Jan 28, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT
My 2011 projections call for that group of nine to hit 102 homers. Here’s the breakdown:
Figgins – 2
DeJesus – 11
Barton – 14
Willingham – 19
Matsui – 17
Suzuki – 13
Ellis – 9
Crisp – 10
Pennington – 7
Of course, the 2010 A’s hit just 109 homers. Kouzmanoff, who would presumably be shipped off in a Figgins trade, was the team leader with 16, followed by the also departed Jack Cust and Suzuki with 13 apiece.
The A’s were one of three teams last season to have no one hit 20 homers, the others being the last-place Mariners and Royals.
In the last 20 years, only one team has reached the postseason without having a 20-homer guy: the 2005 Padres pulled off the feat, claiming the NL West with an 82-80 record before getting swept by the Cardinals in the NLDS.
Since then, one team has reached the postseason while hitting fewer than 135 homers: the 2007 Angels. Here’s a list of the postseason teams with the fewest homers from the last five years:
2006 Twins – 143 HR
2007 Angels – 123 HR
2008 Dodgers – 137 HR
2009 Dodgers – 145 HR
2010 Braves – 139 HR
And for what it’s worth, those five teams went 2-5 in the postseason, with both Dodgers teams winning one series and then getting eliminated in the NLCS.
So recent history certainly hasn’t been kind to teams that can’t knock the ball out of the park about once per game. Odds are that someone on the A’s will get to 20 homers this year — Willingham should if he stays healthy enough to reach 500 at-bats — but the pitching is going to have to be excellent if the club is going to overtake the Rangers.
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