Fatal flaw: Every MLB contender has a weak spot

Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts as he talks to New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) on the mound during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
14 of 14
Next
Elvis Andrus. Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Elvis Andrus. Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Athletics

The Athletics are solid in many places where a contender is supposed to be solid. Measured by WAA, they are No. 1 at first base (thanks to Matt Olson), top 10 in left and center, solid at third and second, and they have a reliable rotation.

The fatal flaw is at shortstop, where the A’s are getting virtually no contribution.

Elvis Andrus, brought over from Texas in a pre-season trade, is batting .232 with a.585 OPS. He’s also been a defensive liability, with -6 defensive runs saved. Thus far A’s manager Bob Melvin has taken a sink-or-swim attitude with Andrus, who has started all but even of the team’s 101 games.

It isn’t working. Andrus, in company with his occasional fill-ins, has accounted for -1.2 WAA at the position. That ranks a desultory 28th among the 30 teams, ahead of only the Pirates and Reds.

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to boil down the difference between the Athletics and the division-leading Astros to that one fatal flaw. Oakland trails Houston by five games. Astros shortstops, principally Carlos Correa, have generated a +2.4 WAA, 3.6 games better than Andrus’ Athletics.

Next. The 30 best closers in MLB history. dark

Oakland’s front office should have one target this MLB trade week: upgrading at shortstop. The team Is not likely to survive long in the postseason if they are relying on Andrus.