Oakland Athletics: 5 Biggest Surprises of 2013 For Reigning AL West Champs
Oakland Athletics: 5 Biggest Surprises of 2013
As the Oakland Athletics move past the halfway point in the season, the club is currently 48-35 and half a game off the pace in the AL West. After roaring back from a 13-game deficit to overtake the Texas Rangers for the AL West crown in 2012, the Athletics' hot start should come as a surprise to no one.
As expected, second-year slugger Yoenis Cespedes has been ridiculously streaky. He mashed six home runs in the month of June but also hit just .232, which actually helped his season average. Brandon Moss has also been predictably good against right-handers as he's launched 12 of his 14 home runs off of them. Each of his past 30 starts have come against righties, which works well in light of his .184 average against left-handers.
However, there certainly have been some surprises in the opening months of the season. The team is off to a 33-17 start in night games, which is the best mark in MLB. But Cespedes is hitting just .195 in evening contests, which is the fourth worst in the AL. The 26-year-old has also been the poster boy for the team's surprisingly poor base running, as he is the owner of a shockingly bad 28.6% success rate on stolen base attempts.
During the day, the Athletics turn into one of the worst teams in the league with their 15-18 record ranking them in the bottom third of the AL. And, of course, Cespedes would be hitting a much healthier .277 during day baseball.
What should come as no surprise, however, is the five walk-off wins that the club has already tallied in 2013.
Here are the five biggest surprises of the season so far for the Athletics.
The Man Behind The Glasses
Man, did I eat a crow on this guy. Even after his .444-spring I did not think that Eric Sogard could swing it on the MLB level. He's currently hitting .280 off righties in 2013. Not bad for a guy in the nine spot.
Bringer of Rain
It's not surprising that Josh Donaldson has played well in 2013. That much could have been predicted based on his rock-solid second half performance last season. But what is surprising is just how well he's played. Donaldson is having a monster season, currently hitting well over .300 and could approach 30 home runs and 100 RBI. He might get squeezed out of the All-Star game, but if he keeps that pace up he might just find his way into the AL MVP conversation.
The Struggling Outfielder
Josh Reddick is hitting a respectable .278 since returning from the DL and what now appears to have been a very poor injury-induced start. Chris Young, however, continues to flounder as he's yet to crack .200 with his batting average. Quietly, though, the outfielder has hit .286 in his past ten games.
The Unflappable Bart
Bartolo Colon is currently riding an eight-game win streak, he's just the second Athletics pitcher since 1991 to win 11 games before the All-Star break, and he's 7-0 since turning 40. The big right-hander is also perfect at night in 2013, and the ever-composed veteran has never uncorked a wild pitch as an Athletic--a streak of 40 starts.
The Most Interesting Man in Baseball
At 6-foot-7, Nate Freiman ties the record for tallest position player in the history of the game. In the offseason he caddies for his LPGA-playing wife, who he met at Duke. Oh, and he also hits .333 against lefties.