The Patriot Press

MoneyBall 2.0?

By John Conturso, Sports Editor

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The Oakland Athletics just finished up a fantastic season. They finished with a record of 97-65 and they claimed the second wild-card spot. They finished second in a tough American League West division where many people picked them to finish last in the division. They exceeded their expectations this year and they look like they will be a tough team for years to come. They did lose to the New York Yankees in the wild-card game but they have so much to be excited about for the future. So the real question is: How do the Oakland Athletics succeed if they only have the 28th highest payroll in all of Major League Baseball?

The Oakland Athletics have the 28th highest payroll in baseball out of 30 teams. The Athletics were put together than none other than the “Moneyball Genius” himself Billy Bean. He has been known for helping the Athletics make the playoffs even though they have no money to really work with. He finds players who no one really knows and he helps them make a name for themselves. Athletics’ fans have suffered a lot throughout the years. Don’t worry though because this team is filled with future stars.

One of the brightest stars on the Athletics is Matt Chapman. He is the Athletics Gold Glove third basemen. Any ball that comes his way is usually an out as he doesn’t let anything go by him. He also brings it with the bat as well. This year he batted .278 with 24 home runs, 68 RBI’s, and 152 hits. Those are excellent stats for a second-year player who will only be getting better over time. He is a franchise player for a franchise who hasn’t had a franchise player since Jason Giambi. He still is only 25 years old and is under the Athletics control for years to come. He will be racking up All-Star appearances soon and he will be one of the top third basemen in all of the MLB.

Khris “Crush” Davis probably was the brightest player on the Athletics this season. He went on a tear this season. He led the MLB in home runs with 48. He is also very consistent with his batting average as he has a batting average of .247 for the past 4 years. The only knock on Davis is that he strikes out a lot and doesn’t get on base as much as the Athletics want him to get on base. He has also averaged over 100 RBI for the past 3 years as well. The Athletics are trying to extend him and lock him up long term. He is 30 years old as well.

The Athletics also have their ace of the future as well in Sean Manaea. He is a southpaw who doesn’t intimidate batters, but he gets the job done. This year he threw a no-hitter to show what he is capable of. He is going to be a leader on the Athletics staff for years to come. He finished the 2018 season with a 3.59 ERA, 108 strikeouts, in 160.2 innings pitched. Bad news though, he had to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and he will likely miss most of the 2019 season. The next time A’s fans will see him will probably be by the end of 2019 or 2020. Other than the injury, he will be the unquestioned ace of the staff.

The Athletics are made up of players who didn’t succeed on other ball clubs. Jed Lowrie showed that he is a legitimate player in an Athletics uniform. He had a .267 batting average to go along with 23 home runs and 99 RBI. He did this as a shortstop. He is one of the most underrated players in the league. The team also acquired Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals this offseason. What a great story it was for him. He asked the Cardinals if they could trade him closer to where he grew up so that he could be with his mother who suffered from cancer. The Cardinals granted his wishes and they traded him to the Athletics. He showed up for the Athletics. He had a .267 batting average with 27 home runs and 88 RBI. Matt Olson is their slugging first basemen who will always be that power bat. He hit 29 home runs and finished second on the team in that category. The Athletics are the best team in baseball in finding hidden talent.

“It’s pretty cool to watch the Oakland Atheltics succeed. It’s hard not to root for them because they play the game the right way. They built their team with no money and they are still beating some of the best teams in the league. They are always hard to play against and they will be hard to beat in the future,” said Junior and avid baseball fan Andrew Ginart.

The most impressive part of the Athletics team was their bullpen. They were the real strength of the team this year. They were led by Blake Treinen who was basically unhittable. He was the only A’s player to make the All-Star team as well. He had a 0.78 ERA to go along with 38 saves. That is ridiculous for a player who was a throw-in for the Sean Doolittle trade. They made a mid-season trade for Jeurys Familia, who was the closer for the New York Mets. He helped the Athletics a lot and finished the season with a 3.45 ERA as a mid-season acquisition. Lou Trivino and Fernando Rodney had a 2.92 ERA and a 3.92 ERA respectively. These players helped push the Athletics to the playoffs and without them, the Athletics might have not even sniffed the playoffs.

The Athletics are a bright young team who will be extremely successful in the future. They have a ton of talent and potential. They are also so good at finding hidden talent. They get the most out of each and every single one of their players. They are one of the most unique organizations in the league and this will be a team people will be inclined to watch for years to come.

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MoneyBall 2.0?