Athletics

Athletics

Believe it or not, we've officially reached the midway point of the season. Through 81 games, the A's are 43-38, the same exact record as this time last year, and we all remember what happened in the second half of 2018.

Here's a look at the A's midseason report card, with grades for each position:

Infield: A-

This has probably been the best unit on the team. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson have both hit for a ton of power while maintaining their Gold Glove-level defense at the corner infield positions.

Chapman leads the team with 19 home runs and 44 RBI, while Olson has belted 13 homers in just 48 games.

Marcus Semien is having the best season of his career at shortstop, slashing .271/.352/.437 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI. Defensively, he's even better than last year when he was a Gold Glove finalist.

After a slow start, Jurickson Profar is heating up at second base. His 10 homers rank sixth on the team and his 40 RBI are tied for fourth.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise has been Josh Phegley. The A's catcher already has a career-high nine home runs and 41 RBI, with a .258/.302/.478 slash line from the No. 9 spot in the lineup.

Outfield: B

The A's outfield has been solid -- if not spectacular -- both offensively and defensively. Center fielder Ramón Laureano is leading the way with a .262/.307/.441 slash line, with 12 home runs and 37 RBI. He also leads all center fielders with seven outfield assists.

Stephen Piscotty has been decent, though not quite as productive as last year. Oakland's right fielder is slashing .244/.306/.395 with nine homers and 34 RBI. He figures to pick it up in the second half of the season, as he did in 2018.

 

Mark Canha has been the A's best option in left field, slashing .235/.368/.515 with 10 homers in just 49 games. Robbie Grossman and Chad Pinder have also been productive at times.

We'll throw Khris Davis into this position group as well. While KD isn't on pace for his fourth straight 40-home run season, he's still been valuable in the lineup, slashing .251/.311/.466 with 16 homers and 43 RBI.

Starting pitching: B

This was supposed to be the weakness of the team, but the starting rotation has held its own. Unfortunately, Frankie Montas' season is essentially over following an 80-game PED suspension. The right-hander was having a breakout season at 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA.

Still, Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt have been mostly reliable. After a horrific start to the season, Fiers has bounced back to compile a 7-3 record and a 4.20 ERA. Anderson is 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA.

Bassitt has made 12 starts, going 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA. Tanner Anderson and Daniel Mengden have also been adequate in their roles. Of course, the expected second-half additions of Jesús Luzardo and Sean Manaea could really bolster the rotation.

[RELATED: Mengden's routine is to thank for 'terrific' start in A's win]

Bullpen: C-

The bullpen has unquestionably been the biggest disappointment so far. After being the strength of the team last year, Oakland's pen has already blown 15 saves this season, tied for third-most in all of baseball.

Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino have been the main cause for concern. After terrific seasons in 2018, both right-handers have struggled to protect leads this year, combining for seven losses already, compared to five all of last season. New addition Joakim Soria has also had a rough first half, going 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA, though he has pitched better of late.

On the other hand, Liam Hendriks and Yusmeiro Petit have been tremendous, combining to go 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA. Wei-Chung Wang has also been a pleasant surprise, allowing just three runs in 12 2/3 innings, while limiting opponents to a .140 batting average.

Second-half outlook

All things considered, the A's find themselves in a pretty good spot entering the final 81 games. At 43-38, Oakland is just two games out of the second wild-card position and 1.5 games out of the first spot, while also within 6.5 games of first-place Houston in the AL West.

If Luzardo and Manaea do join the starting rotation at some point and the bullpen improves its overall performance, the A's should once again be in the mix for a postseason berth.