The 2022 Oakland Athletics season preview comes down to one word, REBUILD! The A’s have either traded away their core players or allowed them to leave via free agency. They will use their farm system to retool and try to field a competitive team in 2022.
Athletics Season Preview
The A’s lost their first six games to begin the 2021 season. Then, they went on a 13-game winning streak and finished April with a winning record. The A’s were in first place until June 19. After that day, they were consistently in second. By the middle of August, they were 19 games over .500 but then stumbled to an 18-27 record. Oakland missed the playoffs altogether.
Manager and Players Leave
Losing manager Bob Melvin was the first knockout for this team. Melvin is one of the best player managers in the game today. He is an excellent communicator, but he also never set any expectations about how you needed to play, letting players’ natural abilities shine.
The corner infield from last year, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are gone. Also gone are two of the A’s starting outfielders, Starling Marte and Mark Canha. On top of that, catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison were traded at the deadline last July.
The bullpen also saw upheaval. Pitchers Andrew Chafin, Jake Diekman, and Sergio Romo all left for new teams. Starter Sean Manaea was traded away just last week. Let the rebuild begin.
The 2022 Offense
Preview 2022 Oakland Athletics: Outfielder Stephen Piscotty might be their best offensive weapon—when healthy. He only played in 72 games last season due to a nagging wrist injury. He has been dealing with shoulder issues in Spring Training but hopes to be ready for the start of the season. His last full season was in 2018, when he hit 27 home runs.
Seth Brown will certainly see more playing time. He hit 20 home runs in just 281 at-bats last year. Brown mostly played right field last season but did see some time at first base. Fans want to see what he can do in a full season. He needs to work on his offense, cut down on his strikeouts, and be more selective at the plate.
To have a great season, another player the A’s are looking for is Tony Kemp, who plays second base and outfield. He played well last season, setting career highs in games, hits, home runs, RBIs, and batting average. Kemp also has that knack for drawing a walk, which he may be the lead-off hitter at some point.
Outfielder Ramón Laureano is still serving the 80-game suspension that started last year. His absence means this team loses its clubhouse captain. Laureano is that person who brings energy to the team and keeps them loose daily. His loss is especially felt when the team faces difficulties.
Starting Pitching for 2022
Frankie Montas is still a member of the A’s. He will be the number one starter. Last season Montas won 13 games and had 207 strikeouts. He still brings a fastball that ranges from 92–95 MPH and his sinker, his second-best pitch. The sad part is he could be traded at any time.
As for others to consider for a starting spot, look at Paul Blackburn, Cole Irvin, and Daulton Jeffries. All three can work their way into the starting rotation. A shoulder injury has put James Kaprielian out for probably most of April, and Brent Honeywell is out indefinitely with elbow issues.
One of the Athletics’ top pitching prospects, right-hander Adam Oller, was informed last week he’d made the opening day roster. Oller pitched well in Triple-A last year and showed a mix of his fastball, slider, and changeup. Look for him to get an occasional spot start and will be used in the bullpen in long relief.
The 2022 Bullpen
The A’s bullpen contains pitchers who have not proven themselves at the big-league level. They only have two pitchers on the roster with multiple years of MLB experience. One of them is Justin Grimm, who has not pitched in the big leagues since 2020, spending all of last season in Triple-A.
The other with MLB experience is Lou Trivino, and expect him to return as the closer. He did save 22 games last year but lost the closer spot toward the end of the season when he struggled to close out games. Trivino can be erratic at times, so how long he remains the closer could be questioned as the season progresses.
The As’ bullpen needs pitchers to step up and be dependable. They will be counted on a lot during this rebuilding season. A.J. Puk, once a top starter prospect, has battled injuries. However, he was showing off his fastball during Spring Training, and he still has his overwhelming slider. In addition, he is left-handed and will be given a chance to prove himself. He needs to remain healthy.
The A’s also have a new manager for the first time in 11 years. Mark Kotsay takes over Melvin, who left for the San Diego Padres. Kotsay received a three-year contract through the 2024 season. He spent the last six seasons on the A’s coaching staff, learning from Melvin. Look for Kotsay to develop a style of managing similar to Melvin’s.
Preview 2022 Oakland Athletics: They will likely finish in last place this year. The AL West has become more competitive with the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers, who have improved their rosters. After letting core players leave, they most likely will not contend for a playoff spot this year. Management has allowed some younger players to come up, get their MLB experience, and be ready for the future. Though they could surprise everyone and overcome the “rebuild” tag, their future looks bright at this point.
Bob Melvin, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, Andrew Chafin, Jake Diekman, Sergio Romo, Sean Manaea, Stephen Piscotty, Seth Brown, Tony Kemp, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Cole Irvin, Adam Oller, Justin Grimm, Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk, Mark Kotsay