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.
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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