Once again, Beane-ball or moneyball or whatever you want to call it seems to be working in Oakland. Consider who the A’s traded or decided not to re-sign during the offseason: Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, David DeJesus, and Josh Willingham. And, that’s just from their starters, not to mention what they lost from their bench. These are quality players. And, yet, here we sit with just a couple weeks left of the season, and Oakland is tied for the Wild Card lead – and a substantial lead at that (4.5 games). So, could this A’s team accomplish what no Oakland team has done since Beane took over? Could they finally reach the pinnacle of the sport?
3 Reasons Why:
- Solid Defense – they have an above average RZR (revised zone rating) and DRS (defensive runs saved). The A’s also possess the 4th best Defensive Efficiency Rating in all of baseball – a stat that measures how often a ball that’s put into play is turned into an out.
- Team Speed – only the Royals have a better speed rating in the AL than Oakland (according to fangraphs.com). They’re also 6th in the AL in stolen bases, while ranking 5th in the fewest number of times caught stealing.
- No Walking – the A’s have 2 starting pitchers who average less than 2 walks per 9 innings (Milone and Colon), and a 3rd who is below 2.5 (Blackley). Their starting rotation as a whole has the 2nd fewest walks in all of baseball. No reason to give the other team extra runs!
3 Why Not:
- “He [doesn’t] get on base” – oddly enough, despite how much emphasis has been put on OBP, Oakland’s is 3rd worst in the AL. Part of this is explained by the fact that they have the 2nd worst team batting average in all of baseball (.236). If you can’t put runners on the bases, you can’t score runs. And, that only gets harder to do in the postseason.
- K’s – Oakland leads all of baseball in strikeouts . . . and not the good kind.
- GB% – as fantastic as it appears the A’s pitching is, there’s one stat that concerns me – groundball percentage. The A’s pitching staff has the lowest percentage of groundballs in baseball. Playing at the Coliseum in Oakland, a pitching staff can get away with a lot of flyball outs. But, they’re eventually going to have to play some games at Yankee Stadium or the Ballpark at Arlington, and those flyball outs turn into home runs awfully quick.
As the A’s approach the postseason, what do you think their chances are?