With the regular season finally over, it is time to take a look back at the 81-81 2010 Oakland Athletics. Heading into the season, the A’s were optimistic about their chances in a weakened AL West, and for many fans this season had its share of missed opportunities. The Ben Sheets deal will probably stand out as the year’s biggest bust, but there’s no denying that this season saw a young pitching staff make significant strides in their growth and development. Heading into next season, the A’s will have their work cut out for them, but they’re just a few pieces from becoming the team to beat in 2011.
OFFENSE: The Oakland A’s did not feature a very dangerous lineup on Opening Day. On Opening Day, the A’s had a lineup card that read: Rajai Davis, Daric Barton, Ryan Sweeney, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Kurt Suzuki, Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, Travis Buck and Cliff Pennington. Sadly, the A’s never seen much from Chavez, as the former six-time Gold Glover winner played in just 33 games this year. In 111 at-bats, the A’s slugger managed to hit just .234/.276/.333 with 1 home run and 10 RBIs. Chavez did make several attempts at rejoining the team, but nothing really came to fruition. Perhaps the only bright spots on offense were Daric Barton, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Kurt Suzuki. Although, Mark Ellis had one heck of a hot-streak at the end of the season. But I must say that Barton has shown tremendous growth this season, and fans should be happy with the performance he gave this year. He played in a whopping 159 games this season, and hit .273/.393/.405 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs. Kouzmanoff, who arrived in Oakland via trade with the Padres during the offseason, did a commendable job manning the hot-corner this year. He did have his share of injuries, which scares me a little, but for the most part he did a solid job. Despite hitting just .247 (his low average probably due to his back injury), Kouzmanoff did lead the team in homers with 16. He was also tied with Kurt Suzuki, who didn’t have the season I expected him to have, with the most RBIs with 71. Suzuki, whom the A’s locked up, hit .242/.303/.366 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs. Those numbers are down from last season’s totals of .274/.313/.421, 15 HR, 88 RBIs. Despite this drop, however, I still view Suzuki as a tremendous player and an important figure in Oakland’s future. Honorable mentions include: Ryan Sweeney, who played terrific defense and had a nice offensive year as well, Mark Ellis (an incredible .413/.465/.519 line in September), Rajai Davis and Cliff Pennington.
The offense as a whole, however, did not do too well this year. The team ranked 25th in runs (645), and had a team line of .256/.325/.376. They also finished the year with 109 home runs, which ranks 29th in the league. The team does have a lot of work to do this offseason, and my only hope is that Billy Beane and Co., will do something about the team’s lack of power. The A’s saw Chris Carter awake from his 0-for-33 start, but still, the A’s need more than one bat in the middle-of-the lineup. The A’s are likely to have a little more than $20 million to spend this offseason, so let’s hope they use some of that money to land a hitter. GRADE: C (72%). (more on the next page)…
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