DONALDSON, MOSS & CESPEDES FORM TOP RBI TRIO IN BASEBALL
Prior to Sunday’s game at the Coliseum, I was sharing a table in the Press Lounge with a group of writers. One of the Angels’ scribes brought up a recurring subject, one that has tried my patience in recent weeks. Despite carving out the best record in the majors for the past two-and-half years, there still seems to be a prevailing feeling that our lineup is filled with “no name” castoffs that have mysteriously managed to finish ahead of mega-payroll teams loaded with “superstars.” Well, I wouldn’t say that I snapped, but I did find myself gradually raising my voice as I emphatically told my writer friend that if he thinks we still have no-name players and are baffled by how we continue to win, then the blame is on him! We have played over 400 games since the start of 2012, which I would think is an ample sample size.
And, while we continue to employ the same winning formula—depth and interchangeable parts, platoons, defense, teamwork and pitching—there may be a transition underway this season. Some of our cornerstone players, the ones who were called overachievers in 2012 and 2013, have blossomed into bona fide stars this year. Certainly Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Sean Doolittle have made profound statements on the hill. But where the A’s have made the greatest strides is with their every-day players, many of whom have become legitimate 24-carat stars. Look no further than the middle of our lineup. While national media seem fixated on the usual big-salaried suspects—all of which are deserving—it’s Josh Donaldson (48) and Brandon Moss (46) who are the top tandem in all of baseball with 94 combined RBI. Better than Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Better than Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Better than Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig. Better than Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis. Better than David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (50) and Jose Bautista (40) are the second-most productive duo with 90 RBI. And if you want stretch the comparison to the best threesome on one team, again, it’s the Athletics with Donaldson, Moss and the mercurial Yoenis Cespedes (37) driving in a Major League-leading 131 runs at this juncture of the season. The next closest are the Blue Jays’ triumvirate of Encarnacion, Bautista and Brett Lawrie (31) with 121. And if you’re wondering about who the premier MLB home run trios are, it’s Toronto with 42 (Encarnacion 19, Bautista 14 and Juan Francisco 9) and Oakland with 38 (Donaldson 15, Moss 13 and Cespedes 10).
It’s this kind of production and star power that tends to inspire nicknames. The Bash Brothers. The Blake Street Bombers. Harvey’s Wallbangers. The Big Red Machine. Maybe it’s time for us to take suggestions for this year’s most prolific one-two punch in the majors. The Mash Brothers? The DoMo Mojo? Or maybe we should celebrate the A’s fearsome threesome of Donaldson, Moss and Cespedes. DoMoYo? The Oaktown Three? Clearly I need help. Send me your ideas. Who knows, you might make history!
And speaking of history, what may have gone unnoticed last weekend was the fact that Moss set a new Oakland record for most extra-base hits in the month of May with 19, surpassing the old record of perennial All-Star Jason Giambi. Recently, A’s Manager Bob Melvin referred to the left-handed slugger as one of the best power hitters in baseball. He couldn’t be more right. While we were heartened to see J.D. lengthen his lead in the All-Star third base balloting this week, it was disappointing to see Brandon fall out of the top five in DH voting. Let this serve as a reminder that we need to continue to cast our votes for Donaldson, Moss, Cespy, Derek Norris, Jed Lowrie and all our favorite Athletics as we enter the final month of All-Star balloting. Our first-place A’s absolutely deserve multiple All-Stars this season, and it all starts at home with your great support. Let’s do it!