Oakland Athletics vs. Giants Position-By-Position Breakdown: Who Wins?

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Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics /

Second Base: Jed Lowrie/Chris Coghlan* vs. Joe Panik

Joe Panik was an All-Star last year, though many would argue it was because the person who chose him happened to be his manager, Bruce Bochy. He was hitting .312/.378/.455 through 100 games before an injured back hit him hard. Jed Lowrie was injured as well last year, but when he did play, he rocked left-handers with a .908 on-base plus slugging percentage (better than Panik’s .769 vs. lefties).

Chris Coghlan destroys right handers, hitting all of his 16 homers against them. Panik has a little less pop, hitting seven of his eight homers last year vs. righties. Coghlan possesses more speed than does Panik, stealing eleven bags while Panik only had two stolen bases last year.

Panik does have a better batting average than the A’s platoon, but because there is more power and speed from the A’s, the A’s have a little edge against the Giants.

Advantage: A’s

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Shortstop: Marcus Semien vs. Brandon Crawford*

Brandon Crawford‘s defense beats out Marcus Semien‘s by a mile. Crawford’s counting stats are pretty close to Semien’s, though. Consider:

Crawford: 65 runs, 130 hits, 4 triples, 21 home runs, 6 steals, 234 total bases

Semien: 65 runs, 143 hits, 7 triples, 15 home runs, 11 steals, 225 total bases

Semien is faster than Crawford based on these numbers, and his defense is getting better thanks to Ron Washington and the A’s coaching staff. Still, the win in this case ought to go to the All-Star, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove winner.

Advantage: Giants

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Third Base: Danny Valencia* vs. Matt Duffy

You would not be remiss in thinking that the person who placed second in Rookie of the Year voting last year should be winning this battle. But did you know that Danny Valencia placed third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010? Plus, even though Matt Duffy was a hitting machine for the Giants, he was also a double play machine for them in 2015, hitting into 22 double plays. That’s only four less than Billy Butler! Valencia hit into just 13.

Duffy is a good hitter, batting .295/.334/.428 last year, but Valencia hit .290/.345/.519. His isolated power (a statistic which measures raw power) numbers dwarf Duffy’s: Valencia’s ISO is .229, and Duffy’s is .133. Valencia beats out guys like Jose Abreu, Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera in that statistical category.

Most importantly, he strikes out less than Duffy: Valencia struck out every 4.3 at-bats, while Duffy K’ed every 6. Common sense puts it this way: do you want the sophomore coming off a pretty good rookie year, or do you want a major league veteran who has more power and strikes out less?

Advantage: A’s

Next: 'A's vs. Giants: Outfield