The Oakland Athletics are entering the 2023 season with a roster full of veteran presences and exciting, up-and-coming prospects. The A’s have their sights set on a playoff run and will need contributions from both sides of the equation to get there.
Leading the way for the veterans is outfielder Ramón Laureano. After a breakout 2018-19 season, Laureano has seen his numbers dip over the last few seasons, leading many to question if he was helped by a juiced ball during that time. He’ll need to rediscover his form in order to provide stability and power in the middle of the A’s lineup.
Infielder Zack Gelof is one of the most exciting prospects on Oakland’s roster. Gelof cracked MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list a year ago, getting the 94th overall mention. FanGraphs has not yet updated their prospect rankings for Oakland this spring, but they described him as having David Freese’s hitting ability without the defensive capability at third base. If he can keep developing his game, he could be a crucial piece of the team’s future.
On the pitching side, Paul Blackburn returns as a top starter after being named Oakland’s sole All-Star representative in 2021. He’ll be joined by former Yankees’ prospects James Kaprielian and Shae Waldichuk, who both offer promise but have yet to put it all together consistently at the big league level. Japanese free agent signee Shintaro Fujinami also provides veteran leadership and stability from the back end of the rotation.
The Athletics aren’t projected to finish with one of the best records in baseball this season, but there is plenty of potential for them to compete for a playoff berth if their veterans can stay healthy and their young players can continue to develop. It promises to be an exciting 2023 season in Oakland.