As the Red Sox keep rolling on to the postseason, as good as they are there are always a few teams that can be a real threat come October. You might want to talk about the New York Yankees, of course. Maybe Cleveland with their great rotation and MVP candidates in Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. You also have the defending champs. But in this case there is one team that is particularly scary. A team I’m not so sure many saw them as a threat back in spring training. That team is the Oakland A’s.
This is a team that has one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and are giving the defending champion Houston Astros a run for their money. The Astros have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton leading their rotation. A former MVP in Jose Altuve, and electric players like George Springer and Carlos Corra lead the offense. Yet, they aren’t even the scariest team in their own division.
Now I just want to make it clear that I actually had faith in the A’s when nobody else did. All the way back in January.
the Oakland Athletics are definitely one of my picks for a sleeper team in 2018
— Isaac (@BoSox_4150) January 30, 2018
Let’s start with the offense. The Oakland offense has been overlooked all year, until now. Khris Davis, who has an OPS near .900 has been a beast this season. His 35 home runs are only three short of J.D. Martinez, who leads all of baseball with 38. Matt Chapman is looking more and more like the next Josh Donaldson over at third base. He makes plays nobody has business making and absolutely mashes at the plate. Stephen Piscotty, Marcus Semien, and Matt Olson are also sneaky good players who go under the radar.
The starting rotation was a big question going into the year, as there was really no bonafide #1 ace to lead the staff. There still really isn’t any Chris Sale type guy on this team. It is five guys who are capable of going out there every fifth day and getting the job done.
Billy Beane made some moves by trading for Mike Fiers at the deadline, which was a smart move. They also went out and signed Edwin Jackson, the 34-year-old journeyman who can call the A’s the 14th team he’s played on in his career. That move has worked out as well. The man who leads the rotation, Sean Manea has had an overall solid season and in fact threw a no-hitter earlier this year against Boston, of all teams. He has legit stuff. Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill are the two other guys who have been very reliable in 2018.
In my opinion the scariest part of this team is the bullpen. Before the year I predicted that the A’s bullpen would posses a sneaky good one with a bunch of guys that fly under the radar. It’s been exactly that. Except now they’ve added a couple more guys to make it an even better one.
Yusmero Petit has been a solid arm in that pen who can go more than an inning if needed. He has a 3.4 ERA in about 75 innings with a 1.05 WHIP. Lou Trivino, who’s getting paid less than $500,000 has a sub 2.0 ERA in 60 innings with a 1.07 WHIP and 65 strikeouts. Blake Treinen, the closer, is just straight filth. He has a nasty sinker and slider that has a ridiculous amounts of movement on it along with the high velocity on his fastball. Treinen has an ERA south of 1.0. Billy Beane decided to get a strong bullpen even stronger so he went out and got JeurysFamilia and Fernando Rodney. Two more solid guys at the back end.
This is a team with a young core that is hungry. A team that has come out of nowhere. Nobody expected anything out of them this year yet here we are talking about this team having a real possibility of taking away the AL West division title from the Houston Astros. So as far as threats go to the Red Sox, sure, the Yankees, Astros, Indians, even Mariners are on the list. But there is no bigger threat to the Boston Red Sox than the Oakland A’s, and you better believe that.