Oakland A’s contact issues hindering offensive potential

The Oakland A’s headed into the 2021 season with plenty of optimism. They were the defending AL West champions, and now that they are healthy once again, the hope was that they would be able to pick up where they left off.

While the A’s still have reason for optimism, the offense has struggled thus far. The main culprit has been their inability to make consistent contact, as the A’s have struck out 28 times through three games, averaging just over one stirkeout per inning.

Oakland A’s contact issues hindering offense

These contact issues do have to be looked at through a different lens. Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy, two players with solid contact rates, have been sidelined for a decent portion of the early going. The A’s have also drawn 11 walks, sixth in the American League.

But those walks can only go so far without putting the ball into play. The A’s have fared relatively well when doing so, with a .266 batting average on balls in play. That is far better than the .185/.294/.272 batting line that Oakland has produced thus far, their .565 OPS ranking 14th in the AL.

It is also easy to point fingers at those players who have struck out the most. Matt Chapman has struck out in five of his eight at bats, a concerning number given his strikeout issues last year. Chad Pinder, meanwhile, also has five strikeouts, albeit in ten at bats. Pinder also has the A’s only home run on the year.

In theory, these strikeout issues will improve as the A’s get back into the rhythm of the season. After all, they do have a tendency to start slowly, something that has been the case again this year. Likewise, having their usual lineup in place will make a difference, allowing the offense to live up to its potential.

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The Oakland A’s offense has not been what anyone expected to this point. Once they start making more consistent contact, that should change.