The Oakland Athletics have been cultivating quality, homegrown pitchers since the late-1990s. The likes of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, Huston Street, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Andrew Bailey have all come up through the farm system.
Heck, even Jason Isringhausen, Dan Haren, and Gio Gonzalez–though not original Athletics–have too found solace as young acquisitions for the A’s at the major league level.
Yet, even though the A’s have long prided themselves on the ability to develop their own pitching staffs, the organization has seemed to malign a pitcher who could very well be a future ace. That pitcher is Dan Straily. Continue reading
Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics have long been known for acquiring undervalued players. Some recent examples of this are Chris Young (11.7 WAR, 103 OPS+ from 2010-12), John Jaso (6.1 WAR, 115 OPS+ from 2010-12), and Brandon Moss (1.9 WAR, 160 OPS+ in 2012).
They’re also equally known for selling high on replaceable assets, like, for instance, trading Andrew Bailey (7.04 ERA, 63 ERA+ in 2012) for Josh Reddick (4.5 WAR, 110 OPS+ in 2012), Miles Head (.333/.391/.577/.968 line at Advanced-A/Double-A), and Raul Alcantara (wasn’t good in 2012, but who cares).
But when the A’s signed Cuban-import Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36MM deal last off-season, it was surprising. It was surprising because the signing had nothing to do with the usual peripheral analysis, and market inefficiency recognition. No, the A’s signing Cespesdes was a pure scouting move–something the A’s rarely tap into. And it paid off, big time. Continue reading
The Oakland Athletics were not supposed to be good in 2012. During the off-season, the A’s traded three-forths of their starting rotation (Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Guillermo Moscoso) and closer (Andrew Bailey), and even let their best statistical hitter (Josh Willingham) sign with the Minnesota Twins. Heck, they even lost star starter Brett Anderson on June 5, 2011 (he’s only pitched 20 IP in 2012) to Tommy John surgery, and still haven’t seen Dallas Braden pick-up a baseball in 2012 at all. Yet, it’s September, and the 76-60 Athletics are only trailing the Texas Rangers by five games, and are currently one of the two Wild Card leading teams. With their payroll a franchise-low since 2008, and incredibly, the second-lowest in the Major Leagues this season (about a million more than the Pittsburgh Pirates), one truly has to wonder, “How are the Oakland Athletics winning?”
On the surface, the answer is simple: extremely diligent free-agent signings and perfect trade returns. But let’s take a closer look… Continue reading
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Tagged Athletics, Athletics in 2012, Athletics Playoffs, Bartolo Colon, Bartolo Colon Suspension, Ben Berkon, Billy Beane, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, Gio Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez Trade, How Are the Oakland Athletics Winning?, Jarrod Parker, Jonny Gomes, Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics, Pat Neshek, Ryan Cook, Seth Smith, The Beanball, Tommy Milone, Travis Blackley, Yoenis Cespedes
It took awhile for the former top Seattle Mariners prospect, but now, as a 29 year-old–and with his sixth organization–it appears as though Travis Blackley has finally found himself. Signed as an amateur free agent out of his native Melbourne, Australia, the 6′ 3″, 17 year-old southpaw seemed like the definition of a “can’t miss” prospect. Continue reading
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Tagged Athletics Sign Blackley, Athletics Sign Travis Blackley, Baseball, Ben Berkon, Blackey's Success, Blackley, Blackley Athletics, Blackley Change-Up, Blackley Mariners, Blackley Slider, Giants Designate Blackley, Giants Designate Travis Blackley, MLB, Oakland Athletics, The Beanball, Travis Blackey Slider, Travis Blackley, Travis Blackley Athletics, Travis Blackley Change-Up, Travis Blackley Mariners, Travis Blackley's Success
Courtesy of SBR Forum
What does a career 5.26 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and 1.46 K/BB mean when you “randomly” post a sensational 3.27 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 2.61 K/BB in a single season? It usually is the sign of a fluke. In the case of Chicago White Sox’s pitcher Philip Humber, he appears to be the definition of such. However, despite his unflattering journey with five franchises in five years, Humber could still be on a very fine career path starting at age 28.
Humber was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. The New York Mets were high on the 22 year old righty out of Rice University–and so were scouts. Baseball America ranked the pitcher as the #50 prospect in baseball in their pre-2005 rankings despite a mediocre debut in 2005 (5.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.35 K/BB). In 2006, Humber turned things around, to the tune of a 2.83 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 3.95 K/BB. The righty reached as high as Double-A in ’06, posting a 2.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 3.60 K/BB in 38 innings.
The prized prospect was promoted to Triple-A in 2007, but he saw his numbers slip a bit. He owned a 4.27 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 2.73 K/BB. Still solid stats, but the drop in strikeouts and spike in HR/9 (from 0.9 the year before to 1.4) was worrisome. Potential red flags aside, Humber was shipped off to the Minnesota Twins with Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, and Kevin Mulvey in exchange for ace pitcher Johan Santana. Knowing the Mets luck, people assumed Humber would instantly become the stud he was groomed to be. However, his “stud” status didn’t come so quickly. Continue reading
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Tagged Ben Berkon, Fluke, Humber, Humber Athletics, Humber Fluke, Humber Mets, Humber Santana Trade, Humber Trade, Humber Twins, Humber White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Phi Humber, Phil Humber Fluke, Philip Humber, Philip Humber Fluke, Philip Humber Johan Santana, The Beanball, White Sox