clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Where’s the Beef?

New, comments
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 19:  Hideki Matsui #55 of the Oakland Athletics is almost hit by a pitch during their game against the Boston Red Sox at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 19, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 19: Hideki Matsui #55 of the Oakland Athletics is almost hit by a pitch during their game against the Boston Red Sox at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 19, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Getty Images

That’s what I want to know. This year, we were promised a new and improved A’s offense, and we’ve received a team that has been shut out two days in a row by a last place team (a team who has generated literally half of their wins against us). The A’s offense, which was supposed to approach average levels, is ranked 26th in the majors in wOBA, and 12th of 14 in the American League, ahead of only the Mariners and Twins. That wOBA I was talking about? .293.

The fact is that the only A who has a wOBA over .320 is Barton (.329). The only players on the A’s who have amassed a cumulative WAR above 0.2 are the catchers, Powell and Suzuki at 0.4 WAR, and Powell has done that in only 4 games.

The question at hand is; will the offense continue to flounder, or will it recover, and if it is expected to recover, should we act now to save the season rather than waiting for June?

The obvious reaction is to say that the offense will recover, and if everyone hits like they should be, everything will be fine. The good news is that almost across the board, ZIPS has projected the A’s hitter to improve vastly to get to season totals; we just need to get there.

But, should the team make a trade now, rather than in June? I would argue that they should.

The team, even in its ideal form, is a lineup based around averageness. They are made to score runs because everyone on the team is an average or slightly above average hitter. That is all fine and good, except that it assumes that everyone hits as they are supposed to all season, and that everyone is remarkably stable. They are not, however, and the A’s run into the pitfall that they are in now; when no one is hot, and no one is carrying the team, the team crashes offensively, and we end up playing for one run. And even when a player gets hot, since he is not a star, he himself can’t carry the team.

The A’s, like teams of the early century, need some offensive firepower. And while we all know that such offense is expensive, I argue that the team’s current offensive philosophy is not working. The previous model worked, this model of offense is not, so retooling is needed. I think we saw an attempt at that this off season, but it’s not there yet.

 

 

Name

G

PA

H

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA 

wRC+

Landon Powell

4

14

5

21.4 %

9.1 %

.182

.500

.455

.571

.636

.525

249

Ryan Sweeney

12

22

4

18.2 %

16.7 %

.222

.267

.222

.364

.444

.358

132

Daric Barton

20

82

15

18.3 %

27.3 %

.091

.313

.227

.378

.318

.329

112

Hideki Matsui

18

72

17

5.6 %

17.6 %

.162

.278

.250

.292

.412

.310

99

Josh Willingham

20

77

15

10.4 %

38.8 %

.164

.308

.224

.312

.388

.310

99

Kurt Suzuki

18

67

15

7.5 %

16.7 %

.100

.286

.250

.328

.350

.310

99

Conor Jackson

11

36

8

11.1 %

15.6 %

.063

.296

.250

.333

.313

.305

95

Andy LaRoche

14

33

8

9.1 %

16.7 %

.100

.320

.267

.333

.367

.304

94

Mark Ellis

20

74

16

5.4 %

18.8 %

.130

.286

.232

.284

.362

.291

85

Coco Crisp

18

76

16

1.3 %

12.0 %

.133

.231

.213

.224

.347

.271

72

David DeJesus

18

77

17

7.8 %

13.2 %

.029

.283

.250

.316

.279

.269

70

Kevin Kouzmanoff

18

59

11

0.0 %

21.8 %

.109

.222

.200

.203

.309

.224

38

Cliff Pennington

19

61

12

4.9 %

22.2 %

.019

.273

.222

.254

.241

.220

36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we assume that the expected ‘average+’ players will return to form, we are left with the question of what positions do we need to upgrade, and what is available. And again, the answer is the same as it was during the off season: the infield is the problem (well, and Hideki Matsui, but that’s another issue in itself). All three of Ellis, Pennington and Kouzmanoff are defense first players, with any offense garnered from them a bonus. The problem is that none of them, will the possible exception of Ellis, has been good defensively this year enough to excuse their offensive values (.291, .220, .224 respectively).

The good news is that there is indeed a team, on low times, who might just have a middle infielder and a third baseman up for trade. The New York Mets are 7-13 and sitting at the bottom of the AL East, watching the Phils who have a better than inverse record. And rumored to be on the trade block sometime this year are Jose Reyes (.373 wOBA) and David Wright (.346 wOBA), the latter of whom I believe all AN’ers would salivate over considering our current 3B Situation. Those are the two that I would target to get this team on its feet.

The problem? Expect the cost to be exorbitantly high.

But imagine the possibilities.

CF Coco Crisp
SS Jose Reyes
1B Daric Barton
3B David Wright
LF Josh Willingham
DH Hideki Matsui
RF David DeJesus
C1 Kurt Suzuki
2B Mark Ellis 

That’s a lineup.