Oct 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the fifth inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at O.co Coliseum. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Why The Oakland Athletics Will Be Contenders for a While

When you dissect the Oakland Athletics, you come to the conclusion that they are an incredibly well-rounded ball club. The A’s are a team under phenomenal management that has continued to shock the world the past couple of seasons. Though, in reality, the A’s should have not been a surprise in 2013.

Despite the fact that the A’s are a small market team with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, they will remain contenders for a while due to their trustworthy management and terrific young pitching staff. To specify, as long as general manager and minority owner Billy Beane and the skipper Bob Melvin continue to call the shots in Oakland, the A’s will find success for years to come. In addition, I couldn’t measure the enormity of the importance for Oakland to hang on to their young pitching prospects.

Beane has been Oakland’s general manager since 1997, and the 49-year-old is still considered among baseball’s best GM’s. Beane has a special eye for talent, as he has helped mold together quite a few respective teams. One of Beane’s most credited moves in recent years was letting go of former manager Bob Geren and signing Bob Melvin, who has simply brought wonders to Oakland since his arrival.

Melvin’s first full season was a memorable one as he guided the A’s to a 94-68 record and a first place finish in the American League West. The A’s became the fifth team in Major League history to win a Pennant or Division after trailing by 13 or more games and the first to comeback when trailing by five or more games with fewer than 10 games remaining. His next season, he helped the A’s tack on 96 wins and a second consecutive division title. Melvin has been quite the story for the green and gold the past couple of seasons. What he’s been able to do for this clubhouse with the payroll he’s had to work with is simply remarkable.

Finally, the A’s pitching staff.

The story of the postseason for the A’s was the 23-year-old right-hander Sonny Gray. In game two of the ALDS, Gray was asked to go head to head against arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander. There were many questions whether Gray or Jarrod Parker should be going against the dominate veteran, though Melvin chose Gray because he wanted the experienced Parker to pitch the first game in Detroit. In his first career postseason start, the talented youngster pitched an absolute gem as he out-dueled Verlander and led the A’s to an enormous playoff victory. He masterfully recorded eight shut out innings and a breathtaking nine strikeouts against one of the toughest lineups in the league.

Gray is a special young talent with unbelievable stuff, and the A’s need to hold on to him for years to come. He has a jaw-dropping curve ball and impressive velocity on his fastball to go with great command. Jarrod Parker is another rising star that the A’s need to keep, along with other young names such as Brett Anderson and A.J. Griffin. If Oakland can get another dominant year or two out of their veteran Bartolo Colon, then he would be a crucial addition as well.

Pitching and managing are the two most important components in the MLB. The A’s are a small market team, therefore I couldn’t tell you how long they’ll have these young talented pitchers on their roster for. However, I believe they’ll be able to hold on to them for a little while, and if not, I trust the brilliant baseball minds of Beane and Melvin to replace them with other exceptional young talent. I strongly believe the A’s will be contenders for years to come.



Tags: Billy Beane Bob Melvin Detroit Tigers Oakland Athletics Sonny Gray

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