The Oakland Athletics saw their fair share of disabled players throughout the second half of the season, which
caused them to lose their American League West lead. However, now that the majority of those players are back, the Athletics have more than enough teammates to take the field each game. This leads to multiple combinations of lineups and the majority of them have been successful. Now the Athletics are taking the last month of the season by storm and are leading the AL West by five and a half games. How did they achieve such a stacked roster in a little over a month? Let’s recap.
First, let’s look at the catching position. John Jaso went out with a concussion injury in late July. Even though he was only put on the 15-day disabled list, he has continued to stay on the disabled list well after the allotted 15 days. Then Derek Norris was placed on the DL due to a fractured toe in late August. This left rookie Stephen Vogt as the lone catcher with third baseman Josh Donaldson as the backup catcher. As a result, the Athletics traded for former Athletic Kurt Suzuki in order to have at least two catchers in the rotation. When September rolled around, Norris was released from the DL. Now the Athletics have three healthy, well-qualified catchers rotating behind the plate.
Second, when right fielder Josh Reddick was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist, many players were shifted around the field in order to fill the gap. First baseman Brandon Moss was moved to right field while Nate Freiman covered first base alone. To assist Freiman, the Athletics brought up Daric Barton from Triple-A. However, once Reddick returned from the DL during the second week in September, the Athletics have three first basemen to choose from.
Third, there is the outfield, which has become a hodgepodge of players. First, center fielder Michael Choice was brought up from Triple-A on September 1st. Then Yoenis Cespedes, who sometimes hits in the DH slot, suffered a shoulder injury in mid-September. This allowed Chris Young to receive more playing time left field as well as Brandon Moss who slid over from first.
Lastly, there is second base. Jemile Weeks was brought up from Triple-A at the same at as Choice. However with Eric Sogard and Alberto Callaspo – who was acquired by the A’s just before the July 31st deadline – in front of him, Weeks has not seen much playing time.
The designated hitter seems to be up for grabs these days as four different players have hit in this position in the past five games. The only consistent players for the Oakland Athletics is Coco Crisp, who continues to bat first and plays in centerfield, and Josh Donaldson, who usually bats second and plays third.
With players being added to the active roster each day – most recently pitcher Brett Anderson – the Athletics have a good mix of players in order to concoct a winning lineup. They have already found success when it comes to rotating players, and will hopefully ride this success throughout the rest of the season. With at least three players per position, the Oakland Athletics will need to try hard to find a combination that does not work in their favor.