2021 Oakland A’s
The A’s finished with almost the same winning percentage over the past three seasons (.599, .599, and .600), leading to three trips to the postseason. Their last visit to the World Series came in 1989 while winning the championship in 1989. Since 2000, Oakland made the playoffs 11 times.
They finished fifth in ERA (3.77) with below-average success scoring runs (274 – 18th) and hitting home runs (71 – 19th).
Oakland signed 1B Mitch Moreland, RP Trevor Rosenthal, and RP Sergio Romo.
Their key losses were CL Liam Hendriks, SS Marcus Semien, OF Robbie Grossman, and SP Mike Minor.
In early February, they sent DH Khris Davis, C Johan Heim, and P Dane Acker to the Rangers for SS Elvis Andrus and C Aramis Garcia.
The starting rotation has a combination of upside and a couple of veteran arms. The A’s need Jesus Luzardo to move to ace status and SP Frankie Montas to regains his 2019 command.
The ninth inning looks much better with Rosenthal closing games, plus Sergio Romo and Adam Kolarek improve their options in the seventh and eighth inning.
Oakland has power in the middle of the starting lineup. They addressed their issue at shortstop while still searching for an upgrade at second base.
The A’s improved their chance for the postseason with their free-agent signings. They can’t make a deep run in the postseason without two pitchers pushing to elite status.
1. SS Elvis Andrus
After struggling over his first 76 at-bats (.184 with no home runs, three RBI, and three steals), Andrus only saw action in seven more games due to two stints on the injured list with a back injury.
He played well in 2019 with steady value in runs (81), home runs (12), RBI (74), and batting average (.275), with his only edge being stolen bases (31). In the end, he ranked 34th in SIscore (3.52).
After a fast start in April (.361 with 19 runs, five HRs, 20 RBI, and six steals over 108 at-bats), Andrus landed on the injured list in May for about 11 days. He played well in June (.311 with 18 runs, 16 RBI, and six stolen bases) but finished the year with only seven home runs over his final 492 at-bats. Andrus hit .242 with four home runs, 27 RBI, and 12 steals over 273 at-bats after the All-Star break.
He has a low strikeout rate (13.6) in his career, while his walk rate (7.3) ranks below the league average. His ground ball rate (49.4) remains high, but Andrus beat his career average (53.5 percent) in each of his past six seasons. Only once in his 11 years with Texas has Andrus had an HR/FB rate (5.6 in his career) over 10.0 (11.6 in 2017).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season, Andrus saw his ADP (412) rise by 50 spots after the trade to Oakland. I’m throwing out 2020 as he wasn’t healthy. His success in 2017 and 2019 shows his potential even though Andrus will start the year at 32. Andrus will get 550 at-bats if he stays healthy. With 10-plus home runs and over 20 steals with a combined 150 runs and RBI, Andrus would be an excellent value based on his 2021 price point.
2. OF Ramon Laureano
Laureano went down as a bust in 2020. He finished with a sharp decline in his contact batting average (.312), which was a strength in his first two years (.425 and .402) with Oakland. Fantasy owners also thought stolen bases would be much more impactful.
His strikeout rate (26.1) remains high while setting a career-high in his walk rate (10.8).
Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .271 with 45 home runs, 199 RBI, and 100 steals over 1,466 at-bats. His bat improved in 2019 at AAA (.297 with 44 runs, 14 home runs, 35 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 246 at-bats). His strikeout rate (23.7) was lower in the minors, with a much better walk rate (10.0).
Laureano had a regression in his HR/FB rate (13.3 – 19.2 in 2019) with a lower fly-ball rate (35.2). Over 773 at-bats with the A’s, he hit .270 with 133 runs, 35 home runs, 111 RBI, and 22 steals.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fantasy owners will have a better opportunity to roster Laureano after seeing his ADP slide to 147 in the early draft season. His foundation skill set gives him a chance at a neutral batting average with 90 runs, 25+ home runs, 80 RBI, and a run at 20+ steals. I view him as an excellent balance player for his current price point.
3. 3B Matt Chapman
Chapman missed the final three weeks of 2019 with a torn right labrum in his hip that required surgery. His stats over 37 games projected over 550 at-bats would come to 85 runs, 39 home runs, and 97 RBI.
His contact batting average (.375) and average hit rate (2.303) came in favorable areas. Hidden in his success was a significant setback in his strikeout rate (35.5 - 21.9 in 2019) and his walk rate (5.3 – 10.9 in 2019).
He finished with a significant change in his swing path (fly-ball rate – 50.6 and 43.6 in his career). Chapman also had a rise in his HR/FB rate (22.2) each year in the majors. His hard-hit rate (51.7) ranked 18th.
Over his four seasons with Oakland, he hit .255 with 263 runs, 84 home runs, and 224 RBI over 1,562 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Chapman should be ready for spring training. He has a 40-plus home run swing with value in runs and RBI. His ADP (114) is almost identical to 2019. The change in swing path and a weaker approach does invite more batting average risk. I’ll sit 2021 out after coming off an injury.
4. 1B Matt Olson
Like Matt Chapman, Olson turned into a free-swinger in 2020, highlighted by his career-high strikeout (31.4 – 25.2 from 2016 to 2019). He also has a significant decline in his contact batting average (.308 – .374 in 2019).
Olson will take walks (13.9 percent) with an impactful average hit rate (2.171). He maintained his fly-ball swing path (44.3 percent) with strength in his HR/FB rate (24.1).
Over four seasons with the A’s, Olson hit .248 with 219 runs, 103 home runs, and 262 RBI over 1,462 at-bats. For the most part, his RBI rate (15.0) has been only slightly above the league average in his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: There is no doubt that Olson has a high upside in power, but I don’t envision him ever scoring 100 runs. His batting average also has a low-ceiling, with most seasons ending on the wrong side of the league average. This season Olson has an ADP of 88 in late January as the eighth first baseman drafted.
5. OF Mark Canha
Over the last two seasons, Canha hit .265 with 112 runs, 31 home runs, 91 RBI, and seven steals over 601 at-bats, giving him a full-time job for the first time in his career. His stats in 2020 projected over 550 at-bats would come to 92 runs, 14 home runs, 95 RBI, and 12 steals.
Both his contact batting average (.343) and average hit rate (1.660) came in below 2019 (.370 and 1.893). Canha developed a high walk rate (14.1) over the past two years with a league-average strikeout rate (21.8).
His regression in power came from a sharp decline in his HR/FB rate (7.9 – 21.0 in 2019) despite hitting more fly-balls (44.4 percent).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The A’s should hit him in the top half of the batting order. Canha has an ADP of 257 in late January, making him a backend outfielder in 12-team leagues. He’s trending toward a .270 hitter with 90 runs, 30 home runs, 85 RBI, and five steals with a full season of at-bats.
6. 1B Mitch Moreland
In his limited at-bats (136) last season, Moreland was on pace for 60 runs, 27 home runs, and 78 RBI with 367 at-bats.
Over the past five years as a rotational player, he hit .252 with 300 runs, 111 home runs, 379 RBI, and five steals over 2,277 at-bats.
His strikeout rate (21.1) is league average while adding growth to his walk rate (10.3) over the previous four seasons.
Moreland hit .238 in his career against left-handed pitching with 22 home runs and 116 RBI over 839 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: He's still capable of a 20/75 type season with 500 at-bats while looking like a platoon player. His averaging hit rate (2.083) is rising along with his RBI rate (19). Not a bad bench bat in deep leagues with a free ADP (579).
7. OF Stephen Piscotty
Piscotty has been a tough player to time over the past four seasons. He played well in 2016 (.273/22/85/7) while offering similar value in 2018 (.267/27/88/2) with the A’s. Injuries cost him 137 games over his other three years.
In 2020, his average hit rate (1.583) regressed for the second straight season, but Piscotty did an excellent job with runners on base (RBI rate – 21). He finished with a massive spike in his strikeout rate (31.0 – 21.3 in his career) while taking a career-low 5.3 percent walks.
His swing was empty against left-handed pitching (.229 with no home runs and four RBI over 48 at-bats). Almost all of his production came in August (.289 with five home runs and 26 RBI over 90 at-bats) while losing his way at home (.195 with one home run and 11 RBI over 77 at-bats). He missed some time in September due to knee and wrist injuries.
Piscotty ended the year with the lowest fly-ball rate (30.8) of his career with a spike in his infield fly-balls (12.1 percent – 6.3 in his career). He did have the second-highest HR/FB rate (15.2) of his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Piscotty has a 20/80 skill set when healthy with a full season of at-bats. His batting average tends to fall on the wrong side of .270 due to weaker contact batting average in most seasons. His ADP (493) puts him in the waiver wire in most leagues. A viable bench player with everyday at-bats and a hot start to the season.
8. C Sean Murphy
Coming into the majors, Murphy had the upside tag as a prospect. Unfortunately, there has been more frustration than excitement in his bat with Oakland. In his minor league career, he never had more than 360 at-bats in any season.
His average hit rate (1.963 in 2020) over the last two seasons (2.027 at AAA in 2019 and 2.308 in 2019) suggests 30 home runs is well within reach. On the flip side, Murphy has struggled with runners on base (RBI rate – 8.5) with some weakness in his strikeout rate (26.5). His walk rate (17.1) did move into an elite area in 2020.
Over his 63 career games in the majors, Murphy hit .237 with 35 runs, 11 home runs, and 22 RBI, which projects well with 500 at-bats (104 runs, 33 home runs, 65 RBI). His HR/FB rate (26.8) has been in an attractive area with the A’s.
Oakland played him more than two games in a row only once (3 games) over the last five weeks of the season in 2020, leading to 11 missed games over 32 contests. Over this span, Murphy didn’t have any injuries.
He hit .267 in the minors over 855 at-bats with 146 runs, 34 home runs, and 129 RBI.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Other than the missed games, Murphy has an impactful power swing with the approach to add plenty of runs to his stat line. His next step is growth as a hitter with runners on base and controlling the strike zone better. He has a top 10 ADP (163) for the catcher position, which requires him to get 450 at-bats at the minimum. I like his upside, but I’d rather roster him a discount if possible. Murphy will start the year at age 26, so I don’t have him in the elite prospect grouping despite his high upside in power.
9. 2B Tony Kemp
Over the past five seasons, Kemp worked off the Astros, Cubs, and A's benches. In his 750 major league at-bats, he hit .235 with 104 runs, 15 home runs, 74 RBI, and 19 steals.
His walk rate (9.9) is high enough to bat leadoff for the A’s, but he would need a much higher contact batting average (.287 in the majors) to keep the role long term. Kemp also has an above-average strikeout rate (15.9) while showing improvement in 2020 (12.3).
He hit .312 with 25 home runs, 233 RBI, and 144 stolen bases over 2,187 at-bats in his minor league career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kemp falls right into Oakland’s Moneyball plan. He’ll take walks with an underlying upside in batting average. His stats in the majors in 2018 and 2019 came to 68 runs, 14 home runs, 59 RBI, and 13 steals over 500 at-bats. A serviceable player if Kemp somehow earns full time starting at-bats. I can’t bank on his speed potential as the A’s would rather be a station-to-station ball club.
SS Chad Pinder
Pinder has had minimal playing time at shortstop since 2017 (22 games), making him more of a placeholder until the A’s sign someone before spring training.
Over the previous four years, he hit .245 with 132 runs, 43 home runs, and 124 RBI over 977 at-bats while seeing time at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, and OF.
Pinder missed most of the last five weeks of 2020 with a hamstring issue.
He finished with the lowest strikeout rate (21.3) of his career while moving to the league average in his walk rate (8.2).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Pinder fits the super-utility role for Oakland. He’ll hit home runs, but batting average tends to be a liability. At best, a short-term injury replacement in deep leagues if Pinder is playing well.
Austin Allen (C): Allen didn’t get much of a chance with the Padres in 2019 (.215 with no home runs and three RBI over 65 at-bats), but he sure did look great at AAA (.330 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI over 270 at-bats). With the A’s last year, Allen only had six hits in 31 at-bats with one home run and three RBI.
Over the last three years between High A and AAA, Allen hit .296 with 182 runs, 65 home runs, and 204 RBI over 1,184 at-bats.
His average (1.658) in his minor league career sets a high floor in power while offering a league average approach (strikeout rate – 18.5 and walk rate – 7.7).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His lefty bat is getting closer to the majors, and Allen has the power to spare if given starting at-bats in the majors. His first hurdle is winning a backup catcher job for Oakland. He then needs to showcase his minor league power with the A’s.
1. SP Jesus Luzardo
After being eased into the season, Luzardo failed to live up to expectations over his nine starts (3.83 ERA and 52 strikeouts over 49.1 innings). He didn’t allow a run in four of his appearances (20.1 innings) while having one disaster showing (six runs and 11 baserunners over 3.1 innings).
His walk rate (2.6) and strikeout rate (9.0) failed to match his minor league resume (2.0 and 10.8) while struggling with home runs (1.4 per nine).
Over three seasons in the minors, Luzardo went 14-7 with a 2.53 ERA and 234 strikeouts over 195.2 innings.
His AFB (96.2) was a step down from 2019 (97.2 MPH). He has success with his four-seam fastball (.172 BAA), slider (.214 BAA), and low-volume curveball (.143 BAA). Luzardo lost the feel for his sinker (.337 BAA) and changeup (.288 BAA).
In July, he tested positive for Covid, which put him behind a week or so for the regular season.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Luzardo has an ace arm once he finds his rhythm in the majors. Injuries were a problem in 2019, and Luzardo has never pitched over 110 innings at any season in his career. His underperformance in 2020 gives him an ADP of 107 in mid-February in 12-team leagues. Oakland will never pay him, so they will give him as many innings as he can handle in 2021. Luzardo throws enough strikes where 30 starts should deliver 180 innings with 200 strikeouts and a sub 3.00 ERA. The reward here is excellent if he can stay healthy all season.
2. SP Sean Manaea
Manaea suffered a left shoulder injury in August of 2018, which led to surgery a few weeks later. His minor league debut in 2019 didn’t come until July 8.
After struggling in three of his first four games (9.95 ERA, 1.895 WHIP, and four home runs over 12.2 innings), he looked sharp in three starts at AAA (1.53 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 17.2 innings).
The A's called him on September 1, which led to a great month (4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 30 strikeouts over 29.2 innings).
Manaea buried fantasy owners in 2020 over his first four starts (15 runs, 28 base runners, and three home runs over 15 innings). He regained his form over his final seven starts (2.77 ERA, .228 BAA, and 32 strikeouts over 39 innings). Manaea finished with a career-low in his walk rate (1.3), but he managed only 7.5 strikeouts per nine, which fell in line with his career average (7.3) with Oakland.
Manaea features a below-par fastball (90.6 MPH). He continued to have two plus pitches (changeup – .222 BAA and slider – .225 BAA) while his four-seam fastball (.280 BAA) was less effective.
Over five years in the majors, Manaea has a 39-31 record with a 3.85 ERA and 447 strikeouts over 547.2 innings while never pitching over 161 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Manaea’s ERA (4.50) weakness last year pushes back his ADP (239) in 2021. He falls into the serviceable arm category with limited upside in strikeouts. His command gives him an edge in WHIP, which tends to be tougher to find later in drafts. Manaea’s floor should be a 3.75 ERA with 150 strikeouts.
3. SP Frankie Montas
The mystery of fantasy baseball lies in the question of how a 2.63 ERA, 1.115 WHIP, and 103 strikeouts over 96 innings turns into a 5.50 ERA, 1.509 WHIP, and 60 strikeouts over 53 innings in one season.
Montas rode his high-flying new split-finger fastball (1.52 BAA) to a remarkable breakthrough season in 2019. His ability to throw more strikes helped his confidence and the value of his secondary pitches.
In 2020, he walked 3.9 batters per nine (2.2 in 2019). His weaker command led to a jump in home runs allowed (1.7 per nine innings – 0.8 in 2019) while being easier to hit (.270 BAA – .230 BAA in 2019).
His arm looked fine after his first four starts (four runs and 23 base runners over 23 innings with 23 strikeouts). In his next outing, the Diamondbacks drilled him for nine runs, 10 baserunners, and two home runs over 1.2 innings) setting the tone for a lousy six-game stretch (10.88 ERA and 2.125 WHIP). Over this span, Montas allowed 10 home runs over 24 innings.
Just to tease fantasy owners, Montas tossed six shutout innings with 13 strikeouts in his final start of the year.
His AFB (96.3) remained an edge in velocity, but it was lower than 2019 (97.2 MPH). Montas lost the feel for his split-finger fastball (.333 BAA) while batters drilled his sinker (.344 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Montas has a 4.21 ERA and 1.395 WHIP in his career in the majors, with only slightly better success in the minors (4.00 ERA and 1.273 WHIP). This season’s ADP (157) is tied more to 2019 than his disastrous 2020. There is no way I want to add his WHIP risk as my second or third starter, depending on the format. It’s all about better command and rediscovering his split-finger fastball. Only a risk/reward play, and I rate the risk as a more significant part of the equation.
4. SP Chris Bassitt
Bassitt pitched well in his minor league career (33-25 with a 3.50 ERA and 501 strikeouts over 519.1 innings) while struggling to stay healthy and prove his worth in the majors.
Over the last two seasons with Oakland, he went 15-7 with a 3.35 ERA and 196 strikeouts over 207 innings. His growth came from a lower walk rate (2.8) and an improved strikeout rate (8.5).
In 2020, Bassitt allowed one run or fewer in seven of his 11 starts. He struggled over his last four games in August (5.95 ERA and 1.525 WHIP) before ending the season with one run allowed over 26.1 innings with 25 strikeouts.
Bassitt finished with a slight dip in his fastball (93.8 MPH). Batters had a tough time vs. his four-seamer (.180 BAA), curveball (.129 BAA), and show-me slider (.182 BAA) while losing the feel of his changeup (.286 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Bassitt has settled in a steady back end arm that should help in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. His next step is proving he can pitch at a high level over 32 starts. His ADP (186) puts him in a problematic range as many fantasy owners are looking for their second closer, first catcher, or a balanced middle infielder from rounds 11 to 15. I would be happy with a 3.50 ERA, and 150 strikeouts with 180 innings pitched.
5. SP Mike Fiers
Over the last three seasons, Fiers saw his ERA rise each year (3.56, 3.90, and 4.58). He went 33-15 over this stretch with a 3.85 ERA and 302 strikeouts over 415.2 innings.
Fiers has a fading strikeout rate (5.6), and home runs allowed (1.5) continue to be an issue.
His AFB (88.5) was a career-low. He had the most success with his curveball (.130 BAA) while ditching his slider and changeup. His cutter (.294 BAA) and split-finger fastball (.340 BAA) has losing value.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fiers is a manageable arm when throwing the ball well at home (9-2 with 2.90 ERA in 2019 and 2-1 with a 6.20 ERA in 2020). Only in play as a double starter in deep leagues.
SP A.J. Puk
The A's selected Puk sixth overall in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft.
After posting a 4.03 ERA and 184 strikeouts over 124 innings at High A and AA in 2017, he blew out his left elbow in April of 2018, which led to TJ surgery.
Puk struggled over his first five games in 2019 (six runs and 15 baserunners over 8.1 innings with 13 strikeouts) at High A and AA. He posted a 4.24 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 17 innings over his next 13 games before a late-August call-up to the majors.
With Oakland, Puk had a 3.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 11.1 innings. A left shoulder injury that required surgery cost him all of the 2020 season.
His AFB (97.5) came in better than Jesus Luzardo while working basically with a slider (.214 BAA) as his second pitch. His changeup will be more in play as a starter, but it is trailing.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Puk has an explosive arm, but his walk rate (3.4 in the minors) sets the tone for his value early in his career. I’m thinking of a Robby Ray type arm out of the gate, which means WHIP risk and lack of length in games. Wins will also be an issue, but Puk should offer value in strikeouts. Puk will be found in the free-agent pool in 12-team leagues based on his early ADP (381). He needs to show it on the field before I start chasing his strikeouts.
SP James Kaprielian
The Yankees drafted Kaprielian in the first round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft. From 2015 and 2016, he made only eight appearances (2.45 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 29.1 innings) due to a right elbow injury that didn’t have TJ surgery until April of 2017.
In 2018 after a trade to the A's, Kaprielian developed a right shoulder issue followed by a lat injury in February of 2019. He finally returned to the mound on May 15 at High A. Over his first 11 games, Kaprielian posted a 4.46 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 36.1 innings. His arm made a step forward over eight games between AA and AAA (1.71 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 31.2 innings).
Last season Oakland gave him two appearances out of the bullpen (three runs, six base runners, and two home runs over 3.2 innings), which showed Kaprielian still needs time to develop.
He throws a mid-90s fastball with an upside curveball. Both his slider and changeup projected well coming into the minors.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kaprielian doesn’t have much of a resume with plenty of injury risk, but he should start the year at AAA with a chance to reach the majors in some way in 2021.
SP Daulton Jefferies
After a successful college career (15-13 with a 2.77 ERA and 186 strikeouts over 221.1 innings), Jefferies blew out his right elbow in 2017, leading to TJ surgery and two wasted seasons.
Oakland worked him as a starter and reliever in 2019 at High A and AA. He finished with a 3.42 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 79 innings. His command (1.1 walks per nine) has been exceptional in his limited innings (99.1) in the minors while adding a high strikeout rate (11.0).
His fastball has mid-90s upside. Jefferies also throws a plus changeup and upside slider.
The A’s gave him one appearance in 2020, which led to a disaster showing (five runs, seven base runners, and two home runs over two innings).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With no experience at AAA, Jefferies will start the season in the minors. The combination of his command and upside in strikeouts bodes well for his future in Oakland. Possible draft and hold if the spring reports are positive.
CL Trevor Rosenthal
Rosenthal flashed electric upside in 2013 (2.63 ERA and 108 strikeouts over 75.1 innings) as a setup man but battled his command over the next four seasons (5.4 walks per nine). He missed all of 2018 with a right elbow injury that required TJ surgery in August of 2017.
He picked up 93 saves in 2014 and 2015 before battling his health in 2016 and 2017 (3.89 ERA and 132 strikeouts over 88 innings).
Last year his arm looked electric over 23.2 innings (1.90 ERA and 38 strikeouts) while converting 11 of his 12 saves. Rosenthal walked 3.0 batters per nine innings.
His AFB (98.1) remains elite while featuring a plus changeup (no hits allowed over 43 pitches) and slider (.154) of value. Batters hit .209 against his four-seam fastball.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Rosenthal has a short resume in his rebound season, but he has the talent and upside to be a top 10 closer in 2021. His strikeout rate (14.5) gives him a chance at 100-plus strikeouts with 70 appearances. His February ADP is 164.
RP Lou Trivino
Trivino doesn’t have the best resume to close for Oakland in 2021, but he does have some closing experience.
He started his career in the minors as a starter before converting to the bullpen in 2016. Over six seasons on the farm, he went 30-27 with a 3.93 ERA, 356 strikeouts, and nine saves over 423.2 innings. Trivino had a high walk rate (3.3) with a dull strikeout rate (7.6).
In 2018 with the A’s, he went 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA, 82 strikeouts, and four saves over 74 innings. After a poor 2019 season (5.25 ERA and 1.533 WHIP), Trivino regained some momentum last year (3.86 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 23.1 innings).
His AFB (95.8) had more velocity in 2018 (98.2 MPH) and 2019 (97.8 MPH). Trivino had a plus cutter in (.131 BAA) that also played well in 2020 (.100 BAA). His low-volume curveball (no hits on 45 pitches) and show-me changeup (no hits on 29 pitches) also created an edge. Based on his sinker's failure (.302, .476, and .393 BAA), I would like to see him focus on his four-seam fastball (.160 BAA in 2020).
To survive late in games, Trivino needs to lower his walk rate (4.1 in his career with Oakland) and lower the damage in home runs allowed (1.2 per nine in 2020).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The combination of a plus velocity fastball and elite cutter works well in the ninth inning with better command. Trivino has the type of arm that could see a significant jump in his strikeout rate with more strikes thrown. His ADP (587) puts him well into the free-agent pool in most fantasy formats. I would keep a close eye on his usage and command in spring training. For now, Trivino only has setup value for the A’s bullpen.
RP J.B. Wendelken
Based on career minor league resume (25-23 with a 4.11 ERA, 487 strikeouts, and 33 saves), Wendelken may make more sense as the top flier closing option for the A’s in 2021. His walk rate (3.0) was reasonable in the minors, with a competitive strikeout rate (10.0).
Over the last three seasons with Oakland, he went 4-2 with 2.30 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 74.1 innings. His success in 2020 (1.80 ERA, 1.83 BAA, and 31 strikeouts over 25 innings) points to a late-inning role this year.
His AFB (94.9) has been in a tight range over the last three years with A’s. Batters struggled to hit his four-seam fastball (.146 BAA) and slider (.226 BAA) while also using a minimal sinker (.200 BAA) and changeup (.167 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (471) is over 100 picks earlier than Lou Trivino, so fantasy owners in the high-stakes believed he was the early favorite for saves for Oakland (no longer relevant with Trevor Rosenthal signing).
RP Wandisson Charles
Charles has only pitched 170.1 over his five seasons in the minors with a 12-6 record, 4.28 ERA, and 226 strikeouts. Throwing strikes has been a problem (walk rate – 7.9), but he will get strikeouts (11.9 per nine).
His arm did show growth in 2019 between A, High A, and AA (4-0 with a 2.89 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 62.1 innings). Charles has nine career saves.
With a fastball that can reach 100 MPH and a developing slider, Charles has a late-inning feel.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The A’s will need to retool their bullpen in 2021, and Charles is just a name to follow. His command is a significant issue, but his arm could come quickly with more strikes thrown. Charles is more of a wild card than a fantasy investment.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Outlooks