The Oakland Athletics lineup is terrible there’s no way around saying that.
Matt Olson has been the lone bright spot for the A’s though and he can’t carry the offense on his shoulders. He did start off the year strong, yet has come back down to earth. He’s now hitting .258 with 46 hits, 12 doubles, 13 home runs, 33 RBI and an OBP of .348.
That’s a far cry from the first 23 games of the season for Olson who hit .314 with 27 hits, six doubles, seven home runs, 19 RBI with an OBP of .375. It means that in his last 27 games he’s hit .207 with 19 hits, six doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI, and an OBP of .324.
Also A’s manager Bob Melvin needs to stop moving him around in the lineup as he’s hit anywhere from second to fifth in the lineup. His spot is cleanup. This year his average is a solid .287 with 10 home runs and 23 RBI.
Olson has done well with runners in scoring position though he has hit only four home runs. He also appears to likely have gotten out of his slumping ways with a double to left center field and a single down the third base line yesterday against the Seattle Mariners. If he can consistently start beating the shift by going to the opposite field that average is going to go up.
For Melvin the biggest issues for Oakland offensively is Ramon Laureano and Matt Chapman.
Unfortunately Laureano is likely going on the injured list at some point today. Even when in the line up he didn’t do much with runners in scoring position his average is at .205. Chapman arguably is the worst every day player when it comes to his approach at the plate.
Against the Mariners yesterday he got a number of pitches to hit and he either swung and miss or took the pitch.
So at this point there isn’t anything he does well at the plate anymore. He used to showcase opposite field power yet in 182 at-bats this year he’s only hit five home runs he had double that amount in 40 less at-bats in 2020. When he’s got opportunities with runners in scoring position he has driven in 14 yet hasn’t hit a home run and his average is only .239.
It’s still way better than his season average which now sits at .203. He strikes out a lot, 70 times already. He has walked more than 2020 so his OBP is a bit higher at a woeful .314. To further illustrate how dreadful Chapman’s season has been he’s hitting .183 with nobody on, has struck out 48 times and walked 19 times.
This also is another example of Melvin moving a player in the lineup that he shouldn’t. Surprisingly Chapman has done significantly better hitting in the fifth spot where his batting average is decent at least for himself at .261, with all five of his home runs, 14 RBI, and an OBP of .353.
Jed Lowrie has cooled off from a strong start. What has been most impressive with him is that he’s done well when runners are on base and is the A’s best hitter by far when it comes to runners in scoring position with an average of .356, his spot in the lineup is in the sixth spot where he’s hitting .362.
He started the year off strong yet has struggled in his last 19 games hitting only .188. He also can’t play every day due to his injury history which has allowed Tony Kemp to get more playing time and he started the year slowly and has done better of late.
Also for the A’s designated hitter/first basemen Mitch Moreland has struggled with some injuries this season so he hasn’t been in the lineup consistently. So there has been limited production from him.
Still the most pressing issue with Laureano out of the lineup is to move Mark Canha out of the leadoff spot. He’s done a decent job though his batting average is only .249, his OBP is .387. The issue is even though he’s hit 10 home runs so far he’s not getting many opportunities to hit with runners on base as he’s only driven in 15.
The issue for Canha is that he only has 39 at-bats with runners in scoring position this year and his average is .256 in those situations. It’s also due to the ineffectiveness of the bottom of the order, Sean Murphy isn’t going to get on base consistently, Kemp has been better of late, Vimael Machin who got some at-bats earlier in the season got sent to Las Vegas and was woeful, Aramis Garcia doesn’t hit with any consistency, Stephen Piscotty and Seth Brown are platooning in right field and combined aren’t getting on base either. Short stop Elvis Andrus has really struggled though he did recently get his average over the Mendoza line.
As mentioned before with Laureano likely going on the injured list the A’s need to make a move and bring someone up for Las Vegas. Last time it was Luis Barrera who didn’t get much playing time once he got called up.
Barrera is more of a corner outfielder than a center fielder. Which is why Skye Bolt needs to get brought up. He’s been stellar so far with a .375 average, three home runs, 11 RBI and an OBP of .488.
So what does that mean for Melvin and the A’s offense? A new batting order that looks like this:
1. Kemp 2B/LF
2. Bolt CF
3. Canha LF
4. Olson 1B
5. Chapman 3B
6. Lowrie 2B/DH
7. Brown RF
8. Murphy C
9. Andrus SS
Of one thing that is for sure the fourth, fifth, and sixth spot in the lineup shouldn’t get changed. Olson, Chapman, and Lowrie are at their best in those spots.