The A’s may have been the first team to jump on the flyball-heavy approach to lineup building, getting a jump on the home-run revolution that’s since become an epidemic in baseball. That approach worked like a charm from 2012 through 2014, when Oakland enjoyed a mini-version of its Moneyball heyday via three straight playoff berths.
Following three straight last-place finishes, that bash-and-mash approach might be the A’s best bet to get back to the winner’s circle. Matt Olson obliterated AL pitching in his truncated rookie season, smashing 24 home runs and slugging .651 in 59 games. Fellow rookie Matt Chapman combined extra-base pop with a slick glove at third base, and could be another building block. And that’s not even mentioning Khris Davis, whose 43 bombs ranked him second among all AL hitters, but whose advancing age (he turns 30 next month) makes him a likely trade candidate for an organization that’s long been hyper-aggressive about selling high on veterans and constantly striving to get younger.