Athletics

Report: A's may be leaning toward Laney College site for new ballpark

Report: A's may be leaning toward Laney College site for new ballpark

As the summer unfolds, the speculation heats up about which location in Oakland the A’s will pick to build their new ballpark.

A story Monday from the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the A’s appear to be leaning toward a site next to Laney College and near Lake Merritt, where the offices of the Peralta Community College District sit.

A’s president Dave Kaval maintains that the team will announce a ballpark location during this calendar year, but he has not publicly disclosed a preferred site. The team is considering the Laney site, Howard Terminal and the current Coliseum, which appears the least likely of the three because of its isolated location.

An advantage the Laney site would have over Howard Terminal is its close proximity to the Lake Merritt BART station. The nearest BART station to Howard Terminal is roughly a mile away.

If the A’s do indeed prefer Laney, it means their concerns over a lack of parking space in that area aren’t an overriding factor. Kaval told NBC Sports California during the spring that the team was surveying fans to get a feel for their preferred mode of transportation to get to A’s games.

The more fans that would be inclined to BART to games at a potential Laney ballpark site, the better.

But it’s not as simple as the A’s selecting Laney and sticking a shovel in the ground, if indeed that’s the spot they want. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf has long been outspoken for her preference that the A’s build at Howard Terminal. And, as the Chronicle story points out, an attempt to build at Laney could bring a fight from faculty and students.

Wherever the A’s ultimately build in Oakland, they also have a vision of building surrounding development around the ballpark to attract fans even when a baseball game isn’t taking place.

A club statement sent to NBC Sports California read:

“We want to make sure our ballpark integrates into the community and are focused on the ballpark village concept. In addition to a ballpark, the village will include residential, retail, restaurants and open space.”

A's 2019 projections: Team could rely heavily on pitcher Daniel Mengden

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USATSI

A's 2019 projections: Team could rely heavily on pitcher Daniel Mengden

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Daniel Mengden has a golden opportunity in front of him this season. The 25-year-old right-hander will almost certainly earn a spot in the A's starting rotation out of spring training and will have a chance to remain there all year.

If the season started today, Mengden would likely slot in as Oakland's number two starter behind only veteran Mike Fiers. While the A's figure to add at least one more starting pitcher this offseason, they will still rely heavily on Mengden, especially in the first half of the season.

Mengden has shown flashes of brilliance in three Major League seasons but has lacked consistency. That was certainly the case last year when he posted a spectacular 1.51 ERA in the month of May but followed it up with an 11.57 ERA in June.

Overall last season, Mengden went 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 22 games, including 17 starts. For his career, he is 12-17 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Mengden was demoted to Triple-A following his rough June but pitched well when he was recalled in August. In six appearances down the stretch, he compiled a 2.52 ERA.

When Mengden is at his best, he limits walks and induces ground balls. He runs into trouble when he falls behind in counts as he doesn't have overpowering stuff.

Baseball Reference projects Mengden to go 7-7 next season with a 4.08 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. They predict him to pitch 117 innings with 93 strikeouts and 34 walks.

We believe Mengden will put together the best season of his career. With three years under his belt, he has learned how to attack Major League hitters and should be comfortable in all situations.

[RELATED: Franklin Barreto could make impact in 2019]

Mengden has shown he can dominate big league hitters on a given night, recording complete game shutouts each of the last two seasons. The key for him in 2019 will be consistency.

Projection: 11-7, 3.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 104 K, 34 BB, 141 IP

A's 2019 projections: Mike Fiers looks to repeat strong performance

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USATSI

A's 2019 projections: Mike Fiers looks to repeat strong performance

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

When the A's non-tendered Mike Fiers in November, it seemingly marked the end of his tenure in green and gold. But just a few weeks later, Oakland re-signed the veteran right-hander to a two-year, $14.1 million deal, addressing their need for starting pitching.

Fiers performed well last year after coming over from the Tigers. The 33-year-old made 10 appearances with Oakland, including nine starts, going 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. For the season, Fiers went 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 172 innings. In eight career seasons, he has an ERA of 4.04.

Fiers was especially effective at the Oakland Coliseum, going 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in six starts. While he is not necessarily a strikeout pitcher, he does a great job limiting walks and should benefit from the A's solid defense behind him.

Baseball Reference projects Fiers to go 10-9 next season with a 4.22 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. They also predict 139 strikeouts in 160 innings.

We expect better numbers than that for Fiers, who will anchor the A's rotation, especially during the first half of the season. Although he allows a high percentage of fly balls, pitching at the Coliseum will benefit him, as will Oakland's stellar defense.

[RELATED: Fiers' two-year contract makes A's look like geniuses]

Last year marked Fiers' best season since 2014 when he posted an ERA of 2.13 with Milwaukee. He seems to be getting better with age as he continues to hone his command and mix his pitches. We see no reason for that to change next season.

Projection: 13-8, 3.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 141 K, 171 IP