Why the A’s will be better than people think in 2023
There’s no way around it, the Oakland A’s sucked in 2022. Any team is going to look awful in their first year of a rebuild, but the A’s hit a new low. They suffered their second MLB 100-loss season in 55 years of being in Oakland.
While we can sit and talk about all the bad parts, there’s a lot of hope for this A’s team heading into the next season. I’m not saying they’ll be contending, but this team is going to be better than people think heading into 2023.
The most obvious reason is the young talent on this team. The firesale of stars such as Matt Chapman and Matt Olson allowed many of their prospects to debut in 2022. Shortstop Nick Allen, whose defense is compared to Chapman’s, made his debut in April. Utility man Jonah Bride got the call in June after batting over .300 in 40 minor league games.
Catcher Shea Langeliers and outfielder Cristian Pache, the headliners in the Olson trade, both saw time in the big leagues, mainly flashing their defense. No. 2 prospect Ken Waldichuk and No. 8 prospect Jordan Díaz came up later in the season, with Waldichuk making his case to be in the 2023 rotation.
We’ll take a look at the list of A’s players to debut this season and see just how young this team is going to be. Good old Billy Beane once again got his team good prospects, and it’s going to pan out in a few years.
- SP Ken Waldichuk, 24 (via Montas-Trivino trade)
- SP Adrián Martínez, 25 (via Manaea trade)
- SP JP Sears, 26 (via Montas-Trivino trade)
- C Shea Langeliers, 24 (via Olson trade)
- SS Nick Allen, 24 (2017 draft pick)
- 1B Dermis García, 24 (minor league free agent)
- INF/DH Jordan Díaz, 22 ( 2016 International FA)
- OF Cristian Pache, 23 (Olson trade)
- 3B Kevin Smith, 26 (via Chapman trade)
That’s just the kids who made their debuts this season. Flame throwers Luis Medina and Mason Miller, and possibly even No. 3 prospect Zack Gelof could debut in 2023.
Gelof leads us to our next reason why the A’s will be better than in 2022. Their talent in the minors is developing much quicker than I’m sure even Beane would’ve thought. 2020 first-round pick Tyler Soderstrom debuted in Triple-A this season at the age of 20. Between Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A this season, Soderstrom hit 29 homers and 105 RBIs. For Gelof, a torn labrum back in June prevented a full season in Triple-A for the 22-year-old. Nevertheless, the 2021 draft pick made his second trip to Triple-A since the draft, hitting .270 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs.
While the A’s already have a good amount of MLB young talent, we still haven’t looked at the players they could still trade or even sign in free agency. Catcher Sean Murphy and outfielder Ramón Laureano could end up bringing a haul of top prospects into Oakland. Because if we know one thing about Beane, his ability to land solid prospects in his trades is impeccable.
Of course, free agent signings or even trades can lead veterans on one-year deals to fill some holes not covered by the youngsters. It also provides a rebuilding team with more trade pieces if they succeed during the season. Look at the last A’s rebuild, spanning between 2015-2017. The A’s traded for Ben Zobrist, which led to them trading him to the Royals for Sean Manaea. Old man Rich Hill signed a one-year deal with the A’s in 2016, and it led to Hill being shipped to the Dodgers alongside Josh Reddick for Frankie Montas.
Baseball fans know the story of the A’s. They spend no money, but every three-four years they surprise us and make the playoffs. They always give fits in the AL West, whether they’re contending or rebuilding. As I said, this team won’t be a winning team in 2023. But, they are going to be much better than a 100-loss team, especially the longer this young core builds chemistry over the year. Most of these prospects had amazing results in the minors, and for MLB, their defense and pitching seems to be strong as always.
I do think this team will flirt with .500 in 2024. At the rate these prospects are developing, the A’s are going to have a very good baseball team come 2025. As long as they can get their stadium situation figured out, A’s fans should be excited to see how the next core pans out.
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