Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 7/30/12

In 2002, the Oakland A’s shocked the world. Despite losing their top three superstars to free agency before the 2002 season (Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Jason Isringhausen), the A’s put together a 103 win campaign en route to the AL West Division Title. The legacy that the 2002 A’s ball club left on baseball was far more impactful than the everyday playoff birth or pennant chase. Billy Beane, the A’s GM, had set a premise for what every small market or mid level market organization needed to do in order to compete with the big dogs. By using mathematical and economic formulas that combined percentages with baseball statistics (sabermetrics), Beane was able to put together a winning team within Oakland’s small market budget that contended for the AL Pennant. And just like that, Moneyball was born.

Now, here we are, celebrating the ten-year anniversary of Beane’s creation. Since the Moneyball philosophy hit the baseball world, the Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston Astros have all reached the World Series. The Minnesota Twins have won six division titles and the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres have each won two division titles. Just a few months ago, Beane’s legacy attained even more public recognition, as the film Moneyball was a box office smash that received six Academy Award nominations, including best picture. Of course, on the ten-year anniversary and during the year that the Moneyball movie swept the nation, it is only fitting that the small market Oakland Athletics do it all over again. And, doing it again they are.

What a month it was in the Bay Area. In the month of July, the A’s have won 18 of their 22 games, including a 4 game sweep of the first place New York Yankees and a 3 game sweep of the large payroll Boston Red Sox. They have won all seven one-run games they have been apart of this month, which includes three walk-off wins in extra innings. The A’s currently have the lead in the AL Wildcard race, and only trail the division leading Rangers by 4.5 games. But, like in 2002, everybody around the country is asking the same question: “What is happening in Oakland?”.

Firstly, the Oakland A’s pitching staff has been dominant throughout the entire season, not just July. They rank 4th in the Majors in team ERA (3.44), 5th in team WHIP (1.24), 7th in batting average against (.243), and 10th in quality starts (57). Led by All-Star closer Ryan Cook, the A’s bullpen ranks 5th in the majors in relief wins and 3rd in relief runs allowed per game (3.69). Along with the strong bullpen, the A’s (when healthy) starting staff, consisting of Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy, Jarrod Parker, Travis Blackley, and Tommy Milone, is the only staff in the entire American League in which all 5 starting pitchers boast a sub 3.99 ERA (Colon has the highest with 3.78).

Secondly, the emergence and growth of rookie OF Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of the Oakland lineup has helped put runs on the board for the A’s. One of the storied headlines during the offseason was the signing of Cespedes. Not many knew much about the Cuban defect before the year started, but after Spring Training, it became obvious that Cespedes could not handle a Major League breaking ball. Noticing that pitchers were going after his weakness, Cespedes made it his mission to better himself at the plate against curveballs, changeups and sliders. He did just that. Since the All-Star break, Cespedes has developed a greater understanding at the plate. While still able to hit the fastball with consistent power, he has shown tremendous improvement in his ability to drive the breaking ball by keeping his bat through the zone for a longer period of time and taking the outside pitch to the right-center field gap. Pitching coaches around the league have had to adjust their scouting reports on Cespedes due in part to his new weapons of both plate discipline and power against breaking balls.

With two more months of competitive baseball left to play, if the Oakland staff and Yoenis Cespedes are able to continue their high rate and successful consistency, Billy Beane and his Moneyball ways will shock the world… again.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Phil Jackson is the architect of a Finals contender

Marcus Mariota 'eating up' Tennessee Titans offense

Eagles insider: Tebow 'has a ways to go' after Tuesday OTA

Cromartie: Richard Sherman is a product of Seahawks system

Prince Shembo’s girlfriend says he was jealous of dog


Bruce Arians: Talk of Daryl Washington a 'waste of breath'

Gerald McCoy keeps the Jameis Winston hype in check

Gronkowski family to appear on 'Family Feud'

WATCH: Lloyd McClendon has all-time meltdown

Drew Bledsoe defends Tom Brady over Deflategate

Did Heat offer Dwyane Wade less than $10 million per season?

JR Smith shares photo calling Bruce Jenner a 'science project'

Joey Gallo arrives in Texas

Dinosaur in Chicago won't wear Blackhawks jersey this year

Can these struggling contenders get back in the playoff picture?

Texas recruit 'tanks academics' so he can play for Oklahoma?

Indians bullpen holds Brandon Moss' 100th homer ball ransom

Bryce Harper takes on-field selfie with fan’s phone

Yahoo to openly, freely stream NFL game from London

Mariota tops Jameis Winston, Tom Brady in jersey sales

Adrian Peterson's return puts jolt into Vikings for 2015

Wilson on future with Seahawks: 'We'll see what happens'

QB Blake Sims misses playing for Alabama

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Joey Gallo arrives in Texas

NBA Finals preview: Cavs offense vs. Warriors defense

USA Women’s World Cup: No excuse not to win

Projecting rosters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.