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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Purdy: Oakland A’s offense flirting with futility of historic proportions

Purdy, Purdy, Purdy…Purdy bad.

According to both the Elias Sports Bureau and Bay Area stats guru David Feldman, the worst batting average of the modern era is considered to be the horrendous .210 mark of the 1910 Chicago White Sox. Although if you go back to the 19th century, that dubious honor goes to the .207 average of the 1888 Washington Nationals—whose catcher was Connie Mack, the future owner of the Athletics franchise when it was located in Philadelphia.

Mack contributed to that 1888 milestone season by batting .187 himself. The Nationals’ best hitter was outfielder William “Dummy” Hoy, who was deaf and mute. Hoy was said not to be offended by the nickname—or be distracted by anything else, apparently, because he batted .274 for that miserable team.

The A’s could use a Hoy right now. Nobody on their roster except Reddick (.271) is hitting better than .250. And this year’s team is definitely on track to surpass (underpass?) the A’s franchise-record-low .223 batting average set in 1908.

Yes, I know. Batting average isn’t everything. Batting average is overrated. I saw “Moneyball.” I understand the Billy Beane first commandment. Walks are as good as hits, right? And as a team, the A’s do own the 12th-most walks in the majors. But sooner or later, hits become mandatory. Which is why the A’s are 27th in runs scored.

Repoz Posted: May 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: May 27, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4141391)
I understand the Billy Beane first commandment. Walks are as good as hits, right?


For the last time, they are not. Walks are (were?) undervalued. The thing is not making outs.

But you need a mix of walks and hits to score runs. Only occasionally does a walk result in an RBI.

An offense without hits is like a boxer with an arm tied behind his back. He can still win occasional fights, but he's missing a vital tool.
   2. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: May 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4141397)
I know TFA deals with batting average, but I imagine Pirates fans would trade their offense for Oakland's offense in about a half-second.
   3. BDC Posted: May 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4141401)
For the last time, they are not

Seriously. The A's are also last in the league in OBP. If they could be leading the league in OBP by hitting .350 as a team and never drawing a single walk, I reckon Billy Beane would be delighted.

I saw both games they've played against Texas so far this year, and while the result was a split, I felt for them. That is not a very good AAA lineup they've thrown out there – I mean, it might not be the worst lineup in a AAA league, but given their ages, if that were your actual AAA lineup, you'd promote Reddick, DFA everybody else, and take a mulligan.
   4. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 27, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4141404)
The headline and article content contradict each other. An offense can't be historically bad when there are three worse ones in the same season!

Edit: The article is actually flat out wrong. The A's are 29th in runs scored and they are dead last in runs vs. league average runs, so at least they are the worst offense this year. So maybe they are indeed historically bad, but that's not what you'd get from the article.
   5. KT's Pot Arb Posted: May 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4141412)
PIttsburgh's OPS+ is lower, and both team's hitters are among the 5 youngest average ages in the league, just over 27.

"if that were your actual AAA lineup, you'd promote Reddick, DFA everybody else, and take a mulligan."

You'd DFA Cespedes when he has a 108 OPS+ as a Centerfielder?
   6. KT's Pot Arb Posted: May 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4141413)
OPS+ Career/2012
Suzuki 89/47
Barton 102/82
Weeks 98/68
Pennington 86/55
Donaldson 12/3
Crisp 93/11
Reddick 103/141
Smith 109/98

Wow, that is a scintillating record of underperformance. I'm guessing most will hit better this year, but that Reddick will hit worse.
   7. DL from MN Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4141419)
Give them 3 games against the Twins rotation and they should perk up.
   8. Chokeland Bill Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4141424)
Before he got hurt, Cespedes looked like he had really been cutting down on the Ks. He might be good. Reddick looks good, though I doubt he'll be a 140 OPS guy. Weeks seems like he's being BABIP'd to death, maybe he'll bounce back. Pretty much everyone else is hopeless at this point.

Not much to look forward to in the minors with Choice and Green seeming to stagnate. Norris looks like a good prospect. Miles Head is crushing the ball in A+, but no one seems to think he can play anywhere but 1b/DH and there are lots of doubts about his athleticism. Most of the pitching prospects are struggling as well, though the possible emergence of Straily helps offset that a bit.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4141427)
And this year’s team is definitely on track to surpass (underpass?) the A’s franchise-record-low .223 batting average set in 1908.


Damn, it looks like somebody else is reading Eric's Game of the Day.

   10. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4141429)
That Cespedes is also hurt makes things even worse for them.
   11. karlmagnus Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4141430)
Not to worry, As. Manny joins you on May 30. This is just the opportunity he has been waiting for!
   12. SteveM. Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4141431)
I would gladly trade the Cubs starting 8 save for Starlin Castro for the A's lineup.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: May 27, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4141441)
An offense can't be historically bad when there are three worse ones in the same season!


Sure it can. The A's are on pace to have the worst batting average of any team in 100 years. That's historically bad.

Is the point that you think the phrase "bad offense" can only refer to something like an era-adjusted runs per game? That isn't even pedantry, it's just nonsense.
   14. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: May 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4141474)
Miles Head is crushing the ball in A+, but no one seems to think he can play anywhere but 1b/DH and there are lots of doubts about his athleticism.
The good news is that if baseball doesn't work out for him, he'll get plenty of work in the adult film industry.
   15. Dale Sams Posted: May 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM (#4141478)
5 games ago they were over .500 and sportscasters were saying "Can they?"

5 games shouldn't define a season.
   16. Delorians Posted: May 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4141521)
Futility of historic proportions is the new market inefficiency.
   17. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4141527)
*Reaches for chair to throw*

*Fails to make contact with chair*
   18. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:14 AM (#4141547)
I would gladly trade the Cubs starting 8 save for Starlin Castro for the A's lineup.


Yeah, this idea that the Cubs don't tout the worst offensive lineup in baseball almost makes me ill for A's fans.
   19. BDC Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4141572)
You'd DFA Cespedes when he has a 108 OPS+ as a Centerfielder?

But I didn't see Cespedes; as several others noted, he hasn't played in three weeks. I was treated to the centerfield stylings of Collin Cowgill.
   20. BFFB Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4141613)
Wow. There really is a shocking amount of futility in the AL West.
   21. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4141615)
Wow. There really is a shocking amount of futility in the AL West.
The Rangers cast some voodoo hex during the offseason and sucked up all the offense in the AL West for themselves.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4141729)
Note the Angels have clawed their way to 24-25 and are just a couple games out of the 2nd WC spot.
   23. sunnyday2 Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4141737)
What is nonsensical is the idea that "bad offense" would refer to BA rather than to runs scored. The objective of an offense is to score runs, not to hit for average. If the A's have scored more runs than 3 teams this year, there are 3 "worse offenses" than they.
   24. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4141745)
What is nonsensical is the idea that "bad offense" would refer to BA rather than to runs scored. The objective of an offense is to score runs, not to hit for average. If the A's have scored more runs than 3 teams this year, there are 3 "worse offenses" than they.


But no one's made that claim (not even the headline writer). The assertion is that the A's offense, in one pretty significant category, is on pace for historical ineptness. No one, not the writer or anyone in the thread, has made the nonsensical claim that this particular ineptness makes their offense the worst.

   25. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4141802)
I'm not saying the A's offense is worse than the Cubs or Pirates offense, but man it's hard to watch day after day. It's the worst offense I can remember watching on a regular basis. Seth Smith is their 2nd best hitter! Seth Smith!
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4141874)
The headline and #13 both equate "historically bad" offense with BA, clearly. Not just "historically bad BA" but "historically bad offense." #4 makes the point that "bad offense" means you're not scoring, and I agree.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4141887)
The headline and #13 both equate "historically bad" offense with BA, clearly.


No, that's you doing it. The headline says the "A's offense is flirting with futility of historic proportions." And that's 100 percent true. Putting up the worst BA in more than 100 years would absolutely be a historic level of futility for an offense. If you want to read more into it than that, for the purposes of discrediting it, well, I think that's just silly. But the headline itself is accurate.

And I'll let PF defend his remarks, but I think you are also reading more into it than his intent.



   28. KT's Pot Arb Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4141921)
I remember posters saying the Manny signing was dumb, that he would probably only hit .around .250 . Who'd a thunk that would be a huge upgrade?
   29. Charlie O Posted: May 29, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4142175)
A's fans are used to this. Even when the A's were good, they were usually rubbish until the kids got out of school. In the summer they'd have to climb out of the hole they dug in the spring. Now they don't have the players to climb into the division race but they won't continue to play as poorly as they are now.

The thing I don't understand is why they won't give Chris Carter a solid trial at first base. If he doesn't hit like Frank Howard upon arrival, he quickly loses playing time and gets sent back down to AAA because they don't want him sitting on the bench. He's already 25 and still hasn't received a fair shot. It's not like a two month 0-fer is going to be the reason the A's miss the playoffs. Is there something Deric Barton has done that makes them think he's going to develop the power the A's so dearly need? If think we'd have seen some signs of it by now.

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