September 27, 2022

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Holman tosses immaculate inning

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Welcome to the A’s prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Clarke has first career multihomer game (April 15)
Denzel Clarke followed up his first career four-hit game on April 14 with his first career multihomer game in High-A Stockton’s 14-10 win over Modesto.

The A’s No. 17 prospect went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, four runs scored and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot, connecting on home runs in the first and seventh innings. In his past two games, Clarke has gone 7-for-10 with three homers, seven RBIs, eight runs scored and two stolen bases.

The 21-year-old’s combo of power and speed in the outfield makes him an enticing option for Oakland as it looks to build out its roster of the future through an improved farm system. — Nick Trujillo

Holman finds perfection … for one inning (April 14)
Although his final line won’t be one Grant Holman will look back fondly on, he did shine during one particularly quick inning.

Pitching for High-A Lansing, the 21-year-old pitched produced an immaculate inning in the fourth against host West Michigan. Nine pitches, nine strikes and three strikeouts. The three whiffs came against Mike Rothenberg, Ben Malgeri and Trei Cruz and were part of a career-high nine-strikeout performance for Holman, who took the loss after surrendering five runs (four earned) in five innings.

The 2021 sixth-round Draft pick has struggled through his first two outings, allowing six earned runs and 14 hits in nine frames, albeit with 11 strikeouts. — Michael Avallone

Pache bringing flashy tools, big energy to A’s (April 11)
ST. PETERSBURG — Certain baseball players possess a natural talent that just screams star potential. With each game he plays in an A’s uniform, Cristian Pache continues to show off qualities that fit such a description.

The more the A’s saw of Pache in Spring Training after he joined the club as part of the prospect haul acquired from Atlanta in exchange for Matt Olson, it became apparent the 23-year-old center fielder can impact the game in a variety of ways. That’s exactly what he did in Oakland’s 4-1 victory over the Phillies.

With the A’s entering the ninth holding a 2-0 lead and seeking late insurance runs to combat Philadelphia’s potent offense, Pache followed Austin Allen’s single by roping a double down the left-field line at Citizens Bank Park that registered a scorching exit velocity of 104.5 mph off the bat, per Statcast, putting Oakland in a strong position to add on. Full story »

Gelof is on fire to start the season (April 10)
Zack Gelof
flashed his offensive prowess in limited action last season and has picked up right where he left off.

The A’s No. 3 prospect tallied four hits — all singles — with two RBIs and a walk in Double-A Midland’s back-and-forth 12-10 win over Amarillo. Gelof, 22, has recorded multiple hits in each of his three games to start the season and his four-hit game stands as an early season high. He is 9-for-16 with two homers, eight RBIs and a .563/.611/.938 slash line so far. — Nick Trujillo

Gelof homers twice in grand Opening Day (April 8)
Zack Gelof
’s 2022 season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start.

The 22-year-old homered twice, including a third-inning grand slam, to finish his first game of the season 3-for-5 with five RBIs, two runs scored, a walk and two strikeouts. His offensive performance helped propel Double-A Midland to an 11-9 win over the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

Gelof is ranked as the A’s No. 3 prospect after a 2021 season that saw him hit seven homers and nine doubles with a .333/.422/.565 triple slash line in 36 games. The second-rounder in the 2021 Draft spent the majority of his season at Single-A Stockton, but reached Triple-A in September, where he went 7-for-12 with a double and six RBIs in three games. — Nick Trujillo

Shea hey! Langeliers shines bright in Las Vegas (April 6)
Only weeks into his tenure with the A’s, Shea Langeliers put his name in the books. Oakland’s second-ranked prospect notched his first hit and homer and RBI of the season with one swing during Triple-A Las Vegas’ 8-7 loss to Reno. Langeliers went hitless in four at-bats on Opening Night but followed that up by reaching base three times. The 24-year-old also singled, walked and scored twice.

Traded to the A’s last month in a five-player deal that sent All-Star Matt Olson to the Braves, Langeliers finds himself on the cusp of the Majors with his new organization. The backstop put together a strong 2021 campaign, his first full-season slate after being selected ninth overall in the 2019 Draft.

Langeliers clubbed 22 home runs, posted a .833 OPS and drove in 53 runs in 97 games with Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last year. — Michael Avallone

Young hitters have a day in Glendale (April 1)
A few of the A’s top prospects were featured on the traveling roster to Glendale, Ariz., for Friday’s 12-4 win over the White Sox, and they made the most of their opportunity.

Denzel Clarke, Oakland’s No. 17-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and Kevin Smith (No. 16) had the loudest cracks of the bat as they both crushed three-run homers, with Smith driving in two other runs to boast a five-RBI game. Also on the trip was No. 11 prospect Pedro Pineda, who hit a booming double off the wall in left-center at Camelback Ranch.

Earlier in the game, Cristian Pache, the club’s No. 4 prospect, got the start in center field and went 1-for-2 with single and a walk as he continues to make his case for a spot on the Opening Day roster. — Martín Gallegos

Allen’s big day on offense (March 24)
Gold Glove-caliber defense is what has lifted Nick Allen to the top of the A’s prospect rankings in recent years in spite of questions about his offensive production. Early on in Spring Training, though, his bat has shined. On Thursday, he crushed a solo shot to left as part of a 2-for-2 day.

Allen, Oakland’s No. 5-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, made big strides at the plate in 2021, slashing .288/.346/.403 with six home runs, 17 doubles and 12 stolen bases in a combined 89 games at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas. In the middle of that campaign, he also got a chance to showcase his skills on the national stage, helping Team USA to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics over the summer. That offensive improvement has continued in the Cactus League, where he is now batting .714 with a homer and two triples in five games.

“It’s given me a lot of confidence,” said Allen of his 2021 season. “I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of guys that have had a lot of time in the big leagues. I’ve learned a lot and I’m just trying to take that into here and keep going.”

Though shortstop is his primary position, Allen’s defense appears to be just as slick at second base, where he got the start on Thursday. That versatility should only help his case as an outside candidate for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

“I played second my whole life, too, so it’s nothing new to me,” Allen explained. “When I go out there, I’m expected do a job, and that’s my goal. Make the plays whether I’m at short or second.” — Martín Gallegos

Oller settles nicely in first ST game experience (March 23)
It’s rare that a simple Spring Training game can leave a pitcher a nervous wreck. For A’s right-hander Adam Oller, though, there was nothing simple about this one. Story >

Soderstrom, Allen get big opportunity (March 19)
A road trip to Goodyear, Ariz. presented a big opportunity for several A’s top prospects to get some playing time in Saturday’s 9-3 loss to the Reds.

Oakland’s top-ranked prospect and No. 56 overall, catcher Tyler Soderstrom, and No. 5 prospect Nick Allen both cracked the starting lineup. Soderstrom, who was the designated hitter, got two plate appearances and drew a walk against a seven-year big league veteran in Zack Godley.

“It’s awesome,” Soderstrom said of his chance to start a Cactus League game. “I’m just happy to be around all these big league guys and big league staff and show them what I’m all about.”

Allen, considered to be one of baseball’s elite defenders at shortstop, showed what he can do with the bat as he blasted a leadoff triple in the fifth and later scored on a groundout by Vimael Machín.

“Going forward, there’s probably going to be a limited amount of opportunities in camp for the younger players,” said A’s manager Mark Kotsay. “So it’s a great time to get them in and get them exposed to the Major League game.” — Martín Gallegos

High expectations for new prospect Ginn (March 17)
J.T. Ginn
is new to the A’s organization, but his talent has long been on the club’s radar.

Ginn, who was acquired alongside fellow right-handed pitcher Adam Oller from the Mets in exchange for Chris Bassitt on March 12, first caught the eye of A’s scouts in 2020. Back then, the righty from Mississippi State had established himself as one of the premier pitchers in the SEC. He posted a 3.13 ERA in 17 starts with 105 strikeouts across 86 1/3 innings as a freshman and capped that season with six scoreless innings against Louisville in the College World Series.

Ginn was considered a first-round talent heading into the 2020 MLB Draft, but his rising stock took a major hit. One start into his sophomore season, he came down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

The drop in the Draft was not too drastic, though. Later that summer, the Mets took Ginn in the second round and signed him to a $2.9 million bonus, which is around the value usually given out for a mid-first rounder. Once he returned to the mound in 2021, the A’s sent scouts to a handful of his starts and noted that his stuff gained momentum throughout the course of the season. — Martín Gallegos

Soderstrom gets reps at first base (March 9)
Getting a break from the daily catching grind, A’s top-rated prospect Tyler Soderstrom displayed his versatility with a start at first base in Wednesday’s four-inning intrasquad scrimmage at the team’s Minor League complex.

Soderstrom did not get a ball hit his way, though he was on the receiving end of a couple of impressive throws from fellow top prospect Max Muncy, who also ventured out of his primary position with a start at second base and made a terrific diving stop up the middle on a ball hit by Max Schuemann.

Since Soderstrom was drafted by the A’s as a high school player in 2020, outside speculation about a possible position change has followed him. It would make sense, allowing for less wear and tear on Soderstrom’s body in order to maximize his supreme hitting skills, which have helped him land at No. 42 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects List.

However, the A’s have been pleased with Soderstrom’s defensive progression behind the plate, and seem likely to keep him there entering the 2022 season.

“He had all aspects of the position he needed to work on [last season], and he improved at all of them,” said A’s director of player development Ed Sprague. “He probably improved most with his blocking. He didn’t have much idea as far as technique or how to do it. He just needed the reps. He started to throw the ball really well. His receiving really improved.

“We have a lot of information in today’s game as far as game-planning and stuff like that. That was a lot for him to learn. He’s obviously a gifted bat, but I still think he’s got a chance to be a really good catcher.”

In a scrimmage that ended scoreless, most of the highlights came on the defensive side. Lawrence Butler, a first baseman/outfielder who finished last year ranked Oakland’s No. 23 prospect, had the play of the day, robbing Zack Gelof of extra bases with a diving catch in shallow right-center.

Miller showcases blazing fastball in scrimmage (March 7)
On what was the first day of full Minor League camp at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz., the A’s hosted a nine-inning scrimmage game against Asian Breeze, a traveling baseball club based out of Arizona.

Mason Miller was among the many A’s prospects who stood out in the 10-1 victory. Taking the mound for the start, Miller showed off a fastball that maxed out at 98 mph as he racked up four strikeouts over two perfect innings.

Miller, who finished last season rated as Oakland’s No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline, truly carries an inspirational tale into professional baseball. Diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes in 2018, the right-hander struggled early on in his college career while playing Division III ball at Waynesburg University. Then came his unexpected transformation.

Discovering a new diet and strength program, Miller was able to bulk up his 6-foot-5 frame to around 220 pounds. With that added weight came an uptick in velocity, which played a key factor in his ability to transfer to Division I Gardner-Webb University in time to perform well enough for the A’s to select him in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Entering his first full year with the organization, the expectations are high for the 23-year-old Miller, whose power arm can light up the radar gun as high as 100 mph.

“The arm is real,” A’s director of player development Ed Sprague said of Miller. “He comes at you and throws a bunch of strikes. The question is do you keep him as a starter or fast track him as a reliever and get him to the big leagues inside of a year. He’s just a power, big bodied arm.”

Max Muncy, Oakland’s 2021 first-round pick, also shined in the scrimmage by crushing an opposite-field solo home run in his first at-bat. He also displayed his defensive prowess at shortstop, making some impressive throws on the run while fielding a pair of ground balls.

Soderstrom, Davidson start strong at minicamp (March 5)
Several top prospects were featured in the first intrasquad game of minicamp at the A’s Minor League complex in Mesa, Ariz. The Home side included third baseman Logan Davidson, Robert Puason at second base and a starting battery of right-hander Brian Howard and Tyler Soderstrom, the club’s top-rated prospect.

After singling in his first at-bat, Soderstrom’s power stroke was on display in his next trip to the dish as he crushed a three-run homer to deep right-center off right-hander Chester Pimentel.

The 20-year-old backstop impressed in what was his first full year with the organization in 2021 as he slashed .306/.390/.568 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs at Low-A Stockton, though an oblique issue cut his season short and limited him to 57 games.

Arriving to camp back at full health, Soderstrom appears ready to soar through the system.

“He can really hit,” said A’s director of player development Ed Sprague. “Good understanding of the strike zone. We’re very happy with where he’s at.”

Davidson, who finished last year rated Oakland’s No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline, also stood out with his bat in the five-inning scrimmage as he roped a pair of doubles in his first two at-bats.

Hitting just .212 in 119 games at Double-A Midland in ‘21 as he battled through an early-season slump, Davidson was sent to the Arizona Fall League for a chance to end his year on a high note. The 2019 first-round pick did just that, hitting .274 across 20 games in the AFL.

“I saw him in the Fall League and he looked about the best I’ve seen him at the plate,” Sprague said. “Laying off pitches and putting a good swing on the ball. He’s fun to watch play. He’s a guy that works so hard and has a tendency to overthink things at times, but his hard work will pay off in the end.”

The most impressive feat of the game came from Dermis Garcia, a former prospect with the Yankees who signed a Minor League deal with Oakland earlier this offseason. Facing Pimentel, Garcia, who led all Double-A Northeast hitters with 31 home runs last year, swung at a breaking ball that broke his bat and still managed to clear the left field wall with ease for a solo shot.

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