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MESA, Ariz. — The A’s have played a grand total of four games (five if you include a rainout) and things have already changed since our last roster prediction.
This season’s roster seems to be a bit easier to predict than last year’s, but there are still a couple of ongoing competitions at certain spots.
The return of Brett Anderson along with arrivals of Nick Hundley and Robbie Grossman make things a little more interesting, so let’s see how things have changed from our first roster prediction of the spring.
New roster projections are updated every two weeks.
Fiers hasn’t even pitched a single inning of Cactus League baseball. He’ll get his first outing Tuesday against the Angels, but Fiers’ spot in the rotation is secure barring injury. He’ll likely begin the year as the No. 1 starter and serve as a leader of the staff.
Estrada has only pitched in simulated games to this point in spring, but his spot is also secure in the rotation.
Coming off an injury-riddled 2018, Estrada is looking for a bounce-back year now with better health along with a move to the more pitcher-friendly Coliseum.
Speaking of bounce back years, Anderson’s solid season with the A’s last year led to his re-signing to a one-year deal shortly after we posted our first roster prediction two weeks ago.
You always worry about injuries with Anderson, but he’s a left-hander, which the A’s have a need for.
Mengden’s one inning of work in his spring debut wasn’t great as he allowed two runs, but it’s one outing. His performance last season puts him in a good position to nab a spot in the starting rotation come Opening Day.
Treinen picked up where he left off in his first spring appearance. He struck out two of three batters faced in his inning of work, pumping his fastball up to 99 mph.
Trivino looked sharp in his first spring outing, showing off his nasty cutter against the White Sox. He’ll likely enter the season as the set-up man to Treinen.
He’ll be 42 when the regular season begins, but the A’s believe Rodney still has something left in the tank. He’ll have a late-inning role in the A’s bullpen.
Soria has been slowed down this spring by a right hip issue, but his spring debut is expected at some point this week. He was signed to a two-year deal this offseason and will factor in as a key piece in the back end of the bullpen.
Petit quietly got the job done all season last year, and while his role is more of a middle innings-type, he’s still a reliable option for A’s manager Bob Melvin.
Not only can Buchter be used against tough lefties, but he also proved his worth against some right-handers over the 2018 season. The left-hander will be depended on as a valuable piece in the A’s bullpen this season.
The A’s have been missing a true situational left specialist all last year and Blevins fits the bill. He comes into camp on a minor league deal, but Blevins should be able to lock down a spot in spring with a solid performance.
A valuable piece for the A’s not only in the bullpen but also as the opener at times, Hendriks has a pretty secure spot on this roster.
Montas was impressive in his spring debut against the Diamondbacks, tossing two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He’s got some tough competition with the likes of top prospect Jesus Luzardo, Paul Blackburn and Chris Bassitt, but Montas’ lack of minor league options could help him start the year with Oakland. He’s also added a splitter to his repertoire of pitches and will look to improve it as spring goes on.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said the club likes the idea of going with a platoon role at catcher which almost certainly guarantees the left-handed hitting Herrmann’s spot on the roster.
Hundley was signed to a minor league deal shortly after we released our first batch of predictions. A veteran who backed up Buster Posey in San Francisco over the past two seasons, Hundley enters camp with a good shot to make the club. But Josh Phegley is his main competition this spring.
Coming off a year in which he won his first Gold Glove while crushing 29 home runs, Olson can easily slot in as the everyday first baseman.
Once considered the top prospect in all of baseball, Profar struggled to live up to that hype, but he did show something with the Rangers last year as he blasted a career-high 20 home runs. Profar will enter the season as the everyday second baseman.
Showing much-improved defense as he finished the year a finalist for a Gold Glove at shortstop, Semien can be counted on as the A’s regular shortstop for 2019 as long as he remains healthy.
Chapman makes his spring debut Tuesday against the Angels as the A’s designated hitter. Fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, the Gold Glove third baseman is primed to have a breakout season as he looks to establish himself as a legit MVP candidate.
Pinder has been getting plenty of playing time at third base with Chapman out in spring, but he’ll play all over the place. Franklin Barreto is looking to improve is versatility by playing in the outfield this spring, but Pinder currently has a hold on this spot.
The A’s designated hitter has been slowed by a left calf strain this spring, but Melvin does not seem too worried. Expect the slugger back soon and ready to continue in his cleanup spot.
Laureano is batting .125 early on this spring but it doesn’t mean much. He’s got the center field job locked down to begin the regular season.
He may not get the publicity of a Khris Davis or Matt Chapman, but Piscotty quietly mashed a career-high 27 home runs last season. He enters 2019 with the right field job firmly in hand.
The A’s believe they found a steal with Grossman, who remained a free agent well into spring training and joined on a one-year deal. He gets on base a lot, which the A’s love, and has been leading off most games in the Cactus League so far.
Canha will likely enter the year in some type of a semi-platoon with the switch-hitting Grossman.