Thursday, November 30 2023

As a longtime baseball fan, I’m not enjoying the current plight of the Oakland Athletics. The story about a potential move isn’t a fun one, or a particularly clean one. The team is obviously in the muck, sitting on a minus-196 run differential, easily the worst in baseball.

Alas, I choose to see this cup 15% full, not 85% empty. The A’s are on a cute 7-3 binge in their last 10 games. They defeated the Rays earlier this week on Reverse Boycott Night, to the delight of a festive crowd. Oakland no longer has the worst record in the American League. Baby steps.

And maybe there’s some fantasy value to be mined in this town. No, we’re not going to find another Rickey Henderson or Jason Giambi or Dennis Eckersley. But hopefully we can do better than Scott Hatteberg.

You have to move the goalposts, but the offense hasn’t been that bad of late. Over the past two weeks, Oakland ranks 13th in runs and ninth in OBP. Somewhere, Jonah Hill might be smiling.

Speedster Esteury Ruiz is the only Oakland batter currently rostered in the majority of Yahoo leagues — he’s chased up to 81%. So if you see anything else you like here, it’s available. Let’s try to find something we like.

Ryan Noda is the team’s best player over the past month — a .291 average, 19 walks, three homers. He’s usually slotted in the second or third position.

Noda’s old for a rookie, now 27, but you wonder why he never received a chance before. His career slash in the minors is a strong .264/.407/.486. He knocked 25 homers and stole 20 bases in 135 games in Triple-A last year, blocked in the Dodgers system. I don’t care that Noda was old for the level, that type of production deserves attention.


There’s been some Yahoo activity with Noda lately, but he’s still a modest 18% rostered in our games. That number should at least be doubled. You can use him at first base or the outfield.

If that’s not enough versatility for you, Jace Peterson would like a word. The well-traveled rover qualifies at second, third and the outfield. And he’s on a .378 binge the last two weeks, with two homers, four steals, even five walks. Perhaps he could be a modern-day version of Tony Phillips for these guys. Peterson is also widely available, rostering at 13%.

Brent Rooker’s story is much like Noda’s — a guy who hit in the minors but never seemed to get a fair chance in the majors. And I grant you it’s been difficult to reconcile what Rooker has done this year — he was a monster in April (1.273 OPS), invisible in May (.616 OPS). Perhaps the porridge has been just right in June, with Rooker settling in with a .263/.349/.500 slash. That’s almost identical to the full-season .261/.362/.507 line he carries.

Things were expected from Rooker once upon a time; he was a first-round pick in 2017. The Twins, Royals, and Padres all gave him a brief shot in the majors, but he was sitting on a modest 240 at-bats before this season. That’s too small a sample to determine anything. Rooker’s rostered in nearly half of Yahoo leagues, probably a little on the light side. I’m still carrying some shares.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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