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Elephant Rumblings: A’s offense is historically bad

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MLB: MAY 29 Rangers at Athletics Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

I can imagine you reading my headline and thinking, “Well, thanks for the news flash, Cap’n Obvious.”

But Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle put just how bad the A’s offense is this season in a particularly stark historical context yesterday: going into Thursday’s 8-4 loss in Cleveland, the team had an abysmal line of .210/.274/.320—on pace to set all-time Oakland era lows in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage by at least 15 points.

To drive the point home even further, Kawahara pointed out that the last team with equally bad or worse marks in all three categories was the 1888 Washington Nationals. So the A’s offense is truly among the modern era’s very worst so far this season. It’s worth noting that overall offense has been historically low throughout MLB in 2022, but the A’s are the bottom rung on the ladder.

There have been a few bright spots; some fleeting, some persisting. Sheldon Neuse got off to a hot start in April but crashed in May, his wRC+ dropping all the way down to 80 by the time he was optioned to AAA.

Elvis Andrus has been consistently around league average; his wRC+ of 104, if he can sustain it, will mark his best year at the plate by a healthy measure since 2017. And Ramon Laureano has been heating up lately. After missing all of April and getting off to a slow start in May, he’s now leading the team with a wRC+ of 111—notably, he dropped a full ten points in that category after going 0-for-5 against the Guardians yesterday. Let’s hope it’s a blip.

Interestingly, The Laser’s success so far has come despite a precipitous drop in power: his ISO of .098 so far this season is by far the lowest of his career.

Lacking power, the A’s have been adopting more small ball tactics. The team is third in the AL in stolen bases and tied for second in sacrifice bunts. But having lost nine straight and barely averaging three runs per game, more hitting will likely be needed for the A’s to avoid losing 100+ games this season.

A’s hitting coach Tommy Everidge told Kawahara, “We need to be better at making sure we hit our pitch early in the count.”

As the offense continues to scuffle, the A’s continue to shuffle the lineup. Hopefully a few more hitters will step up, settle in, and help the team get an occasional win to keep us diehard fans tuning in. Rebuilds are tough. But this one has been absolutely brutal so far!

What’s your prescription for this ailing offense, AN? Sound off in the comments below!

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of Twitter:

A very pessimistic piece about Howard Terminal came out in SFIST yesterday. It raised some important concerns, but its gloomy outlook was based on a lot of speculation. Watch what the vested interests in this chess game do, not what they say (or don’t say).

Hal got in on the discussion, too! Negotiations on Development and Community Benefits should become more serious and meaningful in July if the BCDC votes to free Howard Terminal up for development on June 30. No doubt it won’t be the last hurdle.

It could be worse...but not by much.

Hal on the Andrus quandary.

Cleveland with a classy tribute to Ray yesterday.

Petit flaming out.

They were poppin’ off in Lansing yesterday!

Can the big league squad get in on this scoring of runs thing?

I like Dave best in green and gold, but the old flat top Pirates caps were totally stylin’. Happy 71st, Dave Parker!

Yesterday also the anniversary of Bob Welch’s untimely passing. :-(

Play Ball Weekend expanded to...Antarctica!