First let me just say this; this post isn't meant to compare and contrast players by picking apart every little statistical category, so lets not go there. You'll understand in a minute.
I've been reading a few comments today about the A's hitters' development and organizational approach, which got me thinking. When I casually take a look around the league, or watch *gasp* Baseball Tonight there are tons of budding offensive stars out there that can carry a struggling team, and flat out dominate the opposition. These guys can change the whole complexity of a game. I'm not referring to veterans like Vlad or Pujols, I'm talking about guys that have only been in the league a few years like Matt Holliday, Jeff Francoeur, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley, Mark Teireira, Alex Rios, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright and Prince Fielder. There are plenty more, but I don't want to list guys like the Upton bros, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, and Alex Gordon, that havn't really had any time to prove themselves.
When I look at our A's, I don't see any of these guys. I see a lot of very average players in Crosby, Buck, Denorfia, Sweeney, Hannahan, and Barton. These guys are still young and I have a lot of hope, especially for Buck, Barton, and CarGon. But this still doesn't change the fact we haven't had a real star come along for about 6 or 7 years, and even then, Giambi and Tejada's success is somewhat tainted due to the steroid allegations. For so long I wanted Chavez to be that star for us, but he's never really seemed to get much better than he was in his first few seasons.
From these observations I've come up with a few questions, and I figured it would be interesting to get AN's opinion. First, from the guys I previously mentioned, would you credit their success more to their natural talent, or their franchises development and coaching? I didn't have the time to see if these guys were traded around or stayed with the same organization until they were called up, but that would be some interesting information to know. Expanding on this, would it be wrong to blame Beane and the organization for not finding the talented players in the draft, or improperly handling our organizations talent as it moved through A ball? In other words, could someone like Buck, Barton, or Crosby be a better player if they came up through the Rockies, Marlins, or Twins organizations? When I see Crosby making the same mistakes year after year, or Chavez not really getting any better than he was in 2001, I tend to think so.
I really enjoy watching the 2008 A's. Probably more so than any team since 2003. It just seems like it will be hard for this team to compete for a championship in 08' or the coming years without a real offensive star. Regardless of the new guys, the offense hasn't been anything but average for about the last four years anyway. Nearly every World Series champion this decade has rode some dominant hitters there, minus the Dbacks and CWS, who had some exceptional pitching. Hopefully Barton, CarGon, and Buck can play a part in that, but only time will tell.