HomeMLBOakland Athletics Season Preview 2024 Odds and Predictions

    Oakland Athletics Season Preview 2024 Odds and Predictions

    Adam Burke's season preview for the Oakland Athletics as part of the VSiN 2024 MLB Betting Guide.

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    Oakland Athletics 2024 preview

    The Oakland A’s have finally bottomed out. They’ll soon have to sublet a ballpark to play in before moving to Las Vegas and have racked up three straight seasons of attendance well under one million spectators. They’ve won 110 games over the last two seasons. They lost 112 last season alone.

    These have been the two worst consecutive seasons in team history since they played in Philly back in 1915-16 and lost 226 games in a two-year span. They lost 208 games in Kansas City in 1964-65 and moved to Oakland just three years later. Now, they’re hitting rock bottom as they’re about to embark on another relocation.

     

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    The crazy thing is that I think there’s some decent talent in the organization and at the MLB level. There are also a lot of below average players getting way too many reps. The Rangers only won 90 games last season, which is very low for a division champ, and the A’s still finished 40 games behind.

    Expectations are lower than ever here and I think there are a lot of interesting storylines to follow.

    2024 Oakland Athletics Odds

    (odds from DraftKings as of Mar. 11)

    World Series: +40000

    AL Pennant: +20000

    AL West: +20000

    Win Total: 56.5 (-120/+100)

    Make Playoffs: Yes +2500 / No -20000

    Oakland Athletics Preview: Offense

    You could add some extra zeros to the A’s futures odds and the prices still may not be accurate. This was a downright terrible offense last season that ranked 29th or 30th in a lot of key offensive categories. They were 26th, though, by wRC+, as Oakland Coliseum’s miserable hitting conditions allow the offense to be graded on a curve on an annual basis. Given the rumored squatting locations and the eventual move to Vegas, that won’t be the case forever, but it will be again this season.

    The reality is that the A’s exacerbated their lack of contact authority with a 25.1% K%, which was the fourth-highest in baseball. They did steal 149 bases, as manager Mark Kotsay gave most of his guys the green light to run, but that was an attempt to try and find offense from anywhere. The A’s only scored 585 runs. The next closest team was the White Sox with 641.

    The doom and gloom is plenty warranted, but there were three guys that performed well for the A’s and they will be building blocks for this upcoming season as well. Top prospect Zack Gelof posted a 133 wRC+, while still striking out over 27% of the time. He hit 14 homers and stole 14 bags in just 69 games. The second-rounder out of Virginia is just a good all-around ballplayer and a building block moving forward.

    I really like Brent Rooker as well. Rooker hit 30 homers and would’ve had more if he didn’t strike out 32.7% of the time. He posted a 127 wRC+ and it would be easier to live with that type of K% if he walked a little bit more. He’s actually 29 now, so he’s a bit of a late bloomer, but his Hard Hit% and Barrel% are telling me that nothing was fluky about what he did last season.

    Ryan Noda is the other one, as a guy with another big K%, but he walked 15.6% of the time to make up for it. He, too, hit the ball hard with a high Barrel%, but only had 16 homers to show for it. He doesn’t hit enough fly balls for my liking, but that’s something that the A’s can probably work on.

    What the A’s really need to do, though, is find offense from somewhere else. Conner Capel and Manny Pina were the only other hitters with a wRC+ above the league average of 100 and Capel had 86 PA and Pina had 12. There aren’t any position player prospects knocking down the door. Improvement will have to come from the Major League roster.

    Seth Brown had a 116 wRC+ in 2022 before posting just a 92 wRC+ last season. He actually had a higher Hard Hit% in 2023 and a similar Barrel%, so he got a bit unlucky. His xSLG of .450 was 45 points higher than what he actually posted and on par with his xSLG in 2022. He’s a nice bounce back candidate. He missed time with an oblique injury last season and struggled badly early in the year. He had a 101 wRC+ in the second half.

    Oakland needs Shea Langeliers to be around league average and get more from other former top prospects like Esteury Ruiz and JJ Bleday. Perhaps Abraham Toro will figure it out. This will still be a bad offense, but I could see a path to improvement.

    Oakland Athletics Preview: Pitching

    This is the area of the ballclub that I am most interested in. Hopefully Luis Medina won’t be down long with his sprained MCL, as I was really excited to watch him with a little velo bump and the good things he did late in the season. He allowed eight homers in 22.2 innings in May, but only three homers in his last 82 innings to round out the season. There are flaws, but he did some good things to adjust.

    Anyway, for the guys that will start the season on the active roster, there is a lot of work to be done. The A’s had a 5.48 ERA, which was the second-highest in the league behind Colorado, and a 5.05 FIP that was the third-highest. In a traditional sense, there wasn’t a lot to like. But, I remain intrigued.

    I still think JP Sears has an MLB future. He had a 4.54 ERA with a 5.15 FIP in 172.1 innings. He became an extreme fly ball guy last season and yielded 34 homers as a result. He’s said to be working on a sinker this season and I do like the swing-and-miss upside of some of his secondaries. I figured Oakland Coliseum would be a little more forgiving for him than it was. He actually allowed a .303 wOBA and had a 3.97 ERA in the first half, but he had a terrible month of August before getting back on track in the final month of the season. He actually posted a 3.41 ERA in 31.2 September innings.

    Paul Blackburn remains a viable MLB starter and he should have better results this season if his BABIP normalizes. He actually struck out over a batter per inning last season for the first time in his MLB career, but had a .350 BABIP against with a 32.8% Hard Hit% and a 5.7% Barrel%. He got unlucky on batted balls, as the A’s stunk defensively.

    I really like the additions of Ross Stripling and Alex Wood from the other side of the Bay. I don’t quite know what Stripling has left in the tank after some injuries and three rough seasons out of the last four, but this is the type of gamble that a team like the A’s should absolutely embrace. The Giants used Wood a lot for short starts or in a bulk role. I’m not sure it fit him and he is 33 now, but I think there’s some hope that he can be useful as well.

    With Medina out, the focus turns to Joe Boyle, the 24-year-old who made his MLB debut last season after coming over from the Reds in the Sam Moll deal. He’s had decent numbers at some of his minor league stops, but there are some big walk rate concerns. The cash-strapped A’s like to target guys like that. Medina is another one.

    It is a bummer that Ken Waldichuk is out for the year, but I think guys like Joey Estes, Osvaldo Bido, and Hogan Harris will get some looks this season, along with top-100 prospect Royber Salinas. None of these guys are frontline starters, but the A’s could have more than a few league average arms. Again, we’re not talking about a contending team. We’re talking about a team with a win total line that suggests they will lose 105+ games.

    This was among the worst bullpens in baseball last season and probably will be again. Thirty-six different pitchers worked at least an inning in relief, so it was a revolving door, especially when you consider that only five guys had 30+ appearances. Flamethrower Mason Miller should get the first crack at closing. Trevor Gott and Scott Alexander are at least stable veterans around a bunch of unknowns.

    Oakland Athletics Player To Watch

    SP Luis Medina

    I couldn’t go without mentioning Funky Cold Medina again. His 6.2% Barrel% ranked in the 78th percentile and he was heading into the season with added velo to hopefully generate some more swings and misses on the fastball. All five of his pitches had an average exit velo under 90 mph, so while he didn’t grade well overall, he didn’t allow a ton of hard contact on the fastball, which most guys do. His slider Whiff% was excellent and his curveball and changeup were both effective as well.

    When he returns from the knee injury, I’d like to see a higher F-Strike%. He was at 50.9% last season. Obviously Strike 1 is huge for any pitcher, but Medina allowed a .323/.469/.571 slash in plate appearances that started with a 1-0 count compared to an 0-1 count. He allowed a .187/.227/.298 slash in PA with a first-pitch strike.

    League average 1-0: .260/.380/.446

    League average 0-1: .219/.266/.352

    It’s a huge pitch for him and arguably the most important one.

    Oakland Athletics Season Win Total Odds & Prediction

    This is such a low bar for a team to attempt to clear. The idea that the A’s just have to not lose 106 games to get over this number is rather incredible. Granted, the idea that this team may not get over this number is also rather incredible.

    I do like this season win total Over 56.5. I normally don’t play the really low extremes, but this is the lowest I’ve ever seen the bar for a team. The A’s started the season 12-46, so it was insanely ugly from the jump. I’m not going to pretend like it got a lot better, but the A’s played at a 59-win pace over the final four months of the season by going 38-66. Again, that just gives you a frame of reference as to how preposterously bad the start to the season was. It also shows you how hard it is to lose over 100 games.

    I think they have more talent. I think they have less hanging over them with the fate of the team more or less sealed. They gave up 6.8 runs per game in the first 58 games and 5.08 after that. At least they gave themselves more of a chance late in the year and I think they’ll do better at the outset this season.

    Pick: Over 56.5

    Get all of our preseason coverage in the 2024 MLB Betting Guide.

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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