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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Grantland:Barumann:Josh Donaldson, Secret Star

Even the Moneyball A’s had stars in Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, and those three starting pitchers, but a decade later, Oakland has turned into an oubliette for baseball celebrity, an egalitarian utopia in which there are neither stars nor scrubs, but only 90-win seasons and division championship banners. While the Phillies, Angels, and perhaps eventually the Yankees wade through the waste and carnage of the failure of brute economic force, Oakland keeps chugging along as the kibbutz, a thriving socialist conclave succeeding on its own terms out of sight.

Oakland has good players, of course, but they’re middle relievers. Or they’re players like Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp, whose production outstrips their reputation. Or they’re young pitchers like Sonny Gray, and given the rash of severe injuries to young pitchers — not least of all Oakland’s — we know better now than to fall in love with those.

It’s a clever narrative, but I don’t grant Scott’s premise. If the A’s don’t have a star, it’s only because we’ve yet to decide that Josh Donaldson is one.

This love from Grantland better not be some kind of jinx.

Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 22, 2014 at 09:17 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mullet, mvp, oakland a's

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   1. dr. scott Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4711495)
I don't know, I'm a little worried... sure they have won 11 out of 12, but the last two games they neglected to crush their opponents into oblivion... its the longest run of games in the last two weeks where there was not a 8+ run differential. clearly the wheels are coming off.
   2. A triple short of the cycle Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4711528)
He’s the best player on what is probably the best team in baseball.

   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4711547)
June 12012

Record  22-30
Batting   .208

Josh Donaldson
2012 to date
:  .141/.140/.235/.375
Previous Season
:  .156/.206/.281/.487 

Sorry, I haven't RTFA yet. You see, I've been asleep nearly 2 years and just woke. I haven't had time to read 2 years of baseball news to catch up so can someone give it to me in broad strokes?

1) Was Josh Donaldson allowed to finish the season (and his career) as the worst hitting third baseman of all time, before being exiled to the low minors, never to be heard of again obviously.

2) Were the As able to finish the year as the worst hitting team of all time, with an OPS+ near 70?

3) Did this blatant attempt to tank the season get them that free pass to San Jose they clearly coveted?

4) When was Billy Beane fired?
   4. Danny Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4711573)
Donaldson looked pretty worthless less than two years ago. Coming off two decent seasons in AAA, he entered he 2012 season as a 26 year old projected to hit .219/.289/.357 (74 OPS+) by ZIPS.

Ticketed for AAA until the projected starter at 3B, Scott Sizemore, re-tore his ACL in the team's first spring workout, Donaldson opened the season in a job share with Eric Sogard. He got off to an awful start,3 for 32 with no BB or XBH,and was sent down to AAA when the A's brought in Brandon Inge to play 3B. Given another chance in May after Inge got hurt, Donaldson again fell flat with a .494 OPS in 68 PA. He was sent to AAA again on June 13 having compiled a .395 OPS in 100 PA for the A's on the year.

Whether it was a delayed reaction to moving out from behind the plate or otherwise, something clicked for Donaldson at Sacramento where he hit .335/.402/.598 in 234 PA in AAA before being called back up to Oakland in August to again replace an injured Inge. Donaldson finally took advantage of the opportunity, hitting .290/.356/.489 in 194 PA down the stretch.

Donaldson hasn't looked back--he's hit .292/.373/.497 in 1070 PA since being recalled in August 2012 and is neck and neck with Trout for the MLB lead in bWAR for 2013-2104 (11.6 to 11.5). Perhaps just as surprising as his bat is the fact that he's been an excellent glove at 3B since his conversion from catcher in late-summer 2011.

I'm glad the A's didn't take my advice to hand the 3B job to Wes Timmons in 2012...
   5. dr. scott Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4711575)
As bad as the 2012 A's started, its interesting to remember that they won the same way they have the past 2.25 years... by the end of the season, almost noone who was still playing was below average. The only players with significant playing time with negative WAA were Weeks (that was depressing.. he was the best part of 2011) and Suzuki. All the starting pitchers had ERA+ over 100. It's like Fu**ing socialism over there... Jerry Brown's Oakland Commune writ large!
   6. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4711582)
Yeah, it's hard now to remember just how hopeless the team looked at the beginning of 2012. Remember how much grief Billy got for sending down Kila to make room for Moss?
   7. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4711588)
   8. Danny Posted: May 22, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4711594)
Remember how much grief Billy got for sending down Kila to make room for Moss?

Good times.

Moss has hit .274/.353/.558 in 979 PA (154 OPS+, 7th best in MLB from 2012-2014) since being called up. Kila is a Hiroshima Carp.

Edit: Coke to Shooty!
   9. SoCalDemon Posted: May 22, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4711604)
Donaldson hasn't looked back--he's hit .292/.373/.497 in 1070 PA since being recalled in August 2012 and is neck and neck with Trout for the MLB lead in bWAR for 2013-2104 (11.6 to 11.5).

Given the late start on his career, however, I am guessing he is going to get passed by quite a few people.
   10. BDC Posted: May 22, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4711661)
And here's the historical futility thread from two years ago this week.

The A's don't have stars, perhaps, but that's because of their fairly inconceivable success at getting truly outstanding play from an assortment of mid-career guys who weren't really good for their previous teams. I can't think of strong precedents from baseball history. They're vaguely reminiscent of some of those mid-00s NL West champions, the Padres and Diamondbacks of 2005-07 who were featuring guys like Dave Roberts or Eric Byrnes, but even those clubs had no-doubt ace starters (Peavy, Webb) and a few other big names (Piazza, Giles for SD). Plus those weren't actually good teams, and the A's are.
   11. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: May 22, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4711685)
Its funny to read the Moss call up thread and realize that we are still living in a world where Daric Barton is still part of the A's organization.
   12. dr. scott Posted: May 22, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4711692)
Daric Barton is clearly part of a longitudinal study of futility in April. Once the A's have enough years of data they will finally release him and publish the results.

Brad Pitt will not star in the movie version of the publication...
   13. Danny Posted: May 22, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4711789)
Did this blatant attempt to tank the season get them that free pass to San Jose they clearly coveted?

That was another fun one.

Or in the case of the Oakland A’s, their recent fire sale and justification for said fire sale, it’s a bold-faced ploy by one opportunistic owner to win territory from another opportunistic owner so that another city can hand out another $500 million check for another boondoggle stadium.
   14. Boileryard Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4711829)
Donaldson is stinking up the place on my MLB 14: The Show team. He can't hit and he routinely boots the ball at key times. He's been so bad that he's close to losing his job to Nick Punto. I'm not Donaldson's biggest fan right now.

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