Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 5, 2008
BASEBALL: Beane Does It Again

I don't know whether to believe that the A's are at all for real - I suspect not, at least for 2008 - but given their 19-14 start (and 21-12 Pythagorean record) you have to give Billy Beane credit for yet again reloading the team in a way that keeps it playing competitive baseball.

Offensively, the A's are almost a cliche sabermetric team - they don't hit for much average (8th in the league and only recently up that high), they don't hit for power (12th in HR, 11th in Slugging), they don't run (13th in steals) but 3rd in runs scored almost entirely on the strength of leading the league in walks. Jack Cust's recent power surge has him up to .244/.426/.427 (Avg/OBP/Slg), Jack Hannahan is batting .205/.355/.329, Kurt Suzuki .286/.360/.321, Daric Barton .259/.365/.362, Ryan Sweeney .267/.325/.320, newly-arrived Frank Thomas .270/.400/.378 since his return.

The AL-ERA-leading pitching staff is truly a classic no-names unit (the biggest surprises being totally unheralded Greg Smith and Andrew Brown), but they're second in the league in K, second in fewest HR allowed, and 3d in fewest walks. I have to believe that their success, combined with the injuries riddling the Angels' staff, has put an end to talk of trading Joe Blanton, at least until close to the deadline and probably until after the season.

Hats off to Beane. He'll need more than just pitching and walks to go further with this team, but they are already way ahead of where most of us projected this squad before the season.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:10 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think the real issue of Money Ball wasn't anything more than writing about what most baseball people already knew: that Beane is today's Branch Rickey. Not the Jackie Robinson one, but the one who invented the modern farm system, who knew that Kiner had to go when others couldn't see it. As William Goldman wrote [NRA, I know about both Golding AND Goldman-- ;-)], "I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals."

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at May 5, 2008 11:19 AM

Now, if the A's can start to draw more than 12,000 or so for a Tuesday night game, at least a few more people around here will appreciate Beane for the reconstruction genius that he is. Maybe this will happen when the new ballpark gets built, and they become the Oakland Athletics of Fremont :)

It's true that nobody was giving the A's any hope for 2008, and they are still second fiddle to the Giants in terms of media coverage. In todays local rag, they were on page C-5 of the sports section ( I don't read it myself, but the local sports guys on the radio rag the paper constantly for it's obvious Giants bias).

Sacramento fans are somewhat ahead of the rest of the pack because we see all the latest A's first when they compete as the Sacramento Rivercats. They are at or near the top of the PCL every year, thus it's a steady supply of good to great talent.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at May 5, 2008 12:08 PM
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