MLB Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics: 5 Players Who Must Step Up In August

Oakland Athletics: 5 Players Who Must Step Up In August

Oakland Athletics
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane has made a pair of blockbuster trades to make the reigning AL West champion a serious World Series contender this fall. However, several key veterans who were expected to make significant contributions this season are struggling. Here are five players who must step up in August for Oakland.

5. OF Craig Gentry

Craig Gentry Oakland Athletics
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Gentry) Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

5. OF Craig Gentry

Craig Gentry Oakland Athletics
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Gentry) Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The speedy outfielder is currently on the DL and is having his worst season since 2011. The former 10th rounder batted a combined .292 with 37 stolen bases the previous two season, but is hitting only .264 in 80 games this year. However, Gentry has 18 steals and is on track to set career highs in stolen bases and runs scored.

4. OF Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

4. OF Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The former Gold Glove outfielder who smacked 32 home runs in 2012 continues to struggle at the plate this season with a .258 batting average and only eight long balls in 236 at-bats. With the departure of Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes, skipper Bob Melvin needs Reddick to become a serious power threat again to bolster a new-look batting order.

3. SP Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. SP Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired along with Jeff Samardzija in a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Cubs, Jason Hammel was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation after posting an 0-4 record and an ugly 9.53 ERA with Oakland before beating the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. The right-hander has allowed 20 runs and 33 hits in just 22 2/3 frames since joining the first-place A's.

2. SS Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie Oakland Athletics
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

2. SS Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie Oakland Athletics
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The former Pac-10 Player of the Year, who is currently nursing a bruised right index finger, enjoyed a breakout campaign a year ago tallying 175 hits and hitting .290 with 15 long balls for the Athletics. However, the 30-year-old middle infielder has struggled at the plate this season with a .245 batting average and five homers in 105 games.

1. 3B Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. 3B Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 28-year-old All-Star is hitting more than 50 points lower than last year when he finished fourth in the AL MVP race with a .301 batting mark, 24 home runs and 93 RBIs. The 2007 first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs batted just .238 during the first half of the season, but is hitting .275 in 19 games after the All-Star break.

Marvin Moore is a Texas Rangers writer at RantSports. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsMarvin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your circles on Google.