Oakland A’s: Three biggest surprises thus far
By David Hill
No one expected that the Oakland A’s would be in this spot after two and a half weeks. A team that had been gutted due to the avarice of ownership and appeared destined for one of the top picks in the 2023 MLB Draft is still above .500. While the fans are refusing to head to the ballpark and line John Fisher’s pockets any further, the A’s themselves have been entertaining and fun to watch.
Naturally, there have been plenty of surprises for the A’s thus far. No one really knew what to make of this roster at the start of the year, and while this is an extremely small sample size, it is still interesting to see which players may have taken a major step forward in 2022.
Three biggest surprises on Oakland A’s
Which players have been the biggest surprises for the Oakland A’s thus far in 2022? Let’s take a look at three players who have stepped forward so far.
For years, Paul Blackburn has been Triple-A depth for the Oakland A’s. He was that player that would come up from the occasional start or three due to injury, sent back to Triple-A where he could continue to exist as an “in case of emergency” arm.
That appeared to be his ceiling. While Blackburn would have occasional flashes, he never did enough to inspire the confidence that he would ever be more than that sort of a depth piece. His 5.74 ERA and 1.486 WHiP in 138 innings over parts of five years. He had a spot in the A’s Opening Day rotation mainly because there were not many other options.
But sometimes all a player needs is a chance. That may well be the case with Blackburn as he is suddenly looking as though he could be a part of the A’s future. He has allowed just three runs on 11 hits and a walk over his 15 innings, striking out 14 batters.
Yes, it is an extremely small sample size. Blackburn could easily implode in his next few starts and look like the pitcher he had been. However, he has given the A’s reason to hope that he has taken a step forward and can be a solid middle of the rotation arm going forward as they look for pieces to build around.