A repeat as AL West champions for the Oakland Athletics starts with manager Bob Melvin. Without him at the helm, it’s not happening this year and it wouldn’t have occurred last season either.

The team is talented, but Melvin pulled the right strings at the right times throughout the 2012 season. With the first base platoon returning and five outfielders for four spots, he’ll have to hope his magic touch hasn’t waned.

Take comfort, A’s fans.

There’s a reason Melvin is a two-time Manager of the Year winner. After nine years of coaching in Major League Baseball, he holds a .502 winning percentage. Furthermore, he’s managed teams to 90 or more wins three times, including in his first full year as Oakland’s manager.

In 2012, he did it with low expectations. Now he’ll have plenty—from fans and management.

The roster hasn’t seen much turnover in the offseason, so Melvin will face similar challenges. However, this time he’ll be more accustomed to the pieces he’s playing with.

These are the nine reasons Melvin holds the keys to the green and gold machine.

You might find that most are no-brainers. Nearly all of these reasons should be written in a manager’s job description. But with a team this young, the role becomes that much more important for success.

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