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Athletics’ young pitchers ‘dangerous’ to rely on, GM David Forst says

Forst explains why A’s young pitchers ‘dangerous’ to rely on originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Athletics knew they had plenty of youth on their roster heading into the 2023 MLB season, and the pitching staff is one particularly inexperienced-heavy position group.

Oakland pitchers entered Monday with an MLB-worst 6.87 ERA as a team, with starters posting a 7.19 ERA and the bullpen recording a 6.50 ERA through 55 games so far. With the A’s at just 10 total wins on the season, general manager David Forst explained to reporters Saturday how this season’s young staff differs from the 2022 group.

“Young pitching is dangerous to count on, that’s sort of the bottom line,” Forst said. “We’ve seen it here before. The last group of starters that was here, if you look at a [Chris] Bassitt or a [Frankie] Montas, some of those guys, they all have their ups and downs, but what we had at the time was experience around them to sort of stabilize it.

“You didn’t have five nights where you had a chance to be in the bullpen very early, and that’s what you get with young pitchers, so it’s hard to do that all at once.”

Kyle Muller, who got the Opening Day nod for the A’s, pitched well in his first start for Oakland, but the rookie was sent down to Triple-A last week after a string of recent struggles. JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk had 11 and seven MLB starts, respectively, before this season, and two pitchers, Mason Miller and Luis Medina, made their debuts this season.

Forst said the A’s had hoped offseason additions Shintaro Fujinami and Drew Rucinski would make a difference on the mound, but their experience overseas has yet to translate in an Oakland uniform. Rucinski has dealt with injuries this season, as has All-Star Paul Blackburn, while another more experienced arm, James Kaprielian, has not lived up to expectations in 2023 after an offseason shoulder surgery.

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While the A’s certainly have a young pitching staff, countless outings this season from the group have shown plenty of promise. And experience can only come with time, but without veterans to complement that growth, patience is key.

“It’s hard to count on young pitching every night, and we’ve kind of seen the results of that,” Forst said.

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