The year 2023 has been miserable for fans of the Oakland Athletics for myriad reasons and we don't really need to revisit all that right now, because this is a good-news update. The A's are calling up two of their top three prospects to start the season's second half, the team announced Friday. That would be a promotion to the show for both catcher/first baseman Tyler Soderstrom and second baseman Zack Gelof.
Back in January,ranked Soderstrom as the A's number one prospect with Gelof checking in at third.
On Soderstrom, he said:
Scouts have been high on Soderstrom's bat since he was drafted with the 26th pick in 2020. Some evaluators were even proponents of moving him out from behind the plate immediately, allowing him the opportunity to max out his offensive potential. The Athletics clearly didn't share that opinion. They've continued to play Soderstrom at catcher, albeit while crosstraining him over at first base. However the A's divvy up Soderstrom's defensive responsibilities heading forward (and the presence of Shea Langeliers on the depth chart would suggest it's not as a most-days catcher), the draw here is his offense. He has a chance to be a plus hitter who contributes both average and slugging alike.
Soderstrom has indeed split time between catcher and first. In 69 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, he's hit .254/.303/.536 with 15 doubles, two triples, 20 homers, 59 RBI and 45 runs this season.
And on Gelof, Anderson said:
Gelof, Oakland's second rounder in 2021, reached Triple-A in his first full professional season after batting .271/.356/.438 with 13 home runs in 87 Double-A contests. The sales pitch here is that he has a wide collection of solid to solid-average tools and a patient approach that lets him draw walks. The drawbacks with Gelof's game are that he may not have a plus tool other than his speed, and that his eagerness to constantly work deep into counts resulted in a 27 percent strikeout rate. Add in how Gelof's arm could play on the light side, and there's probably more downside here than meets the eye.
Initially a third baseman, Gelof spilt time between second and third last season and has been at second full-time in 2023. In 69 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, he's hit .304/.401/.529 with 21 doubles, a triple, 12 homers, 44 RBI, 60 runs and 20 stolen bases.
The A's open the second half of the season at home Friday against the Twins.