The 2021 Oakland A’s Spring Training has been generally exciting, and fans should be excited for the regular season, especially with the recent news that fans should be back in the stadiums for Opening Day
2021 Oakland A’s: The Record
The Athletics are 3-2-1 so far in Spring Training. Their pitching looked very solid through the first week, although top prospect AJ Puk has yet to throw in a game. His only action so far was throwing to hitters at the A’s complex on Friday, which manager Bob Melvin said went well.
Melvin also mentioned that the plan is to build Puk as a starter, but keeping the bullpen role as an option down the line.
In their game against the Angels on Friday, the 2021 Oakland A’s got Shohei Ohtani for 3 hits and 2 walks, scoring a run over 1.2 innings, but all of their outs were strikeouts. Ohtani sat 96-100 on the gun and has a good history against the Athletics, so seeing them jump on him early is a good sign.
The Matts: Oakland’s Shining Stars
Matt Olson has been the star of the 2021 Oakland A’s Spring Training so far, hitting .500 with a 2.000 OPS, slamming three homers in his four games played. Olson’s swing looks as locked in as can be, and with a full 162-game season, 40 homers seem like more of a “when,” not an “if.”
The Matts also hit back-to-back homers off of Adam Plutko, with Olson’s homer clearing the bullpen and seats in right field. Look forward to seeing much more of this as the regular season comes around.
Coming off of season-ending surgery for a hip injury, the former Platinum Glover Matt Chapman has looked electric for the 2021 Oakland A’s thus far in Spring Training. Through nine at-bats over four games, Chapman is slashing .333/.500/.667 with one long ball. Additionally, he made this Gold Glove-caliber play against the Angels:
Chapman stated before that he felt like he lost a step on defense due to his hip, but this play and his movements this spring point to a full recovery, and his comfort in going after plays that put stress on his hips.
The Arms Race
The 2021 Oakland A’s pitching staff has largely looked excellent through their first five games. Jake Diekman, the probable set-up man to Trevor Rosenthal, looked great in his outing against the Cleveland Indians, punching out two but walking one over an inning of work. His velo was in the 92-94mph range, but should get closer to his 95-96mph average velocity as we get closer to the regular season.
Daulton Jefferies and J.B. Wendelken both have a 0 ERA through three innings pitched. Although they have both started games this spring, pitching coach Scott Emerson said that there are no plans to run a six-man rotation for 2021, a la the Mariners or Angels.
The 2021 Oakland A’s rotation will most likely look something like this:
Puk will most likely start in the bullpen, but Frankie Montas’ COVID situation could give Puk the chance he needs to jump the line and secure a spot in the rotation.
However it shakes out, the 2021 Oakland A’s should be a very good team, and the competition for the last few roster spots should be very interesting as we inch towards Opening Day.
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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images