KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Oakland Athletics?
How does Oakland's big three in the rotation stack up?
Trevor Cahill took two steps forward when there was doubt about whether he'd do more than inch ahead. He coaxed grounders at a rate that prompted comparisons of the righty to Brandon Webb (pre-shoulder malfunction). Cahill's absurd average against will rise, though, and he doesn't miss many bats. Some will pay for his 2.97 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, but he won't earn it.
Gio Gonzalez may come at a discount and boasts upside. He began to rein in his BB/9 and has the K upside to warrant a bid. He also posted an opponent's hit rate due for correction, however, and walks will continue to be an issue. The likelihood that he'll earn more than you spend is minute.
Anderson worth the risk
Brett Anderson may be priced just right - for the fantasy owner. His 2009 workload borne concerns about his 2010 outlook, manifested in multiple DL stays for elbow problems. When he pitched (19 starts), though, he was fantastic (2.80 ERA, 3.41 K/BB). Good health isn't exactly a guarantee in 2011, but the potential Anderson offers, if it's on sale, is worth it.
What's the prognosis on Andrew Bailey?
The right-handed closer missed a month with an intercostal muscle strain, but what urges caution is Bailey's September surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow, which required TJS a few years ago, when he was in college. Signs are good: He should be throwing from 120 feet when ST begins and is on track for opening day. There's no expectation of a long-term effect.
Perhaps his numbers masked a bit of good fortune, but sabermetricians can rejoice at the success that Bailey had in his follow-up to his breakout campaign. He may be high-end closer material, but his stock seems to reflect that. The A's loaded up the bullpen (Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour) - to prepare for battle, or as insurance? Make sure you take these minor concerns into account when you throw down your bucks. Bailey could deliver great bang.
So, about Chris Carter and Michael Taylor ...
Incoming: David DeJesus, Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui (DH). It's enough to keep a good man down.
Carter, 24, has mouthwatering power, which Oakland direly needs. In September he made the argument that he could hang. Don't write off a 2011 impact. Daric Barton could fail to continue to hit enough to stay in the lineup. One of Oakland's many injury-prone outfielders could go on medical leave. The A's have never been opposed to dealing, even a player they acquired recently, if they have a reason. Carter will be waiting. The A's put up with Jack Cust for years; they can cope with Carter's BA shortcomings.
Taylor, 25, lost confidence at the dish and had a down year in 2010. Despite the potential for opportunities to arise, he'll likely need much of 2011 to regain his foothold. He's an athletic player with 25-20 upside, but it would take a combination of a number of circumstances for him to receive significant PT, at least in the first half.
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.