Jul 26, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick (16) hits a double against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Re-Evaluating Oakland’s Outfield


Entering the year, the A’s, on paper, featured one of the deepest outfields in the game. Their trio of Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick were considered to be one of the best starting outfield groups heading into the season. Adding both Chris Young and Seth Smith to the outfield mix and it seemed that the A’s had a definite recipe for success.

Injuries, early season struggles, and few other variables and it is becoming apparent that Oakland’s outfield much weaker. The A’s have watched for much of the season both Cespedes and Reddick struggle to find their groove on offense.

Defensively, the two are still very solid options in the outfield. The A’s, however, have been struggling to remain consistent on offense and are in need of some serious help entering the final months of the season. Getting both Cespedes and Reddick back on track would help the A’s find their way on offense. The two combined to hit 55 home runs and drive in 167 runs last year. Their significance to this team is clear.

Crisp started off the year rather explosive, but has lost a bit of the Bernie in his Bernie lean since the All-Star break. The center fielder has hit just .187/.256/.280 with a homer and four RBI since the break. He’s a big part of the A’s offense and when Crisp is hitting well in the lead-off spot, good things tend to happen.

The supporting cast of Young and Smith has been, well, rather nonexistent this year. The A’s added Young in hopes of bolstering their already deep outfield, but the A’s have not seen much production out of the slumping Young.

In 73 games, Young has managed to hit just .193 with 9 HR and 30 RBI. He was never going to hit .300 for the A’s, but his significant drop-off in production has been an eye-opener for Oakland. Perhaps the fact that Young has been limited to a supporting role is somewhat responsible for his sluggish season this year.

As for Smith, the A’s are hoping he finds his way in the final months of the year. On the year, Smith has managed to hit .246/.319/.372 with 6 HR and 33 RBI. Since the break, however, Smith has struggled, hitting just .083/.195/.111.

Oakland entered the year having one of the best outfield groups–on paper–but the team has not gotten much consistency out of their group. Instead, the A’s have seen a real drop-off in production and are starting to see their flaws get exposed.

The A’s need Cespedes to start hitting with more consistency. This time last year, the A’s were carried by the bat of Cespedes. Trouble is, though, Cespedes has not shown any signs of consistency at all this year. He has not gradually gotten better in his approach at the plate this year and has struggled all year-long.

For Reddick, any small change in production would be welcomed by the A’s. Defensively, the gold-glove winner has been solid. Offensively, though, the A’s have not seen much from Reddick. The power has disappeared from Reddick’s bat, too. Last year the outfielder hit 32 HR and had a .211 ISO (Isolated-Power). This year, his ISO has dropped to .123, which is considered below average.

What looked like a great thing has turned out to be something of a disappointment. Offensively, the A’s outfielder have struggled to find their way at the plate. It is getting late in the year and with the division now shaping up to be a dog-fight, the A’s will need to start seeing some production from their once considered strong outfield.

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  • zacman83

    I did a quick check: in 2012 these five A’s outfielders put up a combined .774 OPS. This year, the five of them are only providing a .678 OPS. It’s a wonder Oakland is within sniffing range of a playoff spot!

    • Joseph Lopez

      It really is amazing, considering the numbers you pulled up. The A’s relied heavily on these guys last season, but this year has been a bit of a drag. Amazingly enough, though, the A’s are still competing.