Oakland A's: Key players
Josh Reddick, #16
Position: Outfield; Bats: Left; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 4 years; 25 years old
Reddick came to the A's from the Boston Red Sox in a December 2011 trade, and he emerged as one of Oakland's biggest power threats. His 32 home runs lead the team, and his knack for producing clutch hits has made him as much of a favorite as his beard and hair. Though he suffered through a late-season slump, Reddick is regarded as an important factor if the A's are to advance deep into the playoffs.
Josh Reddick's statistics
Stephen Drew, #5
Position: Shortstop; Bats: Left; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 7 years; 29 years old
Drew reached the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and disregarding an off year in 2007, he was a dependable player with All-star potential. A broken ankle shortened his 2011 season, and he was on the disabled list early in 2012, coming back in late June. He then was traded to the A's in August, providing needed spark and bolstering Oakland's infield. Former major leaguers J.D. Drew and Tim Drew are his brothers.
Stephen Drew's statistics
Jonny Gomes, #31
Position: Outfield; Bats: Right; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 10 years; 31 years old
Gomes has been a significant power source for the A's, despite playing just 99 games, rebuilding a career that faltered last season in Cincinnati and Washington. A Petaluma native, Gomes has been an effective DH and left fielder for the A's. Early in his career with Tampa Bay, he suffered a heart attack, despite being in top physical condition. He is active in the community and has sponsored nine Little League teams in Petaluma, among his other charitable contributions.
Jonny Gomes' statistics
Seth Smith, #15
Position: Outfield; Bats: Left; Throws: Left
MLB Experience: 7 years; 30 years old
Smith has been a valuable role player, contributing as a left fielder and designated hitter in his first season with the A's afetr being traded to Oakland from Colorado in January. Decent power and on-base percentage make him an ideal fit for the A's, who value both. Smith, who was backup to quarterback Eli Manning at the University of Mississippi, had 23 doubles to go with 14 homers and two triples this season.
Seth Smith's statistics
Chris Carter, #22
Position: First base; Bats: Right; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 3 years; 25 years old
A familiar face to Sacramento River Cats fans, Carter finally made the kind of impact the A's hoped for when they called him to the majors in 2010 and 2011. Both promotions were flops, but this season, his mid-season call-up resulted in 16 homes runs and 12 doubles in just 218 at-bats. He provided several key hits during Oakland's surge toward the playoffs, giving the A's a right-handed bat that could turn games around, an attribute he displayed in parts of three seasons with the River Cats, including 2010 when he hit 31 homers.
Chris Carter's statistics
Brandon Moss, #37
Position: First base; Bats: Left; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 5 years; 29 years old
Other than Cespedes, Moss might have provided more thrills than any other A's hitter after being called up from Sacramento at mid-season. His 21 home runs in 261 at-bats, along with a .354 on-base percentages and gaudy .594 slugging percentage, placed him among the most effective hitters in the league. It was a continuation of his production in Sacramento, where he posted similar OBP and slugging percentages. Moss hit a game-winning single to beat the Yankees on July 20, then homered in the bottom of the 10th to beat Seattle on Sept. 29.
Brandon Moss' statistics
Grant Balfour, #50
Position: Pitcher; Bats: Right; Throws: Right
MLB Experience: 9 years; 34 years old
A career journeyman, Balfour established himself in the majors this season with 24 saves in 26 opportunities, showing a 96 mph fastball and biting slider that turned him into a factor and one of the reasons the A's made the postseason. His nasty stuff resulted in 72 Ks in 74.2 innings pitched, and he walked just 28 batters. It has been a breakout season in Balfour's eighth major-league season, part of a pro career that started in 1997.
Grant Balfour's statistics
Tommy Milone, #57
Position: Pitcher; Bats: Left; Throws: Left
MLB Experience: 2 years; 25 years old
Milone came to Oakland from the Washington, part of the December 2011 trade that sent Gio Gonzales to the Nationals. Though Gonzales has had a Cy Young-caliber year for the Nats, Milone has been a solid part of the A's rotation, winning 13 games in his first full major-league season. Milone pitched against the New York Mets in his first start of 2011, and hit a three-run homer on the first pitch of his first at-bat, becoming one of 27 players to do so.
Tommy Milone's statistics
The Oakland Athletics, recovering from a poor start to the 2012 season, gained increasing momentum as victories mounted and earned a place in the postseason quest for an American League championship and, ultimately, a World Series crown. Regardless of what happens, the A's gained plenty of respect for their turn-around.