Mar. 4, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Manny Ramirez against the Los Angeles Angels during a spring training game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Baseball-Season Preview: Oakland Athletics

Ironically within months of the movie “Moneyball”, the A’s division rivals did something the A’s can never do. The Angels gave Albert Pujols a trillion dollars (maybe not quite that much), and the Rangers spent over 100 million dollars on on pitcher. Billy Beane then responded by forfeiting the 2012 and 2013 seasons and playing for the 2014 season by trading away many of the established, but still young, players on the roster. Then, just to confuse everyone, the A’s outbid several big market teams for Cuban defector Yeonnis Cespedes and signed some over the hill veterans. The A’s also possess one of the most fragile pitching staffs in baseball, as Brandon McCarthy has always had a glass arm, while Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden can’t seem to stay on the mound. The injury bug has hit them already, as Scott Sizemore is already out for the year. Although I include Manny Ramirez in the projected lineup, he will have to serve a 50 game suspension first. Yeonnis Cespedes will most likely begin the year in the minors, but expect him to have quite a bit of starts before the season is over.

Oakland Athletics left fielder Josh Reddick (center) lenas against the dugout railing during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Key Additions:

Collin Cowgill, Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Johnny Gomes, Tom Milone, Manny Ramirez, Yeonnis Cespedes, Bartolo Colon, Kila Ka’aihue

Key Losses:

Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, David DeJesus, Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Willingham, Ryan Sweeney, Hideki Matsui, Josh Outman

Projected Lineup:

February 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Jemile Weeks (19) runs during spring training at Papago Park Baseball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Jemile Weeks: 88 OPS +, 346th best in the MLB

Coco Crisp: 92 OPS +, 270th

Manny Ramirez: 101 OPS +, 145th

Yeonnis Cespedes: 101 OPS +, 147th

Seth Smith: 97 OPS +, 201st

Daric Barton: 94 OPS +, 251st

Kurt Suzuki: 91 OPS +, 289th

Cliff Pennington: 84 OPS +, 435th

Wes Timmons: 84 OPS +, 427th

Projected Rotation:

September 21, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (32) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Coliseum. Texas defeated Oakland 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Brandon McCarthy: 107 ERA +, 168th best in MLB

Brett Anderson: 107 ERA +, 157th

Dallas Braden: 105 ERA +, 189th

Bartolo Colon 96 ERA +, 310th

Tom Moline: 101 ERA +, 234th/Jarrod Parker 97 ERA +, 297th

Closer Situation:

Brian Fuentes: 104 ERA +, 194th

Grant Balfour: 113 ERA +, 105th

Overrated Player

I am not a big Coco Crisp guy, while he will give you the stolen bases and a good stolen base percentage, but he has all kinds of problems staying healthy and his bat doesn’t quite match his salary.

Underrated Player

Brandon McCarthy has always been able to pitch, his problem in Texas was that he was never able to stay healthy. Assuming that is behind him (as it was in 2011), he will be good again in 2012.

Fantasy Sleeper:

Manny Ramirez. Even though his two brief stops in Chicago and Tampa were disasters and he will be suspended for the first 50 games, I expect Manny Ramirez to hit pretty well for about 60-70 games this year, even in a very tough offensive ballpark.

Tags: 2012 MLB Season 2012 Spring Preview Brandon McCarthy Fantasy Baseball Josh Reddick Manny Ramirez Oakland Athletics

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