Athletics

Jurickson Profar putting together strong May for A's after slow start

Jurickson Profar putting together strong May for A's after slow start

Jurickson Profar's struggles this season have been well-documented.
 
Through the month of April, Profar was hitting .179 with just two home runs. Somehow he was even worse defensively, committing seven errors in the first month of the season, the most of any second baseman in the majors.
 
But when the calendar flipped to May, the A's have seen a new Jurickson Profar. The 26-year-old has finally started to look like the player he was last season with the Rangers when he tallied a career-high 20 home runs and 77 RBI.
 
Since May 1, Profar is batting .262 with four homers and 12 RBI, raising his season average above .200 for the first time since the third game of the season. He has also improved defensively, committing just one error while making several excellent plays to help the A's pitching staff.
 
"Jurickson's been swinging it well," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters after Monday's 6-4 win in Cleveland. "We moved him up in the lineup tonight to fifth and he responds right away with the home run."
 
It was Profar's sixth round-tripper of the season and it gave the A's an early 1-0 lead. He would follow with a solid single his next at-bat.
 
For the season, Profar is still slashing just .201/.263/.354, but his power numbers are similar to last year's. With six home runs and 25 RBI, he is on pace for 20 and 84 to surpass last season's production.

[RELATED: Anderson's neck 'should be fine' after beating Indians]
 
Profar has also proven adept at batting in multiple spots in the lineup. He has already hit second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth in the order, giving Melvin plenty of options.
 
Profar has provided a major boost to the A's offensive production over the last few weeks. If he can continue to produce from the bottom half of the lineup, Oakland should be in great shape for the rest of the season.

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

The A's impressive trio of talented prospects continued to be recognized on Saturday. Pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, as well as catcher Sean Murphy, were listed on MLB Pipeline's new list of their top 100 prospects for the 2020 season. 

Luzardo leads the way at No. 12 with Murphy ranked 33 and Puk at No. 60. This is much different than how Baseball America ranked the three

Luzardo, 22, is ranked three spots lower by MLB Pipeline than Baseball America, which placed the left-handed pitcher as the ninth-best prospect in baseball. Murphy and Puk are seen much differently by the two outlets as well. 

Baseball America has Puk as high as No. 21, coming in as Oakland's second-best prospect. His injury history as someone who underwent Tommy John surgery could be a reason MLB Pipeline ranks him lower. 

Murphy, on the other hand, is ranked eight spots higher on MLB Pipeline's top 100 than he is on Baseball America's. He's considered the best defensive prospect at catcher and could be a Gold Glove candidate as soon as this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

All three prospects played a part in the A's reaching the AL Wild-Card Game last season. In 2020, however, they'll look to push Oakland to an AL West title and more. 

The future is here for the A's, and it starts with Luzardo, Murphy and Puk.

A's fans confident in team, Mike Fiers heading into 2020 MLB season

A's fans confident in team, Mike Fiers heading into 2020 MLB season

OAKLAND -- It didn’t take long for the Q&A sessions at the A’s annual Fan Fest on Saturday to be swarmed with questions about “cheating” and “the Astros situation.” 

Yet a sense of excitement was in the air among the 32,000 green and gold faithful at Jack London Square. Typically, I would say “hope,” but A’s manager Bob Melvin said it was a season he looks forward to and there isn’t much of a message he wanted to send to his team.

They're ready.

And so are the fans. 

A young fan clutched her A’s teddy bear tightly to herself after A’s shortstop Marcus Semien took a sharpie to it. It was officially a collector’s item. 

She immediately gleamed with pride and appeared to barely catch her breath.

The long line was worth the wait.

When the topic of Mike Fiers came up, fans expressed support for the veteran pitcher, who was the main source in MLB's investigation into the Astros.

"We're behind Mike 150 percent," Fleetwood, long-time A's fan, told NBC Sports California. "We told him that, as they were marching in, 'We're behind you.'" 

"Mike is the hero, we love him for it," he added.

The combination of a strong roster on paper and support for Fiers was the theme of the day. 

"We just want to see good baseball, we want to see a competitive team -- want to see players signed, we want to be spoiled with these players just as the other teams are," Fleetwood said.

And Fleetwood's future outlook for the team? It was a deadpan look into the camera during an additional interview saying that the A's would indeed be the World Series champions next season.

Fans are looking forward to the young pitching arms and there is always a mention of “that Matt Chapman guy.” 

Watching fans list the strong things the team possesses heading into the season left them in better spirits than previous seasons. 

"The over is 89 and a half," Michael Gilson of Lafayette, Calif. said. "I would bet the over -- there's no reason for them to be less than where they were last year."

[RELATED: Sportsbook predicts 89.5 wins for A's in 2020]

Time and time again, Las Vegas has come up short in what this team can do.

"I think they've got the luxury of plenty this year," Gilson said.

Looking around, it appeared a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of Oakland fans. They have confidence in the team that looks strong on paper. The confidence that you'll be able to hear in drum and cheer form.