Immensely talented, young, brash and fresh off some post-season experience ? sounds a lot like adjectives that people were using to describe the Oakland Athletics during spring training.
The A?s were the trendy pick not only to win the American League West, but to unseat the Yankees and make a trip to the World Series for the first time since 1990.
Considering the expectations placed on them, the A?s easily have been by far the biggest disappointment in baseball so far this season. They currently stand at 6-13 and in last place.
Some people think the new high strike zone has really hurt the A?s, a very selective hitting team that led the league in walks last year.
However, I think that last year, this team sneaked up on people and this year, all of their young players are realizing just how hard it is to be successful when everyone is gunning for you.
Other than reigning MVP Jason Giambi who has been great as always, the Oakland lineup has really struggled.
The two biggest culprits have been shortstop Miguel Tejada and new acquisition Johnny Damon. Tejada is only hitting .224 with seven RBI?s, while Damon, who was terrific for Kansas City last year, has really struggled and is at .220 with only one home run.
The A?s pitching staff was also highly touted coming into the year, however, staff ace Tim Hudson and Barry Zito have both been hit hard this year. Currently Hudson is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA, and Zito sits at 2-1 with 6.15.
Before people jump all over these two guys, they need to realize that neither Hudson or Zito is older than 25 and that this is only Hudson?s third season in the majors and Zito?s first full year.
Both the Oakland lineup and its pitching staff are good and are probably going to be great someday ? but these things take time. All I know is that they had better get their act together before this season becomes too late to salvage.