- Paul Swydan, ESPN Insider
The Oakland Athletics won 94 games last season, but most people were not taking them seriously as a threat heading into this season. Only five of 31 FanGraphs writers picked them to reach the 2013 postseason, and only 18 of 43 experts at ESPN did as well. But Oakland has picked up right where it left off, and a recent nine-game winning streak has it at No. 2 in this week's power rankings. The A's aren't going anywhere.
Among the nine wins was a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, during which the A's thumped to the collective tune of 28 runs versus the Angels' 11 during their three games. This has been a trend in the early going, and the A's 125 wRC+ is the best in the AL. Collectively, the team is not missing much -- the A's walk rate is the second-best in the game, and their contact percentage is 12th best. They aren't chasing pitches out of the zone, and when they get a pitch to hit, they're taking advantage. As a team, they have the second-best isolated power in baseball.
Oakland was taken lightly in preseason, and that was a mistake. The A's are here to stay, writes Paul Swydan.