Aside from the release of Brad Pitt’s Hollywood version of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, A’s fans haven’t had much to smile about in September. The A’s, who had entered the season with so much promise and potential, will finish the season under .500, and will miss the playoffs for the five consecutive season.
While teams like the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers clinching their respective divisions, the A’s are left on the side of the road wondering about what went wrong in 2011. Oakland’s injury woes continued again this year, a prominent theme apparently for this organization, as did the team’s inconsistencies on offense.
Since being derailed during the first half of the season, the A’s, under Bob Melvin, have tried to find positives in a very disappointing season. Melvin, who replaced Bob Geren in June, has definitely tried very hard to instill a positive attitude in the A’s clubhouse. As a reward of his valiant efforts, Melvin has been given a three-year extension.
Since arriving, Melvin has shown that his leadership skills far exceed that of his predecessor, and players have taken a liking to Melvin’s approach to the game. For a young team like Oakland, strong leadership is key to the team’s continual growth and development, and Melvin is definitely the right guy for the job.
Take 2B Jemile Weeks for example. Weeks, who came up to the big leagues while Mark Ellis was injured back in June, has been a glimmer of hope for the Athletics. Melvin has shown a strong trust, as has the organization, in Weeks’ ability to play second-base for the team. Trading Ellis soon after Weeks’ call-up marked a monumental shift towards the future, with Weeks representing a bright spot for an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since ’06.
The former 1st round draft pick, Weeks impressed the A’s and their fans right out of the gates. Once getting called up, the 24-year old hit .309/.349/.469 with six RBIs and six stolen bases in June. Since then, he’s been one of Oakland’s most consistent players on offense, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that this kid is right at home in the major leagues.
He’s brought a certain energy, a swagger, if you will, that Oakland did not have during the first two months of the season. With just one series left before the end of the season, the A’s young infielder will look to continue his impressive play and finish the year on a high note. In September, Weeks has shown flashes of power, and his slash line this month is an impressive .341/.375/.476. He’s collected 11 RBIs this month and a total of two home runs as well.
Like Melvin, Weeks has given the A’s a renewed sense of hope and energy heading into the final days of the season.