By Tommy Rancel //
Biggest Surprise: Daric Barton
Barton spent most of 2008 as a regular in A’s lineup, but appeared in just 54 games in 2009. Back in the lineup in 2010, Barton has been an on-base machine. With a triple slash line of .271/.392/.395, he is not the prototypical slugging first baseman – but productive nonetheless. His above-average walk rates have kept his OBP near .400 for most of the season. In addition to the walks, he has 45 extra-base hits and 75 runs scored.
Biggest Bust: Kurt Suzuki
In July, the A’s rewarded Suzuki with a contract extension. He has repaid the team with the worst offensive performance of his four-year career. After 53 extra-base hits a season ago, he has just 31 this year. His batting average is a career-low .246 and his poor walk rate (6.2%) limit his chances to get on base otherwise. You could do worse at the catcher position, but Suzuki has disappointed this season.
2011 Keeper Alert: Daric Barton
Most of the talent on the A’s resides on the pitching side of things. However, if you had to keep one hitter given the likely asking price, Barton would be the guy. With his great OBP, Barton could score 100 runs in a more talented lineup.
2011 Regression Alert: Jack Cust
It has been a strange season for Cust, who was non-tendered and designated for assignment by Oakland within the last year. Still, Cust has posted an .837 OPS as the A’s DH. He continues to walk a lot, but also strike out; however, he hasn’t hit home runs like years past (12 this year, after 26-33-25 in the previous three season). In a disturbing trend, his home run-to-flyball ratio has dropped in each of the past four seasons. In addition to that, his .387 BABIP is absurdly high despite his normal .271 batting average. With “old man skills” and an expected decline in BABIP, Cust shouldn’t be on your 2011 draft board in standard mixed leagues.
For more on the Daric Barton and the Oakland A’s lineup, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits.