The Oakland A’s have won seven of their last 11 games, and they just finished sweeping a four-game road series against a wild card contender. All teams go through hot streaks, even the cellar dwellers, and September’s expanded rosters and strategic priorities can lead to questionable competition. But even still, it’s impossible to ignore the performances of some of the new youngsters and what that might mean for 2017 and beyond. In particular, the hitters stole the show this week when they dropped 43 runs on the Royals in four games.
Ryon Healy is the clear headliner at the moment. His rise from Double-A has been extraordinary, and he’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last couple weeks. He went 9-for-17 against the Royals with two homers, and he has an 1.123 OPS in September. It’s difficult to know what to expect from him in the future because he’s already been such a surprise, but so far he just keeps getting better.
The A's 31-run margin of victory in this series vs. KC is the largest in #Athletics history in a 4-game series (prev.: 28 in 1911 and 1923)— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) September 16, 2016
Here’s an interesting number for some of the key rookie hitters.
Ryon Healy, 3B | 8-of-13
As in, eight multi-hit games out of 13 played in September. And even if he doesn’t keep hitting .300, he’s finally starting to show the kind of power you hope for from such a big guy — his homer on Thursday was the fifth-longest in MLB this year. Wherever he ends up playing defensively, he’s looking more and more like a big part of Oakland’s new core.
Joey Wendle, 2B | 1
That’s been his position in the batting order in the last five games he’s started. The A’s don’t really have any obvious candidates for the leadoff spot and Wendle makes as much sense as anyone, so it’s good to see him get the chance. He’s running with it, too — in those last five starts he’s gone 11-for-27 with a walk, a steal, and only four strikeouts. I’ll be writing more on Wendle in the next couple days, but the early returns are exciting.
In the 8 innings Wendle got a hit in this series, the A's scored a combined 18 runs. Vogt says, "Can't emphasize enough what he did here."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 16, 2016
Bruce Maxwell, C | 6
That’s the length of his current hitting streak, during which he’s 10-for-22 with three walks and only three strikeouts. The power hasn’t arrived yet, but as always Maxwell is controlling the strike zone and he’s at least making some good contact along the way. He doesn’t have to be a superstar, just a quietly productive half of a quality catching tandem. He’s well on the way to becoming that.
Matt Olson, 1B | .500
That’s his OBP! Okay, he’s only played two games and made six trips to the plate, so that number is meaningless. But what’s interesting is he still doesn’t have a hit yet — the Three True Outcomes slugger has drawn walks in three of his first six plate appearances, so even though he hasn’t really done anything with the bat he has still managed to contribute.
The future came early. Around the horn right now: C Maxwell, 1B Olson, 2B Wendle, SS Pinder, 3B Healy— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 16, 2016
Brett Eibner, OF | 6-for-18
That’s what he’s done in his last six games, including five starts spread among three different opponents. Factor in some walks extra-base hits and it’s been good for a 1.010 OPS. Eibner definitely has power and plate discipline, but can he keep his average high enough to stick in the lineup? He’s got a lot of competition for at-bats.
#Athletics just set an Oakland record for must runs in a series of 4-games or less. (Now at 43). Franchise record is 50 set in 1930— David Feldman (@dfeldy) September 16, 2016
Apologies to Chad Pinder (6-for-37) and Renato Nunez (0-for-5), who haven’t done much in Oakland yet.