Picturing the 2009 Oakland Athletics Starting Lineup on Opening Day
The 2009 seasons should be exciting for the Oakland Athletics. As their roster is more than likely set for the regular season with two key acquisitions the A's should compete for the A.L. West title again.
It will be tough but if the A's can stay healthy they definitely have the chance to do it. So, with that in mind this slideshow is going to present what the opening day starting lineup should be.
Center Field: Ryan Sweeney
If it wasn't for injuries Ryan Sweeney was the best Oakland A's player last year at the plate and also in the field. He showed that he has plenty of range in the outfield and will move over to center field this year. I can still see Bob Geren employing Rajai Davis in Center and moving Sweeney to Left Field in place of Cust for defensive purposes.
Second Base: Mark Ellis
One of if not the most underrated second basemen in baseball. Mark Ellis should have a much better year and be a staple in the second slot for the A's and with the lineup protection in the lineup this year he may go back to the player of two years ago where he hit .276 with 19 homers.
Designated Hitter: Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi has returned to the Oakland A's after leaving for the New York Yankees. Now, he fills a glaring need in the lineup someone with power and who has the ability to take pitches. He will hit better than he did last year but I'm not expecting a .300 season from him either although it could happen because he's not going to have the New York media all over him. I would be happy with him hitting .265-.280
Right Field: Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday who was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in a major trade this off season gives the A's a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup not seen since Jermaine Dye was on the club. Again his batting average won't be as high as it was in Colorado, but he will definitely be a solid hitter and he has the big bat that the A's desperately needed.
Left Field: Jack Cust
Jack Cust will drop down to fifth in the order for the A's. He's definitely a power threat to go deep at anytime, but with the addition of Giambi I believe that Cust will cut down on taking so many good pitches and start hitting those instead and his batting average will go up from what it was. He will definitely strike out though but he will also walk as well.
Catcher: Kurt Suzuki
Kurt Suzuki is one of the better catchers in the American League. He's a guy who will be in the lineup day in and day out. He showed that he can handle the rigors of calling a game and that he can hit. I believe with the addition on offense he will finally break into double digits in home runs and drive in 60-75 runs while batting around .280.
Third Base: Eric Chavez
It's a shame that Eric Chavez has had to battle so many injuries the past couple of years. Not only that he could be considered one of the best defensive players at the position in Major League history. I'm hoping that he can come back healthy from his surgery if not Jack Hannahan will be starting in his place. If Chavy can return to his form on offense I can see him taking Cust's place at the 5th spot in the lineup.
Shortstop: Bobby Crosby
Bobby Crosby will be the opening day shortstop for the A's. He can build on the fact that last season was one of his healthiest seasons in the big leagues. He will need to prove to the A's he can hit for a higher average otherwise he could be traded during the season or not be resigned considering he is a free agent at the end of the year.
First Base: Daric Barton
Not many first basemen will be batting ninth in the league, but this is the case for Daric Barton. He struggled tremendously at the bat even though he came in with being one of the complete hitters in the minors and his little time up before the 2008 season began.
He struggled mightily although he did improve his defense, he now needs to show that he can hit the ball. Look for him to improve his average to where it should be around .300 and look for him to not try to pull the ball as much and start hitting the ball into the gaps which was the type of hitter he was in the minors and in the majors when he started off really well at the end of the 2007 season.
I can see him as one of the factors for the A's for them to be successful especially if Eric Chavez isn't 100 percent ready to go to start the season.
Opening Day Starting Pitcher: Justin Duschscherer
Justin Duchscherer of course is the staff ace currently and he will get the ball on opening day. Duchscherer isn't going to overpower anyone but he will hit the corners and keep hitters off balance.