Last year it seemed like the collapse of the A's was due to a couple of very obvious factors: an abysmal bullpen and shaky defense.
Their offense was actually kind of okay though, putting up average-ish numbers in every month except July:
2015 A's OPS+ by month
So coming into 2016, having added a couple average-ish hitters in Khris Davis and Chris Coghlan, it would not have been unreasonable to expect the A's offense to be a strength.
With an upgraded bullpen, an average offense, and maybe a bounceback defensively, I figured this team only needed to get some OK pitching from the #2 through 5 rotation spots to compete. So far, the bullpen has been solid, the rotation hasn't been great but has mostly kept the team in games, and the offense has been HORRIBLE. By most measures, the A's offense sits at the bottom of the American League rankings and down there with the tanking NL teams in MLB rankings.
This team has often been difficult to watch so far because of a malfunctioning offense that specializes in putting runners on and then finding every possible way to escape the inning without letting any of them score.
Their complete inability to hit with runners on base has been truly bizarre.
These numbers seem to say more about the 2016 Oakland A's offense (thru the first month) than anything else:
w/ Bases Empty: .716 OPS (12th in MLB), 103 wRC+ (9th in MLB)
w/ Men on Base: .594 OPS (30th in MLB), 66 wRC+ (29th in MLB)
With the bases empty, they are a perfectly average offense. Soon as a runner gets on, it seems they completely forget how to hit. The team OPS in high-leverage situations is also 29th in MLB. This kind of baseball is about as gut-wrenching to watch as a team with a terrible bullpen.
Another shocking note about the 2016 Oakland offense: they are dead last in MLB in BB%!
A Billy Beane Oakland A's team is dead last in baseball in BB%. That is unthinkable.
It's early, yes, but no Oakland team under Beane's watch has finished anywhere near the bottom of the league in BB%. Even in the years when the offense sucked, they still drew walks.
Mark Canha has zero BBs so far (and a 50% K rate).
Many other hitters have a BB% rate well below their career average. I do expect that to change over the long haul.
Overall, despite some of the ugly numbers mentioned above, I don't think panic for the future is completely warranted. There are some egregiously low BABIPs throughout this lineup that should eventually balance out.
But even a month into the season, these 2 problems (terrible performance with men on base; dead last in BB%) look significant enough that they'll need to be addressed somehow.