It's a pretty clear chain of events. The 2021 Oakland Athletics bought hard at the trade deadline, cratered in late August and early September and missed the playoffs. Then they didn't re-sign any of the deadline acquisitions, traded their big pieces away and started over. Therefore, the 2022 Oakland Athletics were the worst team in the AL. Simple cause and effect.
I don't have a ton for Uncustomed Heroes this year, because there weren't a ton of great players on this team, so here are the highlights.
Stephen Vogt returned to Oakland and played his final season in A's green, as one of the few draws for diehard fans. In 70 games he hit 23 RBIs and 7 home runs, including a classic one in his final game, announced by his kids. What a way to end a career. Vogt was awesome, one of those guys that was always fun in any uniform.
In exchange for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino, the A's received, amongst other things, two pitchers from the Yankees. One was J.P. Sears, and he came off pretty well in early starts. The other was the more-touted prospect, Ken Waldichuk, who was called up in September and had a 4.93 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 7 starts.
2023 Prediction: Won't be a shoo-in for an opening day starting rotation spot, but will start 20 days and will look like an answer going into 2024.
Speaking of former Yankee farmhands, Dermis Garcia spent about 7 years in the Yanks' system, was let go after the 2021 season and picked up by Oakland on a flier. Garcia, a 24-year-old, was coming off a 2021 where he hit 31 home runs as a member of the Somerset Patriots, and was already hitting .264 with 15 homers by the time the A's called him up. As a 1B-DH type, Garcia hit 20 RBIs and 5 home runs, and came off as a nice power bat going forward for Oakland.
2023 Prediction: 25-homer year easily. With Sean Murphy likely headed somewhere in trades, Garcia might be a holdover bat til the A's figure out who they're gonna be.
While the big addition at the time for the A's after trading Matt Olson was Cristian Pache, the Braves were also willing to part with their 2019 1st rounder Shea Langeliers. Upon a promotion in 2022, Langeliers' bat was very quickly the key piece, with 22 RBIs and 6 homers in 40 games. A lot of his numbers do speak to rookie inexperience, but a full season picture of the catching prospect might be a bit clearer.
2023 Prediction: Again, thinking Murphy's not an A next year, but if this happens, Langeliers isn't gonna be relied upon to start behind the plate immediately, and they'll get a veteran to phase out as the year goes on, like Robinson Chirinos in Baltimore this year. Once Langeliers figures out the majors he'll be THE star for the A's.
Tomorrow, a surprisingly small amount of Blue Jays.