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Oakland A’s progress report through one quarter of the 2017 season

May 19th, 2017 at 6:38 PM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s played their 41st game of the year Thursday night, which means they officially passed the one-quarter point of their 162-game season. Time for a progress report!

First, the big picture. The A’s are 18-23, neither good nor awful, which is right in the neighborhood of what we should have been reasonably expecting. However, they’ve been excellent at home (12-8) and miserable on the road (6-15), which is a development worth watching. Unfortunately it all adds up to last place in the current standings, but on the bright side they’re still only 3.5 games out of second in the tightly packed AL West.


They’ve been outscored by 40 runs, the second-worst differential in the AL, but when they’re not getting blown out they’ve been decent in the close games (4-5 in one-run contests).

Next, let’s hand out some hardware! Virtual hardware. Software? Whatever, stay focused Alex.

MVP: Yonder Alonso

For the purposes of this post, to keep things simple, Most Valuable Player is going to mean Best Position Player. And since none of Oakland’s position players provide any serious defensive value, it really means Best Hitter.

Alonso has been one of the top surprises in all of baseball. Coming off a terrible season in which his bat vanished and he posted a negative WAR, the A’s chose to keep the first baseman another year for $4 million. That looks like a great call so far, as he ranks 14th in MLB in OPS (.991), 12th in wRC+ (167), and 7th in homers (12) â?? that latter number is already a career-high, with over four months left to go. His breakout season has been truly amazing.

Alonso, 2017: .271/.372/.619, 167 wRC+, 12 HR, 13.9% BB, 23.4% Ks, 1.2 WAR

One more Alonso stat: On a team that is struggling to hit in the clutch, he’s been by far their top performer in that area as well. He’s 13-for-29 with runners in scoring position, with plenty of walks and extra-base hits, for a .448 average and 1.314 OPS. While the rest of the team shies away from the spotlight, he’s risen to the occasion and upped his performance.

Even if Alonso tails off a bit after his monster start, he still appears to be a truly changed player. His newfound power is real to at least some extent, and that makes him a hitter to be reckoned with rather than a defensive specialist at an offensive position. Regardless of what happens the rest of the year, though, he’s our clear choice for first-quarter MVP.

Honorable mention: Khris Davis …

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Tags: He avoids hard contact, His breakout season has been truly amazing, The bullpen has already had some ups and downs

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