'I have big-time goals': Gelof out to build on rookie momentum

March 4th, 2022

MESA, Ariz. -- Things couldn’t get much better for .

After signing with the A’s as a second-round pick in last year’s MLB Draft and immediately impressing in his time with Low-A Stockton, Gelof was preparing for a stint with Oakland’s instructional league program in Arizona to put the finishing touches on a solid first year in the organization. About a week into the program, a phone call from A’s director of player development Ed Sprague delivered Gelof an even sweeter way to end a fruitful year.

“I got a call from Spraguey and he said, ‘You’re taking a flight to Vegas. You play in the morning. Make sure you’re ready to play,’” said Gelof. “It was awesome. I wasn’t expecting it.”

Instead of ending the year at instructs, Gelof was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. Given that rare opportunity as a first-year player, he took advantage by hitting .583 (7-for-12) with six RBIs in three games for the Aviators to end the Minor League season.

Gelof’s journey will likely see him begin the 2022 season at High-A Lansing. With the A’s having shown a willingness to quickly accelerate prospects to higher levels, the chance is there for him to soar through the system. Holding the momentum, Gelof is ready to capitalize.

“I have big-time goals,” said Gelof. “A lot of people talk about the power and everything. What I want to do is be a complete hitter. Power will come if you’re consistently on the barrel hitting it hard to all fields.

“The big thing for me is that I truly believe I can hit at the big league level. Now it’s about finding my role at third base or wherever else they want me and be the best I can at that position. I’m just going to try to keep getting better, focus on what I can control and let them choose where I go.”

Gelof was considered to have some of the best raw power of any college hitter in his Draft class, and he instantly confirmed the high praise that his bat received from Draft experts. Slashing .333/.422/.565 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 36 games -- a majority of which came at Low-A -- his stock is expected to rise even higher as he enters his first full pro season.

Though he finished 2021 ranked the club’s No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline, many within the organization now view Gelof near the top of that list, perhaps even neck-and-neck with No. 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom.

“He’s got an advanced approach,” Sprague said of Gelof. “He knows his strike zone and his swing. He’s super athletic. He can run. He’s got some power in there that is going to come. Good defender. I think he’s a guy that can play a few spots if we wanted him to. Very competitive hitter. He’s fun to watch.”

Aware of the high expectations, Gelof took his offseason training to the next level by moving to Florida, where he split time training at Cressey Sports Performance and Boras Sports Training Institute. The focus was on strength work to help keep him on the field.

Training in Florida also afforded Gelof the opportunity to work alongside several Minor League and Major League players who also frequent the facilities.

“I was just working on staying fast and athletic,” said Gelof, whose speed was also on display last season with 13 stolen bases. “Multiple other big leaguers would show up. It was nice to see their routine and how they go about their routine and learn from them. It was exciting.”

Gelof’s confidence has been evident while mixing it up with fellow top prospects this spring at A’s Minor League minicamp. The 22-year-old third baseman’s presence is inspiring for the other young players who share the field with him in practices. He believes he can hang with the best, and he’s on a mission to prove it.