The Oakland Athletics haven’t had a true ace in their staff for a number of years. However, the future for the A’s rotation is beginning to look bright.
It’s been a while since the Oakland Athletics have had a true number one “ace.” Despite winning 97 games and going to the American League Wild Card Game in 2018, they didn’t have a true number one pitcher. Sean Manaea threw their most innings with 160 2/3, but he had to have shoulder surgery.
However, he wouldn’t be considered an ace. Despite throwing a no-hitter, his 3.59 ERA, 4.26 FIP, and 6.0 K/9 are not ace material.
You could look at Sonny Gray as their last true number one pitcher, but he was never a true ace, either. His best season in Oakland was 2015, where he pitched in 208 innings and struck out 169 for a 7.3 K/9.
That season he posted a 2.73 ERA and his FIP was at 3.45, and grouping that with his three complete games and two shutouts, he finished third in Cy Young voting, although he did not receive a first-place vote. That was his best season, compiling a 3.9 fWAR. His other seasons in fWAR were 1.5, 3.5, 0.9.
The most recent ace the A’s had was their 11 games of Jon Lester in 2016 when they acquired him for the stretch run. IN his 76 2/3 innings, Lester struck out 71 an posted a 2.35 ERA and 3.13 FIP. Unfortunately, they lost him in free agency to the Cubs.
Aside from that short stretch with Lester, you would have to go back to the Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson days to find an A’s pitcher that was a reliable ace. However, things are looking up for the A’s pitching staff for the future.
Frankie Montas has pitched very well for them thus far. If this breakout is for real, Montas could be a vital part of their pitching staff going forward.
However, they have a couple of prospects that are very highly touted and could be their top two pitchers in the rotation if everything pans out.