Melvin wastes no time trying to replicate 2018

February 16th, 2019

MESA, Ariz. -- A's manager Bob Melvin is notoriously superstitious, so when it came time to plot a plan for his introductory meeting with the full squad on Saturday morning, he stuck to the same guest speaker list that accompanied his 2018 gathering.

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Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and Dave Stewart spoke to the group much the same way they did ahead of a remarkable 97-win season last year.

"In our organization we're lucky to have such impactful guys and such a rich tradition of winning," Melvin said, "so it's certainly nice to have guys like that here."

Melvin, of course, had his own spiel, except the message differed a bit from last year.

"We talked about expectations a little bit, kind of where we came from, where we are now, and where we expect to go," he said. "I wanted to let our guys know that we had a terrific season and accomplished a lot, so therefore you kind of arc back to where you were at this time last year, and guys really understand how far we've come. Now, the trick is to keep it there."

Melvin's A's are no longer under the radar following their unexpected ride into the postseason last year; they're noticed for more than simply winning, though. A stream of new A's players who were in opposing dugouts last year have all essentially echoed the same sentiment this week: These A's play the game the right way.

"That warms my heart, and I hear that around the league, too," Melvin said. "That's the way it's always presented, 'You guys play the game the right way,' and it's noticeable. Then, when you have guys that come in here saying the same things, it makes you feel good. It should make the players feel good because they're the ones that created that type of atmosphere."

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It was a group effort in 2018 in the thick of much adversity and injury. The A's employed 53 players, falling one short of the Oakland record of 54 set in 2007 and matched in 2017.

"One of the focal points of our meeting always is, we're more of an army," Melvin said. "We go through between 40 and 50 players every year. It's more powerful that way. Everybody is involved. And I think guys notice that on the outside."

Worth noting

• Prospect made it to camp in time for Saturday's first full-squad workout despite concern he would be a late arrival after experiencing visa issues amid political unrest in his home country of Venezuela.

(shoulder) continued to increase his batting practice swings and participated in all defensive drills Saturday.