The Oakland A’s may not be doing much right this season, but they are on pace to set one impressive team record.
As noted by Jessica Kleinschmidt on Twitter, the A’s have allowed just two passed balls thus far in 2022. The team record for the fewest passed balls allowed over a full season is four, set back in 2001.
Oakland A’s catchers showing their value
Part of this is by design. The A’s have focused on the position in the draft and in trades, with Gold Glove winning backstop Sean Murphy having been selected in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The A’s have also selected Tyler Soderstrom and Daniel Susac in the first round in the 2020 and 2022 MLB Drafts respectively, while acquiring Shea Langeliers as part of the Matt Olson deal.
With 15 games left, that focus is showing in regard to those passed balls. Murphy has just one in his 931 innings behind the plate this season. That is actually a better showing than last year, when he allowed one passed ball in 923.1 innings. The other passed ball was allowed by Cristian Bethancourt, who is now a member of the Rays.
This is not likely to change. Murphy and Langeliers have gotten most of the time behind the plate, and the A’s catching prospect is also viewed as a possible Gold Glove winner in the future. Stephen Vogt has not seen as much time behind the plate this year but has been solid when he has strapped on the tools of ignorance.
It is also clear that defense is going to be a focal point for the A’s going forward. Between the likes of Langeliers, Nick Allen, and Cristian Pache, there should be plenty of spectacular plays being made. It is just a matter of those players hitting enough for that to matter.
The Oakland A’s are on the verge of setting a team record this season. They have allowed just two passed balls on the year with 15 games left to play.