Best Rookie - 2004
In the past three years, the A's have lost more MVPs to free agency than most teams will produce in two decades -- first baseman Jason Giambi jumped to the Yankees in 2002, and shortstop Miguel Tejada is now an Oriole. But this never seems to bother General Manager Billy Beane, ever sure he can just look at a spreadsheet and find a cheaper replacement in someone else's dustbin. Or, in the case of shortstop Bobby Crosby, in his own back yard. Crosby, drafted by the A's in 2001, is Oakland's most heralded rookie in years. Last season, in 127 games with the A's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, he hit .308 with 22 home runs, 90 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .395; if he's within shouting distance of those numbers this year, Beane will turn cartwheels. But Oakland fans, still waiting for the A's to advance past the first round of the playoffs, may want more. That's a lot of pressure on a rookie; ESPN the Magazine named him one of 10 players "on the spot" this season. For Crosby, Beane has said, "It's Hell Week for a year."