combined 126 homeruns, with Olson leading the way with 40 followed by Chapman (36) Laureano (27) and Canha (23). Last season, the quartet managed 35 in limited plate appearances, so it wouldn’t shock me to see them reach and then surpass that mark in a full 162- game season.
Behind them is where newly acquired Mitch Moreland will bat. He will bat sixth in the batting order and typically be used as the designated hitter. Moreland comes over as a free agent from the San Diego Padres, and he’ll be looking to put up some big power numbers for a team that could use some help at the bottom of the batting order. Moreland managed 10 long balls last season while hitting for a .265 average and a .551 slugging percentage. Moreland’s outlook for this season is a positive one as he’s slated for 20 homeruns.
The other new addition and former teammate of Moreland in Texas is Elvis Andrus, who will play shortstop and bat eighth in the lineup. Andrus reunites with Moreland for this season, but he’ll be looking for a bounce-back season after hitting just .194 and three homeruns with three stolen bases in 2020. The projections for this year are solid as Andrus is expected to steal around 20 bases and contribute 12 homeruns while batting .250.
Athletics 2021 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Athletics pitching staff will be the biggest question mark for this season. They are trotting out the same five guys from last year’s staff. And while it performed well, it was a very small sample size.
Chris Bassitt was the undoubted “ace” of the staff last season as he started 11 games and posted a record of 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA. That follows up a 2019 season where he started 25 games and posted a 10-5 record with a 3.81 ERA. Clearly, the A’s have something in Bassitt, and pitching in a pitcher-friendly park while only help his chance of having an even better season. Bassitt is projected to start around 30 games and post a record above .500 with a slightly elevated 4.00 ERA.
Beyond him, Jesus Luzardo, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, and A.J. Puk round out the starting rotation. The outlook on these four guys is not good but it’s also not alarming. Luzardo and Manaea both had ERAs in the mid-fours last season and the projection on them this season is 3.76 and 4.16, respectively. Montas and Puk are projected to own an ERA around 4.10, which would be somewhat respectable, and it would help the A’s win ball games based on their offense.
As for the bullpen, there are three new faces this year, including closer Trevor Rosenthal, who was acquired via free agency from the San Diego Padres. Rosenthal had 11 saves last season for the Padres and is projected to save 26 games for the A’s this year. Sergio Romo (Minnesota) and Adam Kolarek (Los Angeles Dodgers) are the other two new guys, with Romo expected to be the one that is more relied upon.
Athletics 2021 Predictions
FanGraphs projects the Blue Jays to finish with a record of 83-79, which would put them in third place in the AL West and outside of a wild-card spot. I’m not sure I agree with that as nobody other than the Astros will be good this year in the AL West. And if the Athletics can get some good pitching to go along with their powerful lineup, the A’s could be staring at back-to-back division titles. Give me the over.
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