Sonny Gray Only Sure Thing In A’s Rotation
By Matt Furtado/Sports 1140 KHTK February 16, 2016 1:31 PM
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Pitchers and catchers for the Oakland Athletics report for Spring Training on February 21 with just one of the team’s five starting rotation spots filled up.
The A’s have always been able to push out good starting rotations despite trading away all star pitchers seemingly every year, but this season could be different.
Other than the team’s ace, Sonny Gray, the Athletics’ starting rotation is a mystery.
The pitchers in line to fill the remaining four spots are ones Athletics fans should remember, but not necessarily be excited about.
Oakland will welcome back two young starters who showed signs of good pitching last season, but had their year cut short because of injuries.
Jesse Hahn, 26, and Kendall Graveman, 25, were both in the rotation last season.
Hahn was the more impressive pitcher of the two. He had a record of 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in just 16 starts. His season ended early because of a forearm injury, but all signs point to the right-handed pitcher being fully healthy to start spring training.
Hahn will most likely start the season as the team’s number three starter, but is expected to evolve into a number two type pitcher.
Graveman, on the other hand, was not nearly as impressive in 2015. He was sent back and forth between AAA and the big leagues while he searched for his control.
The sinker-ball pitcher started five more games than Hahn, but ended the season with the same win total. He should start the season at the back end of the Athletics rotation, but if he wants to maintain the spot, he will need produce a better than his 4.05 ERA in 2015.
The pitcher the Athletics expect to fill the number two spot in the rotation is one the team signed as a free agent this past off-season.
Rich Hill, 35, has started at least 10 games in just three out of his eleven major league seasons. He has been primarily a reliever, but the A’s seem to think he will be more of an asset in the rotation.
Last season, Hill pitched and started in just four games for the Boston Red Sox, but he had an impressive 1.55 ERA.
As of right now, Hill is the only left-handed starting pitcher the Athletics have who could be in contention for a rotation spot.
Signing Hill to a one-year, $6 million deal is a win-win for the A’s. They are hoping he can be a less-expensive version of Scott Kazmir, but if it doesn’t work out in the rotation, the team can put him into a much improved bullpen.
Chris Bassitt, 26, is another pitcher A’s fans should remember from last season. The 6-foot-5 lanky right-hander pitched well in his 13 starts last season, but just couldn’t pull out the wins.
He went 1-8 with a 3.56 ERA last season. He has a lot of movement on his pitches. His style of pitching matches up well with a guy like Justin Masterson.
He should earn the last spot in the Athletics’ rotation, mainly because they don’t have very many options.
Barring any injuries, the rotation should look a little something like this:
- Sonny Gray
- Rich Hill
- Jesse Hahn
- Kendall Graveman
- Chris Bassitt
The only dependable starter is Gray. He had a fantastic 2015 season. He won just 14 games largely due to the A’s lack of offense and awful bullpen. He finished with a 2.73 ERA and was one of the finalists for the American League Cy Young Award.
He should continue to develop into one of the game’s best starting pitchers.