Being a small market team, the Oakland Athletics have always had trouble when it comes to acquiring a steady revenue stream, big name players, and media attention. Additionally, with an old stadium that is shared with the Oakland Raiders, the odds are definitely against the A’s when it comes to competing with big-market baseball teams. These misfortunes make it hard for the Athletics’ players to be voted onto the AL All-Star team no matter how good their record is or how successful individuals are during that season. It has never been clearer this 2013 season as right handed pitcher Bartolo Colon is the sole Athletic representing the team for the All-Star game.
So lets do some comparisons. This season, the Athletics hold a 51-37 record, which is better than the Detroit Tigers (48-38) who have 6 players on the All-Star team. When we compare outfielders Yoenis Cespedes (Athletics) and Torii Hunter (Tigers), they seem very alike with them both batting and throwing right and holding similar slugging percentages. Even though Hunter might have a higher batting average at .309, they are tied when it comes to RBI with 42 each. Cespedes takes the lead in home runs with 15 under his belt this season compared to Hunter’s 6. However, Cespedes landed 9th in the voting while Hunter resided at 5th.
Then there is Athletic Josh Donaldson. Donaldson probably had the best chance out of all the Athletics to make the All-Star team. With a .317 average – the 5th best in the AL – and a .386 on-base percentage, he had a better batting average and on-base percentage than Baltimore Oriole Manny Machado, Texas Ranger Adrian Beltre, and Tampa Bay Ray Evan Longoria, who all ranked higher than Donaldson in the All-Star game voting. With 15 HR and 42 RBI this season, Donaldson had the skills to make the All-Star team, just not the well-known name.
Lastly, there is Grant Balfour, whose ERA and number of saves ranks him right up with those pitchers who made the All-Star team this year. With 22 saves this season, he has zero blown saves and a 1.82 ERA. Even though the AL All-Star team has some great pitchers this year, Balfour is having one of the best seasons of his career and is equally as good as the majority of the pitchers chosen. He definitely deserves to be identified as an All-Star.
With many big-market teams and their big name players to compete against, the Oakland Athletics always seem to be forgotten and shuffled into the small market team mix. Even though the A’s had the second lowest payroll in 2012, they are still a team to watch out for as they currently hold the lead in the AL West. Although 13 is usually seen as an unlucky number, the 2013 season may mark the start of a new era – a big-market team era – for the A’s if they continue to win and make a name for themselves not only in the Bay Area, but in the entire MLB.