The Oakland Athletics lost to the New York Yankees in this year’s AL Wild Card Game. With a barrage of injuries headed into the 2019 season, it seems unlikely that the A’s will make the playoffs next season. However, with a surge of young talent, the Atheltics have a chance to shine in 2020.
The Oakland Athletics surprised many people when they slipped into the 2018 postseason, especially after a slow opening to the season. Matters seemed to get worse when Bob Melvin was forced to rely on three older free-agent pitchers to support the rotation. So why did the Athletics make the postseason if their team was oft injured and filled with replacement players? They had an extremely cohesive clubhouse and the arrival of a few budding stars propelled hem to success.
The 2019 season is likely to be difficult for the Athletics. Sean Manaea, arguably the ace of the rotation, will be out the entire season after sustaining an injury in September. Top prospect AJ Puk, who underwent Tommy John surgery at the start of the 2018 season, is unlikely to pitch in the majors next season. The same surgery was also given to Kendall Graveman and Daniel Gosset, who are also not expected to pitch in 2019. Jharel Cotton, who underwent Tommy John surgery around the same time Puk did, is unlikely to pitch at the start of the season. Shawn Kelley and Jeurys Familia, two dominant relievers the A’s acquired for their postseason push, are likely to leave as free agents. These issues only represent the problems the pitching staff will overcome. The position players will also be impacted this offseason, with veteran presences like Jonathan Lucroy likely taking his talents elsewhere.
Despite the apparent setbacks the A’s will take next season, they should be primed for a run for the postseason in 2020. With an abundance of players returning from injury and an influx of young talent, the A’s might be the dark horse for the World Series yet again in 2020.