Best Player: Leg and hip ailments kept Jemile Weeks out of nearly as many games as he could play during the past two seasons. But the 24-year-old second baseman managed to stay mostly healthy this season, a change in fortune that earned him a callup to Oakland on June 7 when Mark Ellis pulled a hamstring.
He batted .321/ .417/.446 with 10 stolen bases in 45 games for Triple-A Sacramento before helping to ignite the dormant Athletics, who went from a 10-game losing string to a six-game winning streak following Weeks' promotion. Elevated to the leadoff spot, the 2008 first-rounder hit .306 and used his speed to become an instant force with six steals, 12 runs scored and three triples through 19 games.
Biggest Leap Forward: Righthander Graham Godfrey ended last season as a 26-year-old buried in the minors, so pitching coaches Gil Patterson and Scott Emerson helped the side-armer raise his arm slot. The alteration afforded Godfrey more velocity and more depth on his breaking ball, and the difference was striking.
He went 7-1, 2.50 in nine starts for Sacramento, prompting the A's to call him up when injuries struck. In his second big league start, Godfrey outdueled Tim Lincecum for his first victory. He held a 4.24 ERA through three starts.
Biggest Disappointment: The A's had planned to move Chris Carter to left field, which would allow Daric Barton to remain at first base. But Carter injured his thumb last season with Sacramento and missed time, including a planned stint in the Mexican Pacific League. He then missed nearly eight weeks of the 2011 season with a sprained left wrist.
The 24-year-old Carter returned to the River Cats in mid-June and went 11-for-33 with three homers in nine games to earn a callup to Oakland, where he supplanted Barton, who had hit .212 with little power.
• On the heels of missing the 2010 season, righthander James Simmons spent the first half of this year rehabbing a sore arm. The A's expected him to return to full-season ball in July.
• Sacramento shortstop Josh Horton went down with a torn hamstring and may miss the remainder of the year.