That Escalated Quickly… Brokeland Franchise Post #2

The season started with a jolt. It was met with a quick introduction back to reality. Now, after the first two months of the 2023 season in the books there are a lot of experts scratching their heads.

The A’s started the season with a highly surprising sweep of the Angels. They followed it with a series win over Cleveland. The rest of the month of April was less fun for the Green Goblins as they lost 13 of their next 22 games with one more surprise sweep of the Mets. Much of the struggle that has come this season has been from the middle relievers as the starters have out-performed expectations.

The only reason Sam Moll has a 5-o record as a reliever is because he has given up a lead all 5 times and it has fallen on the offense to catch back up. This is the case for Paul Blackburn, Ken Waldichuk and Domingo Acevedo. The shocking aspect of this team is that they are winning in spite of their pitching and until recently, it has been strictly through aggressive baserunning; and some under-the-hood moves that are feeling bigger and bigger thanks to Hawk Blackstone’s constant attention to the minor leagues and consistent communications with teams that are clearly tanking. Not to mention making nearly $10 million in two months by stealing over 110 bases as a team.

So, what’s going on?

The A’s have the second best record in the majors at 37-21 with a 2.5 game lead on the Rangers. Yes… That happened. But the real question is how?

First, there was the hiring of Rickie Shields as hitting coach after the first month of the season saw the A’s flounder with a .229 team average. The team has not only improved to a .259 average, but their XBH totals are first in the league as well (leading in Doubles with Tampa and leading alone with 21 Triples). The big stat increase has been their HRs as they are now at 79 on the season (still 30 off the lead of Atlanta with 109), but considering they had only 29 in the month of April, something positive is happening and that’s welcome news for the fans.

The biggest change has been in three of the team’s biggest leaders making it clear that this is an opportunity they plan on holding onto. Jo Adell has improved his average from .195 in the first month to .298 as the season enters June, did we mention he is 4th in the Majors with 17 HRs and 44 RBI while also leading the league in Triples?

Royce Lewis struggled to be much more than a base stealer to start the season. As the steals came down in the month of May, his average and power jumped. His first home run was a grand slam against the Mariners to open May and has since gone to resemble the player and leader they needed. His hustle and willingness to move around the field for any position has also gone a long way with his teammates. The A’s have made one thing clear this season and that is that as of right now – there are no specialty players.

“We are younger than any team and that means that we are still building our strength literally and figuratively.” said Blackstone as the team limped into May with a few injuries and some green rookies being called up.

Speaking of rookies. That is basically what this team is. They don’t know that they should be losing and that’s what makes them dangerous. With Earl Childress being signed out of nowhere prior to spring training, some personalities wondered if Blackstone was crazy signing the farm boy from Southern Illinois. Childress was a state champion wrestler and a utility player for his high school baseball team. Having been recruited by numerous midwestern colleges he eventually decided to turn it all down to help on his family farm. “My dad got hurt and I had to make a decision – go off to college and hope that after a few years I might get drafted, or help my parents keep their farm. It wasn’t really a tough decision.” That’s when Blackstone saw the news that a high character player was making a huge sacrifice.

“Mr. Blackstone came to the farm in a helicopter while I was finishing up feeding the cattle. At first I hollered at him because he was spooking the animals. Once I realized that he was wearing A’s gear, I started to freak out a little bit and realized I had forgotten to wash my hands before shaking his… they were pretty nasty, but he didn’t seem to mind.”

Two Cuban players also have made a big splash in Ezra Guzman and Alan Amoros. They are both batting in the high .200s with nearly 20 HRs between them. “Those guys can do it all and we are a better team because of it.” said catcher Shea Langeliers.
The A’s have come together quickly this year and most of that is due to purposeful team building.

More moves that have happened for the A’s include trades for Alexis Diaz from the Reds as the new closer. He has blown two straight saves in the last week, but the team has faith that he will get back to where he was with 10 straight to open his time in May.
They also traded for Taj Bradley and Shane Baz from Tampa and also pried away Luis Patino in a later trade. Yet another young arm in Eury Perez from Miami was snagged in Hawkstone’s typical lighting deal strategy for trades.

Bringing in Jorge Mateo as a stolen base machine has paid off big so far and with two years of team control left on his deal, the A’s are excited about what he can do as his skillset is expanded.

Some players are on the shitlist and they are all pitchers. Domingo Acevedo, Ken Waldichuk and Paul Blackburn are all clinging to their roles with young talent nipping at their heals in AAA ball. While currently injured, James Kaprielian is one player that may have saved his career with an impressive 4-2 record and a 2.70 ERA carrying 47 Ks and only 12 walks with a 1.24 WHIP.

Our Next Update will feature prospects and an update on the A’s scouting process as we come up on the draft.


Author: NoobTubeTV

I work with leadership to provide guidance, feedback and a plan of action in order to improve facilitation, learning, morale, efficiency and quality of production from their workforce.

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