The Oakland fucking A’s man. This team seems to never go away. Billy Beane is on some shit, still making this team randomly competitive year after year. If you ask anyone not living on the West Coast, or just not a baseball fan, The A’s are a team that is almost always forgotten. The A’s in the early 2000’s got on the map by introducing a new age of baseball to the world, using technology instead of the natural eye that had been used for basically, baseballs whole history. If you are unfamiliar with this, check out the movie Moneyball. Fast forward to 2018 and the Oakland A’s, still playing in that shitty Oakland Coliseum, are a healthy 61-43 as of July 27th. In a state that has 3 teams, 2 of which are the bigger market teams, Oakland slides under the radar every season but not over spending or making any huge signings every off-season or at the deadline.
The Oakland A’s are in a tough spot. The wild card for Major League Baseball has the top two teams, who are not first in their division, play a one game playoff to advance to the ALDS or NLDS. In this case, it will be the ALDS which makes it that much tougher on the A’s. Right now, the A’s are third right behind the Mariners, and 4.5 games behind the Yankees. So basically the A’s will be rooting against the Mariners the rest of the year. I hate to say it because I hate the Yankees, but the Yankees or Red Sox will be in that top spot no matter what. They’re just too good to lose. The A’s are only back one game so this will most likely go down to the end of the season and will be one of the best stories in baseball this year to keep track of.
Every team gets lucky every once in a while, but this is not luck. Billy Beane has built a very competitive team that has gone under the radar for most of the year. After trading for Kris Davis from Milwaukee 2 years ago, he has been repaid handsomely. Having back to back 40 home run seasons plus 100 RBI’s in each. He may not be as smooth with the glove, but he is showing to be a legit threat with the bat.
Someone who is smooth with the glove and one of baseballs most underrated players is a man by the name of Matt Chapman. Drafted in the first round 25th overall back in 2014 by the A’s, he is the definition of home-grown talent, plus some. WAR is one of those stats that baseball guys are starting to come accustomed too. It’s always nice to see someone play knowing he’s got talent, but when you have a computer program that measures sabermetrics to evaluate talent to back you up, that’s always nice too. According to ESPN.com, Matt Chapman is 8th in all of baseball in the WAR category with a score of 5.4. Pretty amazing as he is actually tied with Aaron judge and Max Scherzer, pretty nice company. More amazing than that, he leads all of baseball in WAR for defense with 2.8, in front of Lorenzo Cain and Andrelton Simmons. His offensive stats don’t jump out at you with his triple slash of .266/.356/.468 with 12 bombs and only 34 RBI’s but he brings more to the table than just hitting.
Another underrated threat they have in the lineup, and one of my favorites, is Jed Lowrie. This man can just flat-out hit. A switch hitter with a triple slash of .281/.362/.483 while driving in 65 runs with 17 bombs, he can just hit. Not a lot of people talk about him in the baseball world maybe because he plays for the wrong west coast teams, but he deserves more recognition. Finally, in 2018 he was rewarded and recognized for his play, earning his first trip to the All-Star game along with teammate Blake Treinen. Not to mention Jed Lowrie’s WAR is 3.6, which is 29th in all of baseball, also goes unrecognized.
This is an Oakland A’s squad that could make some noise towards the end of the season and if they end up sneaking out that one game wild card game with the Yankees or Red Sox, don’t count them out. Behind the 3 men I mentioned plus ace of the staff Sean Manaea and All-Star closer Blake Treinen, this Oakland A’s squad is one to not count out.