The 2018 season might not have produced a bigger surprise in terms of teams that made the playoffs than the Oakland Athletics. After three consecutive last-place finishes in the American League West, including a 75-win season in 2017, the A's rocketed to 97 wins, the league's fourth-highest total and good enough for a wild-card berth.
While the A's featured a robust, powerful offense and solid run prevention centered around a deep bullpen, nowhere did they shine as brightly relative to other teams as on defense. They led the AL in defensive efficiency, the rate of turning balls in play into outs (.717), thanks in part to Oakland Coliseum's generous foul territory, and they were second in defensive runs saved, with 25.
Befitting their performance, last week all four starters in Oakland's infield -- first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Jed Lowrie, shortstop Marcus Semien and third baseman Matt Chapman -- were announced as finalists for the 2018 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions. The winners of those awards will be announced Sunday (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET), as will the winners of the Platinum Glove Awards, for the defensive players of the year in each league.