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While we await news on the upcoming MLB season, we're sifting through the best player props by team to find preseason value on some of baseball's biggest names. Today, we break down the Oakland Athletics, who return the core of a team that has lost in back-to-back wild-card games.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just a year after leading the majors with 48 home runs, Davis mashed just 23 last season and saw his average dip to a paltry .220 in an injury-riddled campaign. Davis had previously hit at least .244 in every season of his six-year career and his contact rates were nearly identical in 2019, so we expect his average to normalize in 2020.
After six years of replacement-level contact hitting, Semien batted .285 a year ago on a league-high 747 plate appearances, so the sample size is there to believe in a shift for the 29-year-old infielder. He's set a career high in contact rate during each of the past two years, so expect a similar performance this season after an MVP-worthy run in 2019.
After his dreadful 2016, when he batted .122 in just 16 games, Canha has improved his plate discipline and steadily upped his numbers each year, resulting in last season's .273/.396/.517 line. Perhaps he backslides with age, but the progression is there to expect the 31-year-old to stay above a modest betting total.
It only took three years for Chapman to earn an All-Star nod, but it certainly wasn't for his bat. The third baseman hit .249 a year ago even as his walk rate and contact rate improved from his previous two seasons. An unusually high BABIP (.338) helped buoy his .278 average from 2018, so under .255 is a more reasonable benchmark for his fourth campaign.
This line is right on the mark for Olson, who showed signs of progress with a .267 average in 2020 but batted below .260 during each of the previous three years. His hard-hit rate and launch angle rank among the league's best, which should help sustain a modest average if his strikeout rate doesn't regress.
Two seasons, two years of a .288 average for Laureano, whose extraordinarily high BABIP during each of the last two seasons (.388, .342) gives pause to another repeat performance. Still, the 25-year-old centerfielder has impressive contact rates and ended last year on a tear, so, until he shows regression, this is too low of a number not to go over.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.