The Oakland A's Look to Shake Off Doubters This Season

The Oakland A’s always seem to shake off its doubters. Why? Because that doubt is rarely rooted in logic or sense.

The Oakland A's are often doubted by anyone who isn't a loyal fan of the team. Most years, this doubt is proven to be foolish. (Mandatory Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Oakland A’s are often doubted by anyone who isn’t a loyal fan of the team. Most years, this doubt is proven to be foolish. Sonny Gray will be a big part of that Oakland mojo. (Mandatory Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Oakland A’s are doubted nearly every year. From criticism of Billy Beane to jokes about the modest Coliseum, it seems that non-fans of the organization are quick to write the green and gold off. This year is no exception. Josh Donaldson is gone. So is Brandon Moss. And Derek Norris. Jeff Samardzija, too. With this talent now elsewhere, commons fans assume Oakland’s talent has been depleted.

Wrong. Not only incorrect, but erroneous. The starting rotation is deep. Sonny Gray is an ace, Scott Kazmir had an All-Star 2014 run and the likes of Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman provide depth. Don’t forget about Jesse Chavez and Sean Nolin, either. Oakland should be top-five in the American League in rotation ERA.

The bullpen is equally excellent. Okay, Sean Doolittle is injured, but Tyler Clippard should fill in fine as the closer. Dan Otero is an elite groundball pitcher. Fernando Abad is a severely underrated southpaw. Eric O’Flaherty is more than serviceable. The list goes on. Like the starting staff, this bullpen group also has a chance to be top-five in the AL in ERA.

The A’s starting lineup lost power, but it gained speed and a more sound approach. Ben Zobrist and Marcus Semien offer dynamic versatility. Billy Butler and Ike Davis should equal out the loss of Moss. Brett Lawrie is an exciting, defensively adept third baseman. Stephen Vogt could succeed in a bigger role. Coco Crisp is dangerous when healthy.

Point being, the A’s have lost star power, and actual offensive power, to be sure, but they have the structure of a playoff team: deep and strong starting staff, superb bullpen and capable offense. This begs the question, where did all that hate in the offseason come from? During Billy Beane’s stint, why are doubt and negativity annual occurrences?

Put simply, the A’s do things differently. Beane is a unique mind. Roster turnover is common. Considering the team’s limited resources on top of its unusual approach, non-fans of the green and gold have trouble accepting them as relevant. Make no mistake, though, as the majority continues to doubt, the A’s continue to surprise.

That is, they surprise those who were foolish enough to doubt in the first place. For the loyal Oakland followers who trust in Beane’s vision, playoff contention isn’t surprising. It’s expected.

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