3 unexpected building blocks for Oakland A’s

May 20, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 20, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sometimes, a player just needs a chance. The Oakland A’s were certainly going to give those opportunities this year.

A major part of the A’s rebuilding process was going to be to find players they could build around. Players that had been designated as Quad-A players or minor league filler were going to get a chance to prove themselves.

Three surprise building blocks for Oakland A’s

In some cases, the belief that they would not be able to produce in the majors was proven to be correct. In others, those players have run with the opportunity presented, establishing themselves as viable major league options. They have forced their way into the A’s plans, both this year and into the future.

The Oakland A’s have found several unexpected building blocks this season. Let’s take a look at three players who should be part of their future.

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn was destined to be a depth piece. He was someone that the Oakland A’s would be able to stash in Triple-A, bringing him to the majors when they needed a sixth starter or in case of injury.

His major league track record had not indicated anything different. Blackburn had posted a 5.74 ERA and a 1.486 WHiP in his 138 innings across five seasons. While he issued just 38 walks, Blackburn struck out only 77 batters as he appeared to be nothing more than a depth option.

He ended up in the A’s rotation as there were few other options. It turned out that he may have just needed to know that he would remain in the majors no matter what. Blackburn has been a revelation, posting a 1.91 ERA and a 0.992 WHiP in his 42.1 innings entering Sunday, striking out 34 batters with just seven walks.

That performance has led to questions about his future, albeit in a good way. He has performed well enough to be considered a possible trade chip despite having three more years of team control left. Instead, the A’s should regard him as a part of their future core, even if he is likely a middle of the rotation arm.

Paul Blackburn was expected to eat innings for the Oakland A’s this year. Instead, he has become someone that they can build around.

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