Oakland Athletics: Seven Things Fans Have Learned in 2015

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Jul 17, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Eric Sogard (28) tags out Minnesota Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario (20) on an attempted steal to second base during the eighth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Lesson Three: Maybe Eric Sogard Isn’t So Bad After All

What if someone said that the Oakland Athletics have allowed the fewest earned runs in the American League?

In fact, the A’s have allowed just 371 earned runs this season, heading into play on Thursday. Technically, saying they have had the fewest earned runs of any team would be a lie – Kansas City has also allowed 371. But why are the Royals crushing the AL Central while the Oakland Athletics have a healthy grasp on last place in the West? And how does Sogard tie into this, anyway?

Related: Oakland Athletics Should Be Leading AL West Right Now

Well, Eric Sogard may be a familiar folk hero in Oakland, but to other teams’ fans, his lack of prowess with a bat has always made him a weak link in an otherwise-solid lineup. And yet, there’s a side of Sogard that is often underappreciated by those fans – his stellar defense.

Players like Sogard are the difference between Kansas City and the Athletics – the Royals have allowed 393 runs overall. The A’s, meanwhile, have given up 417. That’s a lot of unearned runs. In fact, that’s an insurmountable number of unearned runs. Maybe more thought should be given to filling the roster with players who are adequate at the plate and can impress in the field. (No, Sam Fuld would not qualify under this category.)

Instead of worrying about Sogard’s inability to bat higher than .250, despite having no power and only slightly above-average speed, let’s appreciate the fact that he wields a glove with authority. Watching Marcus Semien and his league-leading 29 errors for a season should be enough to prove that if forced to choose between offense and defense, defense is always the more desirable skill.

Sometimes, value comes from where it’s least expected. Similarly, fans have learned that….

Next: The Enemy Can Get Unexpectedly Better

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