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5 ATHLETICS

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OVERALL RANK 14

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP OAKLAND

People are really discounting this team. They could compete in this division because of their pitching depth, plus depth in their lineup. All the guys seem to be playing with a chip on their shoulder.... The million-dollar question is how healthy is Sonny Gray? He's out again, with a lat strain... They hit on Kendall Graveman when they got him in the Josh Donaldson trade. He's got power stuff, a live 94--96 mph fastball. Last year, once he figured out how to throw the ball at the middle of the plate and let it sink away, he pitched like an ace.... Jharel Cotton has charisma, a feel for pitching and keeps guys off-balance. He can touch 93--94 and he'll throw anything at you.... Khris Davis has the type of power where anything he can touch, he can hit out. But pitchers will pay more attention to him this year.... Ryon Healy is like Donaldson five years ago. He's an especially good hitter of breaking balls and did a lot of damage on secondary stuff that people thought he couldn't handle.... Jed Lowrie can hit, but sometimes he looks like a telephone pole out there. He's got one-step range, and he just came off foot surgery. Don't be surprised if Joey Wendle's at second at some point.... Marcus Semien doesn't have the hands to be a plus defender, but he's the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry, so I understand why they've been patient with him. Plus he's a 20--30 home run guy who can turn on a 97-mph fastball.... The A's don't believe in giving out the c for captain, but Stephen Vogt is the guy who'd have it. He commands that staff, commands respect from every person on the roster.

MANAGER BOB MELVIN

7TH SEASON WITH OAKLAND

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

CF RAJAI DAVIS [NEW ACQUISITION]

R-R .249 .306 .388 0.4

C STEPHEN VOGT

L-R .251 .305 .406 2.2

DH RYON HEALY [RISING]

R-R .305 .337 .534 2.2

LF KHRIS DAVIS [TEAM MVP] [BARGAIN]

R-R .247 .307 .524 2.8

RF MATT JOYCE [NEW ACQUISITION]

L-R .242 .403 .463 1.6

SS MARCUS SEMIEN [BARGAIN]

R-R .238 .300 .435 3.0

3B TREVOR PLOUFFE [NEW ACQUISITION]

R-R .260 .303 .420 0.4

1B YONDER ALONSO

L-R .253 .316 .367 -0.1

2B JED LOWRIE [INJURY RISK] [DECLINING]

S-R .263 .314 .322 -0.4

BENCH

B-T BA OBP SLG WAR

IF MARK CANHA

R-R .254 .315 .426 1.1 [2015 STATS]

OF JAKE SMOLINSKI

R-R .238 .299 .345 -0.3

W--L ERA K/9 WAR

RH SONNY GRAY [INJURY RISK] [BARGAIN]

5-11 5.69 7.2 -0.5

RH KENDALL GRAVEMAN [BARGAIN] [RISING]

10-11 4.11 5.2 3.2

LH SEAN MANAEA [RISING]

7-9 3.86 7.7 2.7

RH JESSE HAHN

6-6 3.35 6.0 1.0 [2015 STATS]

RH JHAREL COTTON [ROOKIE] [RISING]

11-6 4.31 10.3 - [MINOR LEAGUE STATS]

SV ERA K/9 WAR

RH RYAN MADSON

30 3.62 6.8. 1.2

LH SEAN DOOLITTLE [INJURY RISK]

4 3.23 10.4. 0.9

NEW ACQUISITION

2016 STATS

(R) ROOKIE

*2015 STATS

†MINOR LEAGUE STATS

TEAM MVP

DEFENSIVE STAR

INJURY RISK

BARGAIN

RISING

DECLINING

MODEST PROPOSAL

Trevor Plouffe, Yonder Alonso, Rajai Davis, Matt Joyce, Jed Lowrie.... The A's have become a perennial mass of middling veterans, limping toward 74 wins. One bright spot is Ryon Healy, who crushed 27 homers across three levels in 2016 and hit .305/.337/.524 in 72 games in Oakland. The 25-year-old may be a fluke—he had a scary 60 strikeouts against 11 unintentional walks in the majors—but as a homegrown young player with potential and six years of control left, he's at least more interesting than teammates Plouffe and Alonso. Healy should be out there manning an infield corner every day.

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to their pitching, they could be better than you might think ... though probably still not good.