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Midway Point Marks

June 30, 2011

So the A’s have played half their schedule. The one take away? These guys can’t hit. Their offense as a whole has been worth 3.0 WAR so far this campaign, tied for worst in the American League with their fellow offensively-challenged brethren the Seattle Mariners and around six and a half times worse than the AL leading New York Yankees (19.9). Using the other metrics the A’s still fall far short of their AL counterparts:

A’s 41 281 .104 .234 .302 .338 .289 82
AL Rank 14th 13th 14th 13th 12th 14th 13th 12th

There is always the argument that pitching wins ballgames, a philosophy I believed for most of my life, until now. Because the pitching couldn’t really be much better – yet this offense is so punchless that it doesn’t make a difference. When a two-run lead is tantamount to insurmountable you have a big problem.

The blame can really go all around on this one. There is not one hitter being “dragged down” by the others. The team’s “best” and I use that word very judiciously, position player is Coco Crisp. Crisp leads the team with 1.2 WAR. The best hitter in the lineup using wRC+ as a metric is Josh Willingham (104) same as using wOBA (.321) as the metric. For comparison’s sake the wRC+ number is 45th best in the AL among the 84 qualified hitters, and 47th best for wOBA. Pretty pathetic stuff and there is a big dropoff from there. This team has four regulars at negative WAR, David DeJesus (-0.1), Cliff Pennington (-0.3), Hideki Matsui (-0.3) and Daric Barton (-0.3).

So where does this leave us? Presently the A’s are fourth in a four team division – which is obviously far from ideal.

TEX 43 38 .531
LAA 42 40 .512 1 ½
SEA 39 42 .481 4
OAK 36 45 .444 7

While there may be some who look at the above and say, well with the Rangers stalling a seven game deficit at the end of June isn’t the worst thing right? Here I disagree. To call the A’s a fringe contender is to not be dealing in reality. The A’s have been mired in last place since May 30th – while I fully believe they could finish in third or even second place, and strongly believe they will not finish the season as cellar-dwellers in the weak AL West, finishing first is another thing altogether. The Rangers are going to be better, and they can add players to fix their shaky bullpen by trading from their rich system and/or taking on expensive contracts. The A’s do not have the same leverage, even the Angels and Mariners have more leverage in that respect. So this season is over despite the “return” of Rich Harden, and the impending returns of Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross.

The sell off should occur. The young guys should get starts. It is time to “wait ’til next year”. The bullpen in particular offers us a few opportunities to get some good quality bats in return, if one of Grant Balfour, Craig Breslow, Brian Fuentes or Michael Wuertz is not dealt for a bat by the end of this year we are really making a big mistake. The starting pitching I feel should be untouchable, or close to it but the bullpen arms can go as can all three outfielders whose contracts expire after this year. Mark Ellis should be shipped out to anyone who will take him, if for no other reason than to get playing time for someone currently in Sacramento. Kurt Suzuki should be shopped as well, as teams are always willing to overpay for catchers and Boston right now is one team on the market with full pockets and a full farm system.

Halfway through the season, this team gets an F – 2011 is done.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 12:22 pm

    the other note is the a’s can’t field. penny looked terrible- he only was given one error, but a couple of times he looked like he was going to miss weeks on the little loop-dee-loop they do when they throw the ball around the infield after an out. suzuki was only given one error, but he also missed 2nd on a strike-um-out-throw-um-out, but didn’t get the error because it was the second out of a double play. these two guys used to play great defense. the rest of the defense was never anything to write home about. you’ve got cojack at first- not a first baseman, sizemore- not a third baseman. sweeny, average, dejesus, average. coco- fast and armless, weeks, not proven, but has potential.

    moscoso put me to sleep. breslow looked tired and used up. braden, anderson, harden, mccarthy- all giant question marks, for me, at least, in the future of the rotation.

    definitely f- for this season, and a huge question mark for next year. sad. check my panoramas of attendance, and you’ll be downright depressed!

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