The A’s are getting contributions from all over the place this season, but perhaps one of the biggest contributors to the A’s success so far has been 3B Josh Donaldson. Going into the year, I had my doubts about Donaldson, 27, and his abilities to carry the duties at the hot corner for an extended period of time.
After 65 games this year, however, my doubts have been put to rest. The A’s saw it with Josh Reddick burst onto the scene last year and now Donaldson is having himself his own breakout campaign. He is, in my mind, at least, the A’s unofficial team MVP thus far.
With Reddick struggling to find his mojo this year, the A’s have seen several players pick up the load offensively and Donaldson is by far the one carrying most of that load.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Yankees, Donaldson owns a .322/.391/.521 clip with 9 HR and 42 RBI. Last year, Donaldson hit just .241/.289/.398 with 9 HR and 33 RBI in 75 games played. Oakland has not had a real solid option at third-base for a long time now, but Donaldson’s hot start at the hot-corner has me believing that the A’s may have a viable option for years to come.
The shoe-string budget put in place by Lew Wolff & Co. has not stopped Billy Beane from putting together a team that looks fundamentally sound and fully capable of taking the AL West for a second year in a row.
Aside from Donaldson, Beane has found a little bit of magic in the off-season addition of Jed Lowrie. Lowrie, brought in via trade, has been a very consistent hitter this year with the A’s. In 61 games thus far, Lowrie owns a .301/.376/.415 clip with 3 HR and 24 RBI. Lowrie was not expected to be an everyday player, but after the A’s first option at short-stop, Hiroyuki Nakajima, was sidelined due to injury, Lowrie stepped into an everyday role and has not looked back.
He has remained healthy, too. Lowrie’s extensive medical history was a reason why the A’s didn’t envision the short-stop as an everyday option, but to the surprise of many, Lowrie has stayed healthy and has been a solid option at short for Oakland. It would be interesting to see where the A’s would be right now had Beane not acquired Lowrie.
From a pitching point of view, no one has been more impressive than Bartolo Colon this season. The 40-year old pitcher has established himself as the veteran ace of the staff, as evident by his 8-2 record and his sparkling 2.92 ERA through 13 starts. Colon was suspended 50 games and was absent for the A’s final push toward the playoffs last year, but he’s since rebounded from the suspension and has come off even stronger to start this season.
It would be interesting as well to see where the A’s would be right now without Colon in the rotation.
The A’s, though, are in an interesting position right now. They’re tied for first-place in the American League West and are currently riding a hot-streak that is showing no signs of cooling off. Yes, these A’s are finding magic in all the right places.