The Playoff chase is on and every game is critical. It’s the time of the year when every team is fighting through fatigue and injuries, while every Managers job is to maintain their teams energy level at the end of a long grueling season. The expanded rosters in September help with dealing with fatigue and allows Managers to give certain players an occasional day off when needed, but for those teams in pennant races replacing one of their veteran everyday starters with an unknown commodity in the middle of a tight playoff slugfest is not in the cards. This is when depth really pays off, and not to many teams have the depth of the Oakland Athletics.
The A’s season long Success is due in large part to the “quality” depth it’s roster has. Outside of everyday players like Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, and Yoenis Cespedes every other position has been a platoon, which has allowed Bob Melvin to keep his players relatively fresh down the stretch. This has allowed the A’s to put out a fresh and productive lineup down the stretch, while other teams may be limping across the finish line and hoping they have enough in the gas tank to carry them to the playoffs.
Fatigue is not only a huge factor in determining who gets in the playoffs, it also can decide the success a team has or doesn’t have once they are in the playoffs. This is the primary reason why Managers whose teams have significant leads in the standings tend to rest players down the stretch, with the hope of re-energizing them once the playoffs begin. Luckily for Melvin his deep roster has limited the wear and tear of his players. The platooning has allowed players to preserve energy throughout the season, which should be a huge benefit if the A’s are playing in October. Only time will tell how everything plays out, but Bob Melvin and the A’s seem to be in a perfect position for a long playoff run.