To celebrate my 50th article here on Bleacher Report, here are the top three things I'd like to see from the Oakland A's in 2010.
1. A's Stay Healthy in '10
It's no secret that the A's have had bad luck when it comes to their health. From Justin Duchscherer to Eric Chavez, the A's just can't seem to stay healthy.
In the last three years, 3B Eric Chavez has played in only 121 games. On average during those games, he hit .196/.243/.324. Compare those numbers to his career numbers of .268/.345/.482 and you get a sense of what kind of player Chavez used to be.
With Kevin Kouzmanoff, who's coming off a .255/.302/.420 season with 15 homers and 88 RBI, taking over for Chavez at third, A's fans shouldn't shouldn't worry about a lack of production from the hot-corner.
But now that there's less pressure on Chavez, hopefully he'll be able to contribute to the team in some capacity as a utility player. He still has some pop left in his bat, which could be useful once or twice a week for the A's.
The A's rarely dish out big money, but they did when they decided to bring in All-Star pitcher Ben Sheets. The A's signed Sheets to a one-year, $10 million contract. The move was surprising, considering that Sheets did not throw a single pitch for Milwaukee in 2009.
But if Sheets is healthy, which he appears to be, the A's starting rotation has potential to be very good.
2. A's Offense Provides Some Fireworks
The A's as a team in 2009 hit .262/.328/.397 and scored 759 runs. The offense failed to support the pitching staff that compiled a team ERA of 4.26 (third in AL). And as a result, the A's were outscored by opponents, 759 to 761.
If the A's are to have any success in 2010, they'll have to figure out a way to "manufacture" runs, considering the lack of significant power in the lineup.
As a fan of the A's, I hope to see more fireworks this season. As much as I like tight, nail biting games, watching the A's blowout an opponent from time to time wouldn't be bad.
Top hitting prospects Michael Taylor (.312/.383/.515 career hitter in minors) and Chris Carter are expected to open up in AAA. So A's fans will have to sit tight for awhile until these sluggers hit the big leagues.
I'm not asking for a lot, but if Seattle can put together an 85 win season despite scoring only 640 runs (14th in AL) while hitting .258/.314/.402, the A's should at least perform at a .500 level.
3. Brett Anderson Emerges
Brett Anderson had a rough time during his first three months in the majors. His ERA was 5.46 (April-June).
But from July to the end of the season, Anderson strung together an impressive second half where he won seven games and compiled a 2.93 ERA. He improved in the second half of the '09 season, and as a result many analysts are predicting a breakout season for Anderson in 2010.
With a nice curveball and a solid K/BB ratio, Anderson should be a top-10 pitcher in 2010.
Side Note: It's been extremely fun being a featured columnist for the A's, and I thank those who've supported me. I currently accepted a position with FanSided to become lead blogger for the A's. I'll still write for the MLB here on B/R, but my A's articles will be less frequent.
You can check me out on www.swinginas.com! Thanks for the support!