Despite being nine-and-a-half games behind with a .500 record at the time of this article, the Oakland Athletics 2010 season should be no surprise.
Over the past couple of seasons, the A’s have been called “light-hitting”, casualties of the Moneyball era, a team out of touch with the current pace of the game.
When evaluating the club, you recognize that the A’s are on the verge of competing with the very best in the American League.
It is unknown whether the Texas Rangers, in a resurgence of sorts, can continue at this pace. The acquisition of Cliff Lee, more of less solidifies their spot atop the division for this year.
Even though the Rangers gave up four top prospects, Justin Smoak, their prize jewel, is the one who garnered the most attention. However, the other three are decent to say the least.
Blake Beavan, 6’7, 250 lbs, is 11-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 19 total starts
Josh Luecke is 4-2, his ERA is under 2.00 in just over 40 innings, while holding batters to a .202 batting average.
Matt Lawson could be the diamond in the rough. Lawson is batting .283, with 9 home runs and 42 RBI with a .371 OBP, while being named to the 2010 Texas League All-Star team.
The difference between the Rangers and the Athletics in the pitching oriented season is their stockpiling of talent.
The Athletics have two players ranked in Baseball America’s top 50 prospect list, and rightly so.
Michael Taylor has been consistently improving since 2007. While he has had a drop-off in OBP of almost 50 points from ’09-most likely due to the talent in the PCL-Taylor has averaged almost 13 home runs, 66 RBI, and averaged over .300 with two seasons where his OBP was over .400.
Chris Carter on the other hand could be the big bat at first that the A’s have been lacking since the departure of Jason Giambi.
Carter, to keep it simple, averages 24 home runs a year (six minor league seasons), and 81 RBI. Even though Carter’s average has taken a hit, (.241), he has a career batting average of .282, while his slugging pct. is always near or over .500.
In addition, one more player; Jemile Weeks. Weeks 12th overall pick in the 2008 draft, is by all means a player that can contribute if his pattern of improvement continues.
Over his last ten games, Weeks is batting .341 and seems to be heating up at the right time.
Career highs in all offensive categories has been an increasing trend, yet Weeks appears to be improving in more specialized categories such as OBP. , slugging and OPS. Injuries have curved the development process; nevertheless, Weeks’ estimated time of arrival in the big show is mid 2011.
All these legitimate prospects can only improve a club that has undoubtedly bucked the odds in 2010.
A stigma has followed the A’s around the past couple of years; light-hitting, no offense and all pitching. But not in 2010.
Oakland currently sits in seventh position in the American League with a team batting average of .261, placing them behind the sixth ranked juggernaut Boston Red Sox…
Obviously it’s well documented that the A’s lack the power to hit for extra-bases. On the contrary! They have two less hits than the perennial powerhouse Los Angeles Angels, and the same number of doubles (169) and triples (22), as the New York Yankees.
When all is said and done this team shows the capability to change with the times and keep up with the rest of the league though they might not be fully loaded at present date.
With reduced scoring and an emphasis on defense and pitching, the A’s have solved half the puzzle.
The club’s pitching staff ranks second in the American League and sixth in all of baseball. With the addition of 3 top prospects, and the growth and development of their current roster, the tide of power could be shifting again in the AL West.
For more information regarding the refocus from power hitting, to defense and pitching please view “At The Forefront Of Change You Will Find The Oakland Athletics“
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is also available for hire or freelance opportunities.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.
Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nice job. It will be interesting to see how the Oakland players respond to the news that Ben Sheets may be done for the year. I also read that they signed Suzuki to a contract extension. Thanks for the update on the prospects. I’m particularly interested in Taylor because he’s the guy the Jays dealt for Wallace. Thanks again for the information.