What makes the Oakland Athletics so successful?
If you haven't really followed the MLB season in the past two months, you are probably not aware that one of the best stories of the 2018 season so far is how the Oakland Athletics have become one of the American League's best teams since mid-June. Yes, we are talking about the same Oakland As team that every expert was putting dead last in the American League West division in early April.
The As are now fighting with the Houston Astros for first place at the end of August! What has happened to the Athletics to make them so good in the last two months? What is their magical recipe?
There are not a lot of ways to try to explain why this Oakland team have been so good recently. They are simply playing together and they are believing in themselves. Their confidence seems so high and it's like nothing can stop them. A big part of the credit for the season and this mentality belong to their manager Bob Melvin. He is managing the team since 2011 and he always does a fantastic job every season with a lineup and a group of players who are basically changing every season.
The As are among the teams in the league with the lowest financial budget and they just can't sign big names in the free agents market during the winter. If they want to have success, they need to develop their players themselves through the draft.
The draft is another reason why the Oakland As are doing so well in 2018. When we look at some of their best players, they almost all come from within the organization and have been developed by the team. Third baseman Matt Chapman who has had a good season was a first-round pick of the team in 2014, first baseman Matt Olson was also a first-round pick in 2012 and same thing with pitchers Lou Trivino and closer Blake Treinen. These players are all playing an important role in the resurgence of the Athletics and the team could not be that good without them.
These players are all supported by others great players like Kris Davis, who will probably be in consideration for the AL MVP, and Jed Lowrie. Oakland has been able to acquire star players because they developed their young prospects so well that they can use them later as trade baits.
Nothing is really complicated and the Athletics do not really do things very differently from anyone else in the MLB. They just play like a team every night, are led by a great manager in Bob Melvin, great young players have been developed in the farm systems, and supported with All-stars players acquired via transactions. The next big question now is: will they be able to continue their magical run in October? It sure does look like it for now. The Oakland As are the most beautiful story so far in 2018 in the MLB and the script is not done yet!
What do you think? Can the Athletics catch the Astros and finish first? Let us know in the comments.