Oakland Athletics: Top 5 Position Player Bargains

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Oakland Athletics: Five Most Cost-Efficient Position Players

Oakland Athletics: Five Most Cost-Efficient Position Players
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In the first series after the MLB All-Star break, Chris Young started all three games against the Los Angeles Angels, and had a weekend that was fairly emblematic of his 2013 season.

The Houston, Texas native, who will be glad the Oakland Athletics will be headed to his hometown this week, went 2-for-11 with five strike outs, one walk and one run. That's good for a .181 average, which is pretty much exactly in line with his .190 season average.

Young doesn't qualify for the league leaders, but if he did, that average would be second to last in all of baseball. This, of course, is not the first time that Young has struggled with his average. Back in 2009, the outfielder was also flirting with the .200-mark in late July. That season he wrapped up the campaign with a .212 average. For his career, he's a .236 hitter.

The most confusing part of Young's new life in a new league is how bad he has looked in nearly every aspect of his game. He's tall, can run and generally rocks some pretty sweet stirrups, but baseballs have just been flying over his his head in the outfield. He doesn't look comfortable in the unfamiliar corners, and doesn't seem much better in his native center field.

Young has racked up 60 strikeouts in 2013, which far outnumbers his 41 hits. Of those, more than half have gone for extra-bases, and the 29-year-old does have eight home runs. So, the power stroke certainly hasn't deserted him.

For a guy who's earning $8.5 million in 2013, that works out to $1,062,500 per shot to this point

I don't fault club GM Billy Beane for bringing in Young. Beane acquired Young, a player who averages 24 home runs over 162 games, and who seemingly can also run and play defense. It's not a bad haul for Cliff Pennington, who is currently OPSing an improbable .566, and an A-ball third baseman.

The problem is, this particular investment just hasn't quite worked out. At least not yet. Fortunately for Beane, quite a few of his investments in 2013 have paid out quite nicely.

So here is a look at the top five biggest bargains among the Athletics' position players.

Karl Buscheck is an Oakland Athletics writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KarlBuscheck and add him to your network on Google+.

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Eric Sogard

Eric Sogard
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Sogard will make $495,000 in 2013, and is the owner of a rather pedestrian .262 average. However, the second baseman hits righties to the tune of .278 and has raked 13 doubles. He's also one of the only players on the squad who can actually put down a bunt. Plus, whether he's scoring on an errant throw or hitting a jack, Sogard always seems to be in the midst of the rally.

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Nate Freiman

Nate Freiman
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Freiman is the right-handed half of the team's impressive first base platoon. The 6-foot-8 rookie makes the big league minimum in 2013 -- $490,000 -- and he absolutely mashes lefties. He's hitting .312 off them in his first MLB go-around, and prior to this season he'd never played above Double-A. It seems only a matter of time before the tall slugger adds home runs to his game as well.

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Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss
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Brandon Moss is a flat out All-Star against righties. The former journeyman has really found a home in Oakland. Since getting called up by the team in June of last year, the outfielder turned first baseman has smashed 37 home runs. In 2013, the Georgia native will collect a well-earned $1.6 million salary.

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Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With a $2.4 million salary, Jed Lowrie is the most expensive player on this list. But any player who can hit near .300 at the ridiculously spacious O.co Coliseum at that price is a steal. He's easily one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league, but his glove has been passable at a premier defensive position.

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Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Donaldson has been hitting over .300 for nearly the entire season, launched 16 home runs and 23 doubles, and has been playing sick defense at third base. Donaldson might not quite be up to Miguel Cabrera's level, but he also doesn't make $21 million this season. The All-Star snub is the ultimate bargain as he pulls in $492,500 in 2013.

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