Oakland Athletics: A Giant Rebuttal


Oakland Athletics Jed Lowrie celebrates after scoring. Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the Giants’ page caught wind of my “Why the Oakland Athletics Will be Better Than the SF Giants in 2014” article and posted a rebuttal for their fans. Let’s engage in some friendly debate.

As Mark pointed out in his article “Why the Giants Will Be Better than the Oakland Athletics in 2014” the Giants have 9 players that have been on both Championship teams. Why is it then that those same 9 guys were good for only 76 wins last season? Banking on rebound years from some key players was one of my original points. Banking on rebound years from nearly everyone seems impossible.

Yes, we are all aware that the Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, mostly because their fan base never stops talking about it. How handy were those World Series patches that the team wore on their sleeves last season when their main goal late in the season was staying out of last place? I guess they, “have what is necessary to drive the peg home.” They sure know how to finish a season strong. It’s that whole 77 game stretch of .364 baseball (28-49) that was the killer. But they finished strong! By strong I mean not last. Barely.

The common rebuttal against A’s fans before 2010, when the Giants finally won anything (the A’s already had 4 WS titles in their time in the Bay Area, which includes 3 in a row from 72-74 and a sweep of the Giants in 1989) was to stop living in the past. Funny, because that is what Giants’ fans were doing last year and  in 2011 as if those seasons didn’t exist. The original article was a projection as to who would be better in 2014.

In business, when forecasting ahead for say, how many of a certain item to purchase to sell at your store, there are a couple of different methods one can use. The easiest method is to simply take the most recent data, and reorder that amount. For the A’s that amount would be a 96 win season and a divisional crown. The Giants, 76 wins and hoping not to finish last.

The other method is to notice a trend and follow that. One simply adds two values, and then divides by the number of days (in this case seasons). Let’s add up the 2012+2013 seasons win totals for both teams. In 2012+2013 the A’s combined for 190 wins. Divide that by 2 (seasons) and that’s an average win total of 95. The Giants won 94 games in 2012 and 76 in 2013. That’s a total of 170, or an average of 85 wins. The A’s are trending upward, the Giants are full of outliers, but that’s enough math.

Let’s talk players. Yes, they will be without Bartolo Colon in 2014, but contrary to what you said, they still get to keep those 28 wins he supplied them with the past 2 seasons. Actually, Scott Kazmir will be an upgrade over Colon this coming season. Colon is leaving a pitcher-friendly park, and oddly enough is getting older. Turning 40 didn’t hurt him last year, but how long could the A’s roll the dice? Apparently until they stop producing; see: Cain, Lincecum and Vogelsong‘s 2013 stats.

The Athletics don’t have 7 pitchers fighting for 5 spots. 4 of those spots are filled, competently. Dan Straily and Tommy Milone are fighting it out for the 5th spot. I feel that Straily will get the nod and by season’s end Giants’ fans will be begging Brian Sabean to lure him across the bay. Heck, throw 7 years, $126M at him. That worked out before, right?

Then of course there is Sonny Gray. His numbers may not be as flashy over the course of the whole season, because he will have some growing pains in his first full year in the majors, but come October he will be the ace the A’s have needed and propel the A’s deep into the playoffs. He’s already beaten Justin Verlander (You know, perennial CY Young candidate) once in the playoffs while only tallying 64 IP in the bigs. With more experience in 2014, he can match any opposing pitcher. His stuff is that good.

As for Michael Morse, I didn’t know that left field was the ONLY weak spot in the lineup. Glad that got shored up with his 2 hits and .182 average this spring. I know Morse should have 2 more hits, heck Home Runs (!), but this happened:

On the bright side, Reddick said he would buy Morse dinner. So you can hang your hat on that.