Saturday, September 14, 2013


Division leaders shown in orange;
Wild card leaders in yellow;
Wild card contenders in pale yellow;
Also-rans in light blue...
There are some folks skulking around in the various hell-holes of the Internet (and you know how hellish such places can get...) who seem to be wondering how the Oakland A's are doing as well as they are in the 2013 AL post-season chase.

Most everyone seems to "get" that that A's have a good thing going in terms of developing pitchers...that they've found a way to use their infamous "Boneyard" (the Coliseum) as a way to maximize that talent and gain an advantage (the A's are 47-27 at home in 2013).

What they might not "get" is the A's are a surprisingly solid offensive team, third overall in the AL in run scoring and second only to the Red Sox on the road in 2013. This is a team that can hit homers, led by Brandon Moss (17 away from and the unsinkable Coco Crisp (13 on the road, and a career-high 19 for the season).

Just how are they doing that? By taking advantage of their at-bats where the platoon advantage is in their favor? As the chart shows, the Red Sox and the A's have been the best hitting teams when batters have the platoon advantage working their way (righty batters vs. lefty hurlers, lefty batters vs. righty hurlers).

The A's .777 OPS in these "with the advantage" (WOPS) is a good bit behind the Red Sox (.849), but they have hit more homers in these situations than everyone except the Orioles (who have "homer clusters" in Chris Davis and Adam Jones).

The A's and the Indians have managed to get a very high number of PAs "with the advantage" in 2013 (about a full season's worth of PAs more than the league average in these situations) and it has added some "oomph" to the A's offense in particular.

A's manager Bob Melvin, a Bay Area guy (born in Palo Alto, but went to Berkeley), seems to have warmed to the concept of platooning, and it has clearly paid off for the A's in 2013. They've not hit well when they are going "against the platoon" (just a .658 OPS, or AOPS), but all those extra PAs "with the platoon" have done a good job of offsetting that.