Josh Reddick wasn’t supposed to be the new, power-hitting outfielder who would provide the excitement for the Oakland Athletics this season, but that’s exactly what he’s emerging into.
The A’s added so many new outfielders this offseason, you had to wonder if they were going to experiment with some new defensive alignment. When it was all said and done, Reddick’s role was undefined and the team turned to Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes to be it’s cleanup hitter.
While Cespedes has had his moments, Reddick has emerged as one of the better power hitters in the American League so far this season.
Reddick entered Monday night’s action with 14 home runs, more than all but six players in baseball. The former 17th-round pick out of Middle Georgia College also ranks ninth in the AL with a 537 slugging percentage and 13th in the league with an .888 OPS.
When I see a guy in the green and gold with the wild hair flowing out the back of his cap, sporting facial hair that looks more appropriate for a biker than a baseball player and wearing No. 16, I can’t help but think of Jason Giambi in his MVP days. All that’s missing is the muscles and tattoos.
The two look nothing alike in terms of stature, but it good to see the Oakland players carry on their rich tradition of guys with crazy hairstyles (you notice these things when you‘re bald, like me).
Maybe he didn’t fit in with the Boston Red Sox. Maybe he just never got a fair chance to break in as a young player in an organization crowded with veterans. Either way, the 25-year-old has settled in nicely playing everyday for the Athletics.
Reddick never could stick in parts of three seasons in Boston, compiling a .248 average and .706 OPS over 143 games prior to 2012. He was acquired this winter along with a pair of minor leaguers from Boston for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. Bailey has yet to make his Boston debt.
Perhaps most encouraging for Oakland is that the left-handed hitting Reddick is hitting .262 with a .843 OPS off southpaws and has slugged four homers off lefties.
The A’s are still being shutout at an alarming frequency, and were blanked twice just this weekend, but with Reddick swinging a hot bat and Cespedes returning from the DL, June could be an exciting, if not successful month for Oakland.
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