Athletics

Five A's takeaways in week of MLB simulation, including red-hot start

Five A's takeaways in week of MLB simulation, including red-hot start

The regular season has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so all we have is the next best thing with Baseball-Reference's simulated season.

B-R announced on what would have been MLB’s Opening Day that they are teaming up with Out of the Park Baseball 21. This was a way for fans to continue to get their baseball fix, and B-R made sure to ask those on Twitter for help as well as using artificial intelligence to make trades and transactions throughout the season. 

To that extent, Yasiel Puig is now on the Giants -- so let’s get weird. Reminder, that last part is part of the simulation. Puig is not on the Giants ... at the moment. 

So buckle up. 

Here are five A’s takeaways from the first week of MLB simulation.

Chad Pinder wins 2B role

For Oakland, the first thing of note is the second base situation. 

During spring training, the everyday job at the position was Franklin Barreto’s to lose, and in the sim, it appeared Chad Pinder was getting a bit more time at the position than perhaps we would have anticipated. He even started at second base on “Opening Day,” with Jesús Luzardo starting on the bump.

For now, super-utility guy Pinder is batting .231/.444/.923 with three home runs.

Perhaps this was the right move, after all.

(Yes, I know -- this isn’t real).

Tony Kemp also was looking to be in the second base mix as a lefty platoon bat, and he started in two games and got a couple of hits in seven plate appearances. 

Luzardo, by the way, started in two sim games. In 7 1/3 innings, he struck out 11 and gave up six hits.

Khris Davis back?

A's designated hitter Khris Davis has a couple dingers to his name in the first eight games of the season. He’s not quite hitting .247 yet, but he’ll get there.

Marcus Semien once again won’t sit out

A’s shortstop Marcus Semien is leading the home run category with five(?!), and also is batting .267/.371/.800 in 35 plate appearances.

Semien has started in all eight games thus far, and expect that to be the case throughout the season. He doesn’t know how to sit out.

He told NBC Sports California earlier in the year he spoke to A’s manager Bob Melvin about how it had been a personal career goal of his to start in all 162 games. He did that last season, and perhaps he wants to do it again.

Chris Bassitt is your guy

Another note is Chris Bassitt got the nod as a starter against the Twins. He was a possible guy to round out a six-man rotation, but it appears the team stuck to five. He got the win against Minnesota on Sunday, when he gave up six hits in 6 1/3 frames, his only blemish a home run to Byron Buxton.

Last season, Bassitt graciously took over a bullpen role when Blake Treinen struggled with a back injury, with Liam Hendriks serving as a lights-out closer.

[RELATED: A's-Astros series could have set tone for season]

No A.J. Puk

In additional pitching nuggets, A.J. Puk doesn’t have any action in the simulation thus far this season. He had faced a minor setback during spring training after being shut down due to a mild shoulder strain (this isn’t part of the simulation, this actually happened). An MRI revealed no structural damage at the beginning of March, but it was unclear at that time when he would start throwing again.

Melvin said Puk would work on getting stronger before getting back to throwing again.

For now, the Mariners and the A’s are currently leading the AL West standings with a 7-1 record, and the A's swept the Astros at home. 

Why not?

Watch A's pitcher Jesus Luzardo get fans hyped for 2020 MLB season

Watch A's pitcher Jesus Luzardo get fans hyped for 2020 MLB season

As if A’s fans already weren’t excited for the 2020 MLB season.

Young pitcher Jesus Luzardo released a hype video Sunday that will have Oakland fans salivating.

[RELATED: A's say they deferred Coliseum rent payment for lack of use during coronavirus]

Luzardo has been one of the A’s top prospects for several years, and made his MLB debut on Sept. 11, 2019. The 22-year-old made six relief appearances for Oakland last season, finishing with a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings, striking out 16 batters.

Luzardo is expected to be in Oakland’s rotation whenever the 2020 season gets underway.

Why Rickey Henderson should be seen as one of Michael Jordans of MLB

Why Rickey Henderson should be seen as one of Michael Jordans of MLB

There will never be another Michael Jordan. But there could be those who hold a prominent role in the sport they play. The “Michael Jordan” of baseball, for instance. 

Bleacher Report composed a list of MLB’s G.O.A.T.s, and yes -- Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout was mentioned. You can’t create a greatest of all time without mentioning him, but the A’s have an MJ of their own in Rickey Henderson.

Not only did the BR writeup mention the numbers that put the Man of Steal on the map (1,406 stolen bases, 2,295 runs, both MLB records), but it’s a great reminder of his “greatest of all-time speech.”

That iconic moment wasn’t initially supposed to happen in the way it played out. When he took the microphone after breaking St. Louis Cardinals star Lou Brock’s base-stealing record, Henderson went off-script

The original hand-written speech that was folded up on a piece of paper, and in Rickey's uniform didn’t happen, and it certainly didn’t possess the words saying he was the greatest -- even though the Hall of Famer was. He was caught up in the moment and said the epic words which solidified such a strong career.

[RELATED: Veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon still wants to play]

Henderson simply forgot about the original words.

Henderson also had a certain swag and attitude about him -- remind you of anyone else?