The A's won again today in the Cactus League, defeating the Kansas City Royals, 6-2. That makes the Green and Gold 15-5 so far, with three games left before they head off to Japan. The pitching so far has been outstanding, especially from the young newcomers. They're making me feel rather optimistic about the future. I'm not sure that's a good thing so early in this rebuilding process; it seems like it would be easier on my mental health if I kept my expectations low for awhile. I just need to tell myself, "They've been more lucky than good...more lucky than good...more lucky than good."
That mantra may work to deceive myself, as I still haven't seen any of these young players play; the A's haven't and won't be televised until their major league opener in Tokyo. I did however, watch my first televised baseball game this weekend: Seattle vs. San Francisco.
When you compare the A's to a team like Seattle, it's easy to look at Seattle's best players and see that they're better than Oakland's best players. One of the things I think people who prognosticate fail to consider is how much team depth matters over the course of a season. From roster spots 21-40, I think the A's roster is much stronger than the Mariners'. The A's may be a team utterly devoid of stars, but they're pretty much utterly devoid of scrubs, too. That's probably why PECOTA picks the A's to have a better record than Seattle.
And wow, the Giants are bad. Each player in Oakland's backup infield--Jack Hannahan, Gregorio Petit, Donnie Murphy and Dan Johnson--is probably better than their counterpart in the Giants' starting infield this year. And Barry Zito looked awful. I've argued in the past against using DIPS as a means to measure a unique pitcher like Zito, on the basis that his stuff hadn't changed, and his BABIP record had been consistently low. But judging by Saturday's performance, Barry Zito has suddenly lost 4-5 mph off his fastball...and he didn't have 4-5mph to lose. He better get it back soon, or that contract will kill the Giants for years to come (if it hasn't done so already).
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I have three openings in my very casual, head-to-head Yahoo fantasy league. Draft is tomorrow night, Tuesday at 8pm Pacific. Categories: Hitting/Fielding: R, RBI, HR, SB, OBP, SLG, Assists, Fielding %. Pitching: W, SV, Holds, ERA, WHIP, K. To join click here. League ID: 47499. Password: ken.
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And finally, a (somewhat) Swedish St. Patrick's Day greeting to all the permanent and temporary Irish people out there, from this (somewhat) Swedish blogger: