With the 2022 World Series over, attention will now be turning towards next season as the Oakland A’s prepare for what should be the second season of the rebuild. Before we turn our eyes to the future, though, let’s take one final quick look back at the season that Oakland just had, month by month.
With expectations so low at the start of the year, the team and the fanbase were pleasantly surprised at the early results from the club. Taking 3 out of 4 against a Tampa Bay Rays team that was the #1 seed the previous year gave hope that this club might be feisty, if not straight up competitive. Considering the roster turnover that had happened just a month prior, this was close to a best-case scenario for the organization. Expanded playoffs gave hope to more teams and thoughts of 2012 began creeping into people’s minds. Could they surprise people and actually hover around .500 for the entirety of the year?
Record in April: 10-11
Run Differential: 81-80
The answer was no. As positive as April was, they ended the month on a sour note and then took the bad vibes into May, losing the first 7 games of the month before finally breaking that streak against a bad Detroit Tigers squad. This was also their busiest month of the season for them, playing 31 games in 31 days thanks to a couple double-headers that were needed due to the lockout. The pitching wasn’t great but the offense was the real source of frustration as the team averaged just over 3 runs a game. The troubles were particularly difficult at home, something that would continue for the rest of the season, too. They also fell into last place in the division, a spot they would snuggle into and remain the rest of the way.
Record in May: 10-21
Run Diff.: 94-141
This is right about when things got really messy. Like the previous month, they started with a long losing streak, this one running to 10 games. In total for the month, they were swept by the Asros, Red Sox, Braves, Mariners, and Yankees, and only snuck in a single series win at the end of the month against a bad Royals team. And again, while there were problems all over the team, the offense in particular was getting harder and harder to watch as they averaged just 2.5 runs per game. No one outside of Sean Murphy was doing much of anything with their bats, with most of the daily lineups full of hitters hovering around the Mendoza line.
Record in June: 5-21
Run Diff.: 75-145
The only month this year the A’s had a winning record also saw them get their first sweep of the year (against the Astros, yay!). Starting pitcher Paul Blackburn was named to his first All-Star team early in the month and made an appearance at the Fall Classic, striking out San Francisco All-Star Joc Pederson (double yay!) in his clean inning of work for the A.L. The MLB draft also took place, and Oakland added a bunch more young talent to the pipeline that is, so far, looking promising early on. The front office got a slight head start on the trade season when they sent Christian Bethancourt to Tampa Bay before the break, but it was still easily the best month of baseball for A’s fans to watch. On top of that, they even went 9-5 at home, giving the fans that actually made it to the ballpark something to cheer about.
Record in July: 14-12
Run Diff.: 105-101
Not quite the peak of the month before and not as bad as June, August saw the team finally start shaking things up on the field in a meaningful way. The trade deadline saw Oakland ship off their final remaining big piece in Frankie Montas, and they soon after cut veterans Jed Lowrie, Elvis Andrus, and Stephen Piscotty. A mild surprise was the fact that Murphy stuck around through the deadline, but it’s rarer to see starting backstops like him traded mid-season. From this point forward, the season was clearly a pure youth movement, and they really leaned into it, cycling through a smorgasbord of younger athletes in an effort to identify anyone, anyone, who could be a piece of that next winning Oakland team, both pitchers and positional players.
Record in August: 10-17
Run Diff.: 89-127
September + October
Finding motivation this late in the year for a team out of the playoffs isn’t easy, but avoiding the dreaded 100-loss mark is something no team wants to reach. While the offense was far below sub par for the majority of the season, the bats actually got to work and did some damage in the final month, averaging almost 4 runs a game over September and October. Unfortunately although the bats woke up, the pitching came apart hard at the end, surrendering over 5.5 runs a game. They gave up at least 5 runs in 18 of their final 31 games and had a few performances that were especially forgettable. On the positive side of things, they ended the season on a 4-game win streak, something that they’ll be able to take into next year.
Record in Sept. & Oct.: 11-20
Run Diff.: 121-176
Final thoughts: Early on in the year, the team was giving at-bats to older players that wouldn’t be around for the next winning A’s team. Perhaps the thought was that players like Piscotty and Andrus could play well enough to entice a team to trade for them and give the A’s a lottery pick minor-leaguer, but it didn’t pan out that way. Every A’s fan was thrilled to see Stephen Vogt end his career with a literal bang in his final game, but things should be much different at the beginning of next season compared to 2022.
Young players like Nick Allen, Shea Langeliers, Ken Waldchuk, JP Sears, and more are expected to be given every opportunity to stick in the big leagues early on. Oakland tied their own record for rookies making their MLB debut this year at 15 when Waldichuk made his debut on the first of September. The last time they did that was in 2016, and two years later they were in the playoffs with 97 wins, so that’s encouraging. The youth movement that took off in August is in full swing, and if it follows the same path that previous A’s rebuilds have gone, it shouldn’t be too much longer before these guys are leading the charge on a run towards the postseason for the Green & Gold.