When it hits the fan!

Written by Diamond Lil

What the Fans are Saying and Predicting

Now that all the media has chimed in with their predictions, I thought I'd post here some of the predictions from the best and most knowledgeable fans in town. The SF Gate Forum predictions and some opinions.

The predictions for the A's 99 season have actually turned into a contest. The winner will get a National League autographed Rickey Henderson ball.

Rocket 77-84
Jeff Berch 81-81
John Anderson 73-89
Lil 75-87
N. Conroy 75-87
Dan 78-84
Jay 70-91-1
Tom Bowie 74-88
Warren B 79-83
Billy John 87-75
Frank Keenan 86-76
Debbie T. 76-86
Steph 79-83
Karen W 72-90
Rob Richards 82-80
Hegemony 85-77
Sam Kaufman 80-82
Mark Brown 70-92
Ron Cope 80-82
Ken Emery 63-99
Doyle 74-88
Jason Smith 77-85
Lemaster 73-89
Jeff Kapellas 79-83
Ratto 76-86
Michael T. 68-94, 150 errors, 8.3 profit
Tom D. 67-95
Jesse C 86-76
Phil 84-78

And a bit of what the Gate Forum fans were saying just before the season started

Dan:

the best predictor of what's going to happen at one point in time is what happened at the previous point - especially when there hasn't been significant change in the environment. Let's see: Rickey for Raines/Phillips - that may be a wash if they both stay healthy because Phillips can help elsewhere. Blowers/Magadan/Sprague/Mithcell/Abbott/Roberts/Voigt/Bournigal for Chavez/Saenz/Jaha/Velandia/etc. - I think there's an improvement just because of Chavez. Rogers/full career year for Rogers/partial season with little of immediate value in return - huge loss. Candiotti/old for Candiotti/older... Improvement from Haynes and Stein, Heredia instead of Oquist, perhaps a slight improvement from the bullpen - all that will help, but I don't think it will make up for the probable loss of Rogers. IF on top of these changes Hinch, Tejada, and Christenson ALL improve, then maybe you've got a better team overall - but by just a few games.

Jay our dear carmudgeon:

Here are some opinions....as of right now, the A's will struggle to meet last year's 74-88 record. I don't mean to be boring and repetitive, but my prediction of 71-91 last year is looking pretty good for 1999. I'm not saying that's my prediction. The A's have a greater chance of having fewer than 71 victories than they do of having more than 71 !!

Winning is about pitching and defense and pitching is the first form of defense in baseball and THE A'S HAVE NEITHER !! and their offense players pale next to their AL West rivals !!

I can say one positive thing .... They seem to be developing some decent every-day player talent, but that's only about 25 percent of a division-winning equation.

Until they can develop some pitching, we will all suffer MORE consecutive losing seasons.

Still the naysayer

I was actually being mildly optimistic when I said 71 victories last season because it was a 6-win improvement over 1997, well they won 9 more, that was with having career years from Stairs, Giambi and Rogers. I don't think any of those players will replicate their '98 performances in '99. maybe either Giambi or Stairs will, but not both and certainly not Rogers. I'm thinking the A's may be 5 or 6 games worse in '99 than '98...also, the A's have to finish at or above .500 for me to send John D.'s wife flowers.... he should be thumbing through the Yellow Pages as we speak for an FTD florist near him.

da naysayer

And some others more optimistic:

Rob:

I think that the A's will finish 82-80 because I believe our pen is much improved since we got rid of Mohler and Small and start the season with Doug Jones and Tim Worrell. Jones may be an 'old' fellow, but he still can pitch effectively and Worrell has good control and should do well for the A's like he did last season. Worrell held lefties to a .241 avg last season so I think that he can share duties with Buddy Groom instead of trying to find another left hander for the pen. As for the rest of the pen, Taylor is no Rivera, Wettland, or Hoffman, but he is a solid closer. If TJ Matthews can pitch like he did in the 2nd half of the 98 season and be held to just pitching to righties, I think he'll be a nice setup man. Finally, I think that either Oquist or Witasick will win the job as "long reliever." Oquist pitched decent AT TIMES last year so perhaps giving him the old job of Aaron Small could show him some success. Overall, I would rate our bullpen with a "B." Our rotation should be a little better than last year and I think Rogers will pitch good (as long as we have him), Candiotti is really not that bad...there was really only like a month or two last season where he struggled. Haynes won 11 games last year and I think that with that experience, he will win 12-14 games this year with an era around 4.50 or so, which in this day and age is not too shabby for a starter in the AL. Heredia has good control and should be more effective than Mike Oquist. Finally, Blake Stein as our 5th starter can be effective if he did (or does) develop another pitch or two in his repetoire. Basically, I think that the biggest reason for Oakland's record last year was not because of terrible pitching or because we are a small market team, I think that those are factors, but one of the biggest FACTORS is that our defense was awful therefore we gave up a lot of unearned runs. I think it is very evident that our defense will be much better and improved this year, therefore, our pitching will have a little more of an 'advantage' if you want to call it that. As for the hitting aspect, the A's do have a solid lineup with a fun team to watch!

Two posters made a bet:

John and Jay will send flowers to the other's wife/girlfriend if they lose the bet: Our bet BTW is 81-81 or better, I win; 73-89 or worse, you win. Anything inbetween is a push. I will save this post and resend it Oct 1st.

And finally Dan makes a suggestion for the new ownership which I second:

The first day of new ownership should be a "welcome back" party bringing back every available player from the championship years - nothing better to let the fans know that change is on the way. I just hope it can happen this year so Catfish can be the star.

by Diamond Lil

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