While the pitching may be the thing highlighted with Oakland this season, there could be a position player that gets the most attention by the end of the year in Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes hit 23 home runs during his rookie season last year as Oakland ended up rallying to make the playoffs. The odds of the Athletics winning the division again will go up if Cespedes can improve his numbers.
Cespedes proved quickly that he is a great hitter by hitting .292 and stealing 16 bases in 129 games. The injury bug hit Cespedes, and he still finished with those numbers. He is on track to have a season with over 100 RBIs this year, and will probably hit over 30 home runs along the way as long as he stays healthy. Oakland is going to be worried about their young pitching hitting a slump, and that is when Cespedes must step up to carry the team.
There was a part of me that thought the Athletics should consider the idea of trading Cespedes if they fell out of the race this season, but that would be counterproductive, especially with what Oakland proved last season.
It isn’t all about your hitting, and pitching can carry the day. This Oakland team is built around that pitching, and Cespedes now in an eerie version of déjà vu from a decade ago. If Cespedes can be even better this season, there is no reason why Oakland can’t make the playoffs yet again.