The Oakland Athletics’ Power Finally Arrived


If you’re a fan of the Oakland Athletics who doesn’t drive to home games, there’s a good chance you’re going to use the BART. What two banners do you see at the end of the bridge path near the entrance of the stadium? One is for the Raiders that says “Commitment to Excellence”, and the one for the A’s simply has the dates of their last four World Series Championships. It sure would be a sweet view if the most recent date said something other than 1989.

That year was the A’s last World Series victory, and fans in the Bay would obviously love some more of that glory. What was one of the trademarks that allowed the Oakland Athletics to beat the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series? One simple answer is power.

As any baseball organization knows, teams can’t put together consistent wins without a bit of surge from the bats. Back in ’89, the “Swingin’ A’s” really knew how to stack on some runs. Fast forward to 2015, and the Athletics have far too many games with absolutely no offense.

Despite losing two of the team’s top power guys in Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes, Billy Beane attempted to fills those gaps for this season. His strategy involved the acquisitions of Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler, and these two players have been known as consistent hit producers. So things looked fine offensively coming into the 2015 season, right? Definitely not.

Butler has 9 home runs, and Zobrist has only produced 5 long balls so far this season. A combined 16 dingers for two players who were obtained to power up a struggling offense? That’s utterly disgusting to say the least.

Take a look at Butler’s slugging percentage. It’s only .394, and Oakland definitely expected much more power out of him this season. Due to Butler’s and Zobrist’s extremely low productivity, the A’s management would be foolish to not get ride of them. Two expensive players who add nothing to a team are like leeches.

Fortunately, the Oakland Athletics’ power came alive in their series to start the second half of the season. According to ESPN, the A’s hit six home runs in their three game series against the Minnesota Twins. Because of that, Oakland was able to win the series, and the A’s need to bottle up that productivity for the rest of the season.

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More impressively, the Athletics beat the Twins 14-1 in the final game of the series. In that victory, Oakland was able to produce 12 hits and 5 home runs with only four runners left on base in the entire game. It’s quite the simple formula; power behind the bats will score runners. Therefore, you don’t strand nearly as many runners who were in scoring position.

The A’s even hit a grand slam with the bat of Josh Reddick. That’s some sweet stuff, and it would be great if the team could keep producing at a level such as that. Furthermore, Jake Smolinski had an incredible game with two home runs and four RBIs.

If performances like that don’t get you excited for more A’s baseball, then nothing will. Butler was even able to contribute a home run of his own. With more power from the rest of the team, along with Stephen Vogt‘s highly consistent productivity this season, the Athletics have a shot at the postseason. The team really isn’t that far behind, and they could surprise the entire MLB with some nice winning streaks.

Take a look at the power of some teams with better records than the A’s this season. The Houston Astros surprisingly lead the entire MLB with 128 team home runs as of Tuesday. The New York Yankees have 120, the Los Angeles Dodgers have 116, and the Toronto Blue Jays have 120. On the other hand, the Oakland Athletics have a mere 80 team home runs this season. That is about in the middle of the pack, but the A’s certainly need more power if they hope to contend for the postseason.

Oakland’s bats finally came alive to kickoff the season against Minnesota, and hopefully they can keep it up and splash on runs all across the American League.

Next: Praise for Stephen Vogt