So I was having a conversation with my friend Chris yesterday. I casually brought up a disputable thought — I do not think Sonny Gray is the face of the Oakland Athletics anymore — and as a result, Chris was riled up. However, I was able to convince him that there are other A’s players who are red-hot this season. As a result, Chris was able to compromise with me.
Although the Oakland Athletics are tottering right now, these five players will force a smile on your face even if you witness a loss.
When there are words spoken about the Oakland Athletics’ pitching staff, you will probably hear the names Sonny Gray and Rich Hill. However, there’s a mysterious rookie who is proving himself in the Major Leagues. His name is Daniel Mengden.
Mengden is a 24-year-old right-hander from Houston, Texas. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station, where he played college baseball from 2012 to 2014. Mengden was drafted by the Houston Astros in the fourth round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Astros and was later promoted to the Tri-City ValleyCats.
Mengden is not a household name, but he is working his way up. He had a 3-1 record with a 1.39 ERA in seven starts with the Nashville Sounds. He made his major league debut on June 11, 2016, against the Cincinnati Reds. He won his first major league game in the Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants on June 27. It is amazing he was able to do what he was doing.
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Marcus Semien is another player that people might overlook. I am a huge fan of Semien, not only because he is a local, but he has been having a breakout season. The 25-year-old shortstop hit his 17th home run of the season last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many people did not believe in Semien because he has struggled in 2014.
During the last seven days alone, Semien has a batting average of .321 with 11 runs, nine hits, two doubles, three home runs, seven RBI and two walks. He is also improving the A’s defense. He has been putting in more work lately. Whether you like him or not, he definitely deserves a spot in the limelight because he is a consistent player.
Jed Lowrie was acquired from the Houston Astros for a minor leaguer. The A’s already had a full infield when they acquired Lowrie, who is an infielder. He has stated his defense will improve over time. There is a lot of uncertainty about his future, due to his switch back to second base, but he has been contributing to the A’s recent victories.
Last night, Lowrie hit a fly ball to the wall and it went for an RBI double to make it 3-0 A’s. The A’s did not win the opener against the Pirates, but Lowrie has been hitting home runs for the past week. Baseball is a team sport and you cannot rely on a few players. Let’s not forget Lowrie also hit a two-run homer to take advantage of the San Francisco Giants’ sloppy play in the third game of the Bay Bridge Series.
Coco Crisp is a veteran outfielder, but he is not slowing down anytime soon. Remember when he hit a grand slam when the A’s faced the Angels on Sunday? It was not his fault, but the A’s bullpen ruined the A’s shot at a four-game sweep of the Angels. Crisp scored six runs in the series and drove in six more.
Crisp has also helped rookie left-hander Dillon Overton win his Major League debut. He had a colossal night last Saturday along with Danny Valencia (who homered and drove in three runs). Crisp hit a two-run single and scored four times. The A’s took Game 3 with a 7-3 win over the Angels. Don’t get me wrong, Valencia could continue to improve with the bat too, but Crisp is a little more reliable when it comes to big games.
A’s starter Sean Manaea pitched extremely well and intimidated the Giants on Thursday night. The crossbay rivals were exchanging leads, but the A’s managed to win their third game in a row. Giants right-hander Jake Peavy didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Manaea, on the other hand, worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four.
It’s too early to label Manaea as a genius, but A’s manager Bob Melvin has told SF Gate that he was armed with “dominating stuff.” Manaea can be a wonderful addition to the A’s pitching rotation if he continues to stay healthy. He felt good about coming to Oakland after a trade that sent Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals in 2015. Manaea deserves a chance as a pitcher.
Where do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.