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Oakland Athletics Youth Reason For Success

One of the more surprising stories so far in 2012 has been the success of the Oakland Athletics -- especially after they held yet another firesale over the winter, trading away Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey to the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox, respectively.

The moves by Billy Beane were supposed to signal yet another rebuilding era in Oakland. The A's, however, signed Yoenis Cespedes to a contract. Cespedes has been worth every penny spent by the A's, and is one of the many reasons for Oakland's success, batting .307/.367/.517 with 14 homers and 10 steals in 290 at bats so far.

Oakland's success isn't limited to Cespedes of course. Tommy Millone, who came over in the Gio Gonzalez trade, has pitched very well for Oakland, with a 9-9 record and 3.91 ERA. Millone also has a 1.22 WHIP to go along with 101 strikeouts against just 28 walks.

Of course, there's also Josh Reddick, who was part of the Andrew Bailey trade. Reddick is hitting .260/.333/.516, with 25 home runs and 10 steals on the season.

Andrew Bailey, meanwhile, hasn't thrown a pitch for the Red Sox, and Ryan Sweeney, who was also sent to Boston, is now out for the season.

Oakland also traded Trevor Cahill this past offseason, and netted themselves Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill.

Parker has been very good for Oakland, with a 7-6 record to go along with a 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and .244 BAA.

Ryan Cook was Oakland's representative at the All-Star Game, and he's pitched very well out of Oakland's bullpen. Despite having seven blown saves, Cook has recorded 12 saves and 11 holds, while striking out 49 in 48 and 1/3 innings and posting a 1.03 WHIP.

The A's also have promising young pitchers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock to show for their winter trading as well, and that's in addition to Miles Head and Derek Norris -- two solid offensive prospects.

Billy Beane took a lot of flack for his moves in the offseason, but those moves are a large reason for Oakland's success in 2012.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.