Oakland Athletics’ 5 Most Irreplaceable Players

The Oakland Athletics' 5 Most Irreplaceable Players

Sonny Gray Oakland A's
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics have been the most dominant team in early MLB action during the 2014 season and don't seem destined to slow down anytime soon. Their enormous success has been a product of stellar starting pitching and consistent run production. The A's aren't sneaking up on anybody this season, but are playoff bound in part because of five irreplaceable players.

5. Yoenis Cespedes (LF)

Yoenis Cespedes Oakland A's
Jason Miller/Getty Images

5. Yoenis Cespedes (LF)

Yoenis Cespedes Oakland A's
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cespedes struggles to register consistency at the plate, posting a marginal .248 batting average in 161 official at-bats so far this season. His ability to drive in runs for the A's makes him irreplaceable, though. Cespedes is on pace for 20-plus home runs and nearly 100 RBI. His .795 OPS ranks third on the team. As a middle of the order bat, Cespedes is a reliable run producer.

4. Sean Doolittle (LHP)

Sean Doolittle Oakland A's
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

4. Sean Doolittle (LHP)

Sean Doolittle Oakland A's
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland's singular blemish through the first 47 games of the season has been the closer spot. Offseason trade acquisition Jim Johnson has been alarmingly inefficient, forcing Doolittle to rise to the occasion. The Athletics' vaunted setup man has been nails in the ninth, registering four saves with a 0.83 WHIP on the season. He's also recorded five holds to preserve late inning leads.

3. Brandon Moss (1B)

Brandon Moss Oakland A's
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

3. Brandon Moss (1B)

Brandon Moss Oakland A's
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Moss has steadfastly developed into one of the premier run-producing first basemen in the league. After bouncing around between ball clubs for five seasons, Moss has made a name for himself with the A's. He's now a reliable slugger in the cleanup spot. Moss leads the A's in OPS (.958), home runs (10) and RBI (40). His power surge has helped propel the A's to a plus-96 run differential to lead all of baseball.

2. Josh Donaldson (3B)

Josh Donaldson Oakland A's
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2. Josh Donaldson (3B)

Josh Donaldson Oakland A's
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a breakout effort in 2013, many wondered if Donaldson was capable of duplicating the type of production he sustained in his first full season at the big league level. Donaldson hasn't disappointed expectations, posting All-Star caliber numbers in early action. He currently owns an .874 OPS with 22 extra-base hits and 35 RBI. The Athletics' 3-4 tandem of Moss and Donaldson is arguably one of the best run-producing duos in all of baseball.

1. Sonny Gray (RHP)

Sonny Gray Oakland A's
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

1. Sonny Gray (RHP)

Sonny Gray Oakland A's
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland's starting rotation has been nothing short of phenomenal in early action, but no starter stands out more than Cy Young Award candidate Sonny Gray. The 24-year-old staff ace currently leads the American League with a 1.99 ERA in 68.0 innings of work over 10 starts. Gray hasn't allowed more than three runs in a game all season, tossing at least six quality innings in each of his turns. The A's are a first place team largely because of Gray.

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