Grading the Athletics' performance after the first two weeks of 2024

Can we truly grade a team's performance after just two weeks of play? No, but we have a lot more info now than we did on Opening Day.
Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

Oakland A's fans have plenty to complain about in regard to how the team has been run over the past several years. From the unnecessary teardown of the on-field team to the Las Vegas relocation debacle, things have not gone well as of late.

However, the A's are still playing baseball this year, showing mixed results so far. Their first two series against the Guardians and the Red Sox did not inspire confidence, as the team started 1-6 and was outscored 44-15.

They've started to play a bit better, winning 4 of their last 6 against the Tigers and Rangers, two strong opponents. We'll have to wait and see whether that success continues through the middle of April.

Things may have been a bit easier if the team had properly addressed several holes during the offseason but it wasn't in the cards. They've also been dealt a number of injuries, with 9 players who were expected to be with the big league club currently on the IL.

The A's have had terrible injury luck

Reliver Trevor Gott underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year. Sean Newcomb is having trouble with his surgically repaired knee, and Freddy Tarnok recently had an MRI on his surgically repaired hip, neither of which bode well for this summer.

Luis Medina and Miguel Andujar both suffered sprained knees, and Andujar's required surgery to fix. Aledmys Diaz is on the 60-day IL with a calf strain and Ken Waldichuk is still out after undergoing flexor tendon surgery earlier in the offseason.

Scott Alexander should hopefully be back by the end of April but that's a small consolation given that Brent Rooker just went out with a similar rib injury and will miss at least the rest of the month.

All that's to say that the A's are relying on a number of players who should probably be at Triple-A right now, or are questionable 40-man assets to begin with.

What about the positives?

Despite those shortcomings, the A's have looked competent over the last week. They showed out against the reigning World Series champs, taking two of three against the Rangers and pitching a shutout on Thursday afternoon.

Paul Blackburn is off to a scorching start. He's yet to allow a run in his first 13 innings and though the strikeouts aren't quite there, he's inducing a ton of weak contact. If he can stay healthy, this could be a breakout year for him.

We knew Mason Miller was a monster but there have always been questions about whether he could stay healthy. The track record for pitchers who average upper 90's velocity on their fastballs isn't great, with most of those guys requiring at least one Tommy John surgery.

Until we get that kind of news, we'll keep riding this high. Miller is a strikeout machine, punching out 37% of batters so far. On Thursday, he hit 104 mph with the four seamer and threw all 9 of his fastballs over 100 mph.

On the offensive side, JJ Bleday probably isn't a long-term center fielder but he is hitting .277/.320/.426 with a homer, two doubles, and five RBI. Zack Gelof looks good as well. He's up to .239/.327/.457 with two homers, two steals, and nine runs scored, good for a 132 wRC+.

Seth Brown has been uninspired but has been playing every day, getting reps against both righties and lefties. JD Davis has been solid so far, if not impressive. Shea Langeliers carried the A's to victory on Tuesday with 3 home runs, and Darell Hernaiz and Kyle McCann have each recorded their first career hit in the big leagues.

Infielder Max Schuemann was just recalled to take Rooker's spot on the active roster and should get the opportunity for some in-game action over the weekend.

Overall, we're probably looking at a C- if we're being generous. There isn't a ton in the way of upside, even when the injured guys start coming back. A's fans are left hoping for great performances from Gelof, Miller, and Blackburn, and hoping for repeat performances from Rooker and Ryan Noda.

The A's almost certainly won't compete for a playoff spot so we'll take the wins where we can get them. With any luck, Esteury Ruiz will be back up with the big league club before the end of the month and who knows - maybe Tyler Soderstrom will hit well enough to challenge for the backup catcher job in Oakland before the spring is over.

Whatever else happens, we still have baseball in Oakland for the rest of the summer.