Oakland Athletics: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of 2014 Season

By Nick Schaeflein

Oakland A's: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of Season

Oakland A's
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A's have been one of the best teams going through the first half of the 2014 season. They have been consistently strong both on offense and on the mound. The Athletics are lapping the league in run differential and currently lead the league in runs scored. Oakland has more than just "luck" on their side, and they are a real contender for the Fall Classic. Here are the five biggest surprises of the first half out by the bay.

5. Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of surprises, not all of them have been good ones. Oakland traded for Jim Johnson during the winter to be a money closer for the Moneyball team. Early on in the year, that did not exactly pan out. Johnson was quickly removed from the closer's role after his struggles and is still trying to work his way back into form. In a good spot, it is very surprising that Johnson has not been able to post better numbers thus far in 2014.

4. Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4. Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With Jim Johnson struggling, someone needed to step up in the A's bullpen. Sean Doolittle is now the team's closer and is having a strong first half. He is striking out a ton of batters while only allowing just two walks all year. Doolittle's success on the mound and in the beard department have both been surprising through the first half of the season.

3. Derek Norris

Derek Norris
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

3. Derek Norris

Derek Norris
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

This spot can be awarded to the three-headed monster that has all caught games for the A's this year. Derek Norris, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt have all been really good both behind the plate and at the plate for Oakland. Jaso has been a good table-setter for the A's while both Norris and Vogt are hitting over .300. The surprising production of the three is one reason why the A's have been so formidable on offense this season.

2. Scott Kazmir

Scott Kazmir
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

2. Scott Kazmir

Scott Kazmir
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The resurgence of Scott Kazmir has continued in 2014. After having a great year leading the Cleveland Indians to the playoffs last year, he has continued to be quite good for the A's this season. The veteran lefty leads Oakland in wins and ERA. When Kazmir signed during the winter, the move had potential to really work out well within Oakland's rotation. The surprising part is that Kaz has been even better then anticipated thus far.

1. Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the major factors of Oakland's ability to lead the league in runs has been the surprising stats being put up by Brandon Moss. He leads the team currently in home runs and RBIs and is on track to set career highs in both. In the middle of the order, Moss has been cleaning up as the protection for Yoenis Cespedes. His first half should lead to a surprising All-Star selection and his best season to date. Moss has been a boss thus far in 2014.

Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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