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2019 A’s 25-man roster prediction 3.0: Not the rotation you expected

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s starting rotation is still not completely set but we now have a pretty good idea of how it might shape out.
Daniel Mengden and Paul Blackburn will not be part of that rotation. Mengden was thought to have a lock on a rotation spot and Blackburn was in the mix for the final slot. But both were sent down over the past couple of days.
There was also a battle brewing for the starting catcher job, but that position also changed from our last roster projection after Chris Herrmann was ruled out for the start of the season after undergoing right knee surgery.
As the A’s prepare to depart the desert for Japan, here’s one final crack at predicting the 25 players for Opening Day at the Coliseum later this month.
Starting pitchers
Mike Fiers
Nobody has seen much of Fiers this spring and the A’s don’t have a problem with that. The right-hander has only pitched one game in the Cactus League as he’s been getting most of his work in over at minor league camp. The reason behind this is Fiers’ security in the rotation. Not only is he in there, but he was recently announced as the Opening Day starter against the Mariners in Japan next week.
Marco Estrada
Estrada has struggled in his two starts this spring, but that doesn’t worry him too much. The right-hander has been using the Cactus League more as a tryout for his new stances he’s working on when coming set on the mound in order to prevent pitch tipping. Estrada has allowed six runs in six innings but he’s still tabbed as the No. 2 starter for the A’s.
Brett Anderson
Anderson compiled a 4.66 ERA in three Cactus League starts. He enters the regular season as the A’s No. 3 starter.
Frankie Montas
Top prospect Jesús Luzardo has been the most impressive pitcher in camp, but Montas is not too far behind. He’s posted a 1.00 ERA over three outings this spring. Combine that along with him being out of minor league options and there is no way the A’s can risk losing the 25-year-old hard-throwing righty to waivers. He will make the club out of spring training.
Aaron Brooks
Like Montas, Brooks is out of options. His numbers haven’t looked as impressive as Montas but the A’s see something in the right-hander that they like. Brooks is out of options, so the club will likely want to see what they have in him before potentially risking him to waivers. Luzardo still has a strong chance for this spot, but right now it seems like he’ll start the regular season at Triple-A and stay there for a month or two.
Relief pitchers
Blake Treinen
Treinen has been pumping his fastball near triple digits this spring. He’s the closer and will look to follow up with another great year after a record-breaking one in 2018.
Lou Trivino
Trivino has been nasty all spring with his devastating cutter. He’s ready for the season and will serve as the set-up man in the bullpen.
Fernando Rodney
Rodney has struggled this spring. But as a veteran who will be the current oldest player in MLB once the season starts, Rodney will get a chance to prove he’s still got it early in the regular season.
Joakim Soria
Soria has looked good this spring as he’s yet to allow a run in five outings. He” slot in somewhere in the back-end, likely as the seventh inning guy before Trivino.
Yusmeiro Petit
Petit’s ERA is 12.46 over five outings. But similar to Rodney, Petit will get the benefit of the doubt and be allowed to pitch his way out of his funk in the regular season.
Ryan Buchter
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.
Jerry Blevins
Blevins was hit hard in the previous outing against the Brewers. He surrendered six runs, including back-to-back home runs, while only recording one out. But the A’s could use a second lefty in the bullpen and Blevins fits that role.
Liam Hendriks
Hendriks has enjoyed success this spring as he rides his new and improved fastball to a 1.59 ERA over six outings. Whether it’s as the opener or middle reliever, he’ll be a solid contributor to the club.
Catchers
Nick Hundley
Hundley has quickly developed camaraderie with all the pitchers on the staff, including Luzardo. His veteran experience will be key as he takes over the bulk of the playing time at catcher.
Josh Phegley
Phegley benefits the most from Herrmann’s injury. He’s had a great spring at the plate and will make the club along with Hundley.
Infielders
Matt Olson
The only question with Olson is where he will hit in the lineup. A’s manager Bob Melvin said he and Stephen Piscotty are the two leaders to get most of their time in the No. 3 spot.
Jurickson Profar
Profar has been fitting in well with his new teammates this spring. He’ll enter the season as the starting second baseman.
Marcus Semien
Semien is swinging the bat well right now, batting .344 in 11 games. He’ll have a hold on the starting shortstop job.
Matt Chapman
Chapman is back in action from offseason shoulder surgery. He’ll bat in the No. 2 spot every day and is expected to be a big part of this A’s offense as a darkhorse MVP candidate.
Utility man
Chad Pinder
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.
Outfielders
Khris Davis
Davis is the last person the A’s worry about when it comes to spring numbers. He hasn’t recorded a hit yet in three Cactus League games, but the A’s believe he will figure it out by the time Opening Day comes around.
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Ramón Laureano
Laureano enters this spring with added muscle he hopes will translate to more power at the plate. He’s got the center field job locked down.
Stephen Piscotty
Piscotty quietly mashed a career-high 27 home runs last season and enters 2019 with the right field job firmly in hand. Now a bit more familiar with the American League, Piscotty’s numbers could get even better.
Robbie Grossman
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 he will lead off a lot of games for the A’s this spring.
Mark Canha
Canha is batting .241 in 12 Cactus League games. He will likely enter the year in some type of a semi-platoon with the switch-hitting Grossman.

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