In the two years prior to their previous run of success from 2018-21, the A’s began to generate optimism about the future with the cultivation of future stars such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Sean Murphy at the Minor League level. Five years later, a similar promising wave appears to be forming.
Shea Langeliers, who began 2022 ranked as Oakland’s No. 1 prospect, received his first call to the big leagues in August. Finishing the year slashing .275/.370/.600 with three homers, four doubles and nine RBIs in his final 12 games with the A’s, the catcher showed major flashes of his potential both offensively and behind the plate over the final two months of the season.
Likely joining Langeliers in the Majors at some point in 2023 will be first baseman/catcher Tyler Soderstrom, who is now rated the A’s No. 1 prospect, and infielder Zack Gelof, the club’s No. 3 prospect. Both members of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list, Soderstrom and Gelof earned promotions to Triple-A in September.
3 players who forced their way onto the radar this year
RHP Mason Miller (No. 20 prospect)
A third-round pick by the A’s in the 2021 MLB Draft, Miller missed a majority of the regular season due to a scapula strain but was electric upon his return this summer. The 24-year-old righty’s fastball routinely reached 100 mph in his six Minor League outings as he posted a 3.86 ERA with 25 strikeouts across 14 innings combined between the Arizona Complex League, High-A Lansing and Triple-A Las Vegas. Continuing to build his innings this offseason in the Arizona Fall League, Miller might be on the cusp of a big league callup by next season.
3B Brett Harris (No. 16 prospect)
Harris, Oakland’s seventh-round pick in the 2021 Draft, exceeded his original offensive expectations upon joining the organization. After hitting just .238 over 27 games in 2021, the 24-year-old rebounded In his first full season with the A’s, hitting .290/.374/.475 with 17 homers, 22 doubles, 11 stolen bases and 63 RBIs in 113 games combined for High-A Lansing and Double-A Midland.
1B Dermis Garcia
Once rated MLB’s top international prospect as he signed with the Yankees as a teenager in 2014, Garcia got a much-needed fresh start by signing a Minor League deal with the A’s last November and fulfilled some of that potential. After a strong showing with Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the season, Garcia received his first Major League callup in July and finished the season with Oakland, hitting five homers, six doubles and 20 RBIs in 39 games. In a year that saw the A’s use a franchise-record 12 first basemen, Garcia performed well enough to insert himself in the mix for a bigger role at the position in 2023.
2 possible breakout players to watch in 2023
OF Henry Bolte (No. 5 prospect)
After signing his first professional contract as Oakland’s second-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft this July, Bolte turned heads when he partook in a pregame workout with the big league club by smashing several homers at the Coliseum during batting practice. A standout at nearby Palo Alto High School, which produced slugging outfielder Joc Pederson, Bolte boasts an intriguing bag of raw tools that will make him an exciting player to watch as he enters his first full season in the A’s system.
“With Henry, he’s all about the ceiling,” said A’s scouting director Eric Kubota. “There’s tremendous upside. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got a ton of raw power and can really run. There’s just a lot of upside to him. There’s some developing needed with the bat. But if the bat comes, he’s truly the kind of guy who could develop into a five-tool player.”
LHP Eduardo Rivera (No. 28 prospect)
After arm issues delayed his 2022 debut until July, the 19-year-old appeared in eight games in the ACL and recorded 22 strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings. With a 6-foot-7, 237-pound frame, Rivera has drawn comparisons from some within the organization to former A’s lefty Sean Manaea. With a high-90s fastball to go with a solid slider and changeup, Rivera will look to get a larger workload this upcoming season.
1 big question for next season
Is Cristian Pache still the center fielder of the future?
Pache joined the A’s as a key piece of the Matt Olson trade in February and immediately inserted as their No. 2 prospect. Though he’s graduated off their prospect list, concerns over his bat remain as he hit just .166 in 91 Major League games this season. With his elite 80-grade defense showing through in center field, Pache will still need to hit a bit more for the A’s to feel comfortable utilizing him in an everyday role.