Mitch Moreland more than his numbers for Oakland A’s
By David Hill
Mitch Moreland appeared to have a very defined role for the Oakland A’s. He was going to be part of the group of players replacing Khris Davis at the designated hitter role, likely serving as a strong part of any platoon. Moreland was also the primary backup at first base, just in case something happened to Matt Olson. His role was certainly clear.
Based on those roles, Moreland has to be considered a disappointment. He has produced a .228/.287/.386 batting line, hitting seven homers and nine doubles in his 209 plate appearances. However, as manager Bob Melvin indicated that Moreland had been dealing with various aches and pains prior to his time on the Injured List, that lack of production may be due to those issues.
Mitch Moreland not just his statistics
The A’s clearly need Moreland to get back to being the player he had been in his career. He was a solid power hitter who mashed right handed pitching, someone that added balance to a very right handed heavy lineup. Getting him back on track could make a major difference to the A’s going forward.
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However, he has already made an impact upon the team. The A’s had valued Moreland for what he could bring to the team, as they stated his professional approach to hitting and his playoff experience could make a major difference on Olson and Matt Chapman. His tutelage could help the A’s get over the postseason hump.
Moreland is also a major factor in the locker room. While core players such as Chapman and Olson have been important in getting the new players comfortable in the locker room, Moreland was one of the players that Melvin mentioned immediately after. Despite being with the team for less than a season, he has already stepped in as one of the leaders in the clubhouse.
That presence in the clubhouse matters just as much to the A’s as the performance on the diamond. Moreland may not be the hitter he had been in the past, but he has given the A’s more than they could have imagined in the locker room. And, if he has been able to get Olson on track, his time with the A’s could have a long lasting impact.
Mitch Moreland has been a disappointment with the bat for the Oakland A’s. However, in every other aspect, he has exceeded expectations.