OAKLAND -- The question topping everyone's list who follows the A's: Can the team repeat last year's success this season?
Down by 13 games in the A.L. West standings at 37-42 on June 30, the A's went 57-26 the rest of the way to win the division title on the final day of the regular season.
But despite last year's 94 wins and the unfurling of a championship banner before Monday night's season opener against the Seattle Mariners, the A's aren't exactly consensus picks to repeat as division champions.
The Los Angeles Angels have added slugger Josh Hamilton, and the Texas Rangers, despite losing Hamilton, remain loaded.
In the end, however, the 2013 season will be about whether the A's maxed out their abilities last year, meaning a fall back in the standings this year.
Many of the good things in 2012 included Yoenis Cespedes coming from Cuba, jumping into the middle of the lineup and hitting .292 with 23 homers. Joining Cespedes in the outfield was Josh Reddick, who led Oakland in homers (32) and RBIs (85) after being freed from the insular culture in Boston.
The rotation lost starters Brandon McCarthy (injury) and Bartolo Colon (drug suspension) in the final two months last season, but led by Brett Anderson, the A's went 18-8 down the stretch and erased the Rangers' five-game lead.
But with a team so young -- 12 rookies played key roles last year -- can the A's avoid a collective sophomore slump?
To start with, pitching coach Curt Young discounts the relative youth of the A's rotation, which includes four members 26 years of age or younger, and Colon, who is 39.
"It's more about the situations that these guys have already been in," Young said. "They've pitched in a great pennant race. They've started postseason games. That kind of experience can't be overlooked.
"If there is some kind of sophomore slump somewhere along the line, we'll deal with that, but we're heading into the season with a very talented group."
A year ago, no one quite knew who the A's were or what to make of them. This year, they are a known quantity.
"There's not going to be any sneaking up on anyone this year," manager Bob Melvin said. "Actually, I don't think we snuck up on anyone the last couple months of last year. We have players who are young, but they aren't unknown."
That's not to say there aren't questions.
First baseman Brandon Moss was at Triple-A Sacramento when the A's called him up last June. He produced 21 homers and a .291 average in 84 games, allowing the A's to trade Chris Carter to Houston for infielder Jed Lowrie.
Is Moss more than a one-year wonder?
"He's got a natural gift at the plate," hitting coach Chili Davis said. "I think you'll see more of what you saw from him last year now that he knows he'll be out there every day."
The one-year question also applies to Josh Donaldson. He hit .153 before the All-Star break, then .290 in 47 games after being recalled from Sacramento in August.
"He's a great athlete, and he did what great athletes do, figured it out," Melvin said. "We go into the season confident he's maturing as a hitter and as a third baseman.
In the outfield, Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Reddick want to play every day, but they won't because offseason acquisition Chris Young needs at-bats.
So does Seth Smith, who has averaged 15 homers and 55 RBIs in under 400 at-bats in each of the past four seasons.
One of the outfielders will likely be the D.H.
"We're not a team based around two or three guys," Melvin said. "We used 50 men last year, and each of them contributed. I don't know that we will use 50 this time, but we've got better depth now than ever."