Winter report card: Oakland AthleticsLike many before him, the A’s are hoping to get maximum value out of unheralded players like newly-acquired catcher John Jaso. (AP)
C John Jaso, SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, IF Andy Parrino, RHP Chris Resop, LHP Andrew Werner, OF Chris Young
The Oakland A’s surprised baseball as much as any team did in 2012, improving by 20 wins over the year before, more than any other team besides the Orioles.
In doing so, the A’s not only posted their first winning season and first playoff appearance since 2006, they beat out the Rangers for the AL West flag, thus forcing Texas, which may have been the league’s strongest team, into the wild-card game, where it was eliminated. Oakland reached the postseason thanks in large part to general manager Billy Beane drawing upon the central principles of Moneyball — not an oft-misunderstood emphasis on on-base percentage but on acquiring undervalued players that could fit into the team’s low-budget means