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The future is now for A's Organization All-Stars

System preparing to follow in the footsteps of Soderstrom, Gelof
December 4, 2023

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Oakland Athletics. 2023 organization summary: Triple-A Las Vegas: 75-74

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2023 Organization All-Stars series are the Oakland Athletics.

2023 organization summary:
Triple-A Las Vegas: 75-74
Double-A Midland: 70-68
High-A Lansing: 60-71
Single-A Stockton:50-82
ACL Athletics: 20-36
DSL Athletics: 22-31
Overall record: 297-362 (28th among MLB organizations)
Midseason Farm System Rankings: 26

A's 2023 Organization All-Stars

C: Tyler Soderstrom
AAA: .252/.307/.526, 77 G, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 49 R, 25 BB, 2 SB
Entering the 2023 season as the top A's prospect, Soderstrom made it rain in Las Vegas. The slugging backstop posted 20 homers in just three months -- tied for the fourth-most in Triple-A over that timeframe. His production at the plate earned him a callup to Oakland along with teammate Zack Gelof in July. The 2020 first-rounder became the second high school pick from his class to make it to The Show after the Cardinals' Jordan Walker.

"Ever since we got him as a young high school kid, he's hit every level," said Ed Sprague, Oakland's director of player development.

1B: Lawrence Butler
AA/AAA: .284/.350/.475, 89 G, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 67 R, 38 BB, 21 SB
The 2018 sixth-rounder showed more discipline -- both at the plate and on the basepaths -- this season. While increasing his number of steals from last season, Butler also struck out and got caught stealing at lower rates. Slugging .512 across 22 Triple-A games was enough to punch the first baseman's ticket to Oakland. Butler retained his prospect status into the offseason with just 123 career Major League at-bats.

2B: Zack Gelof
AAA: .304/.401/.529, 69 G, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 60 R, 41 BB, 20 SB
Highlighted by a four-game homer streak with Las Vegas, the 2021 pick out of the University of Virginia staked his claim to both raw power and enough discipline to hit for average. Soderstrom might have made the higher-profile MLB debut in July, but Gelof's production spoke for itself once he got to Oakland. "He kind of hit the ground running when he got up there," said Sprague. Gelof led the 2023 big league squad in average (.267), slugging (.504) and OBP (.841).

3B: Brennan Milone
A/A+: .285/.398/.488, 114 G, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 73 R, 72 BB, 3 SB
The 22-year-old enjoyed his first full professional season after getting drafted in the sixth round out of Oregon in 2022. He has displayed a knack for tiring pitchers -- averaging 4.03 pitches per plate appearance -- and getting on base. Milone's patience isn’t his only asset as he racked up 10 homers and 41 RBIs in 62 games of Single-A ball, which ultimately earned him a spot on the California League post-season All-Star team.

SS: Max Muncy (OAK No. 7)
A+/AA: .275/.353/.411, 123 G, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 76 R, 52 BB, 13 SB
Muncy really started to shine after his promotion to Double-A, boosting his average to .302 in 51 games with Midland. Muncy is a fielder’s nightmare because of the right-hander's ability to make solid, consistent contact -- including hits the other way -- which led to a .373 BABIP for the year. This control at the plate added up to 196 total bases for the 2021 first-rounder, the third-most in the A’s organization. Sprague mentioned that Muncy is taking advantage of how the game is "shifting back" in terms of hitting singles, knocking the ball the other way and moving runners over.

OF: Lazaro Armenteros
A+/AA: .252/.383/.496, 110 G, 20 HR, 82 RBI, 75 R, 69 BB, 17 SB
Armenteros’ big swing makes him a playmaker, but only when it connects. He ranks in the Texas League’s top 10 in RBIs despite spending April in Lansing. His 33.3 strikeout percentage was actually a marked decrease from previous seasons. With these improvements, the A’s rewarded the 24-year-old with a spot on their 40-man roster, and he hopes to parlay that into his Major League debut.

"He's kind of a true three-outcome guy. He strikes out and he does walk at a high rate ... and he has power -- 20 homers in Midland -- which is pretty good," Sprague said. "I think that he has even learned how to steal bases. He can really fly when he gets going."

OF: Colby Thomas (OAK No. 16)
A/A+: .286/.351/.493, 126 G, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 87 R, 37 BB, 25 SB
Colby Thomas showed what he can bring to the table in his first pro season. With power and consistency on his side, the 2022 third-rounder took the organization crown for extra-base hits (63) while retaining a top-five batting average. He doesn’t stop there -- the Mercer University product was a menace on the basepaths with 25 steals on the year. His wheels help him defensively as well as he covers a lot of ground as a corner outfielder.

OF: Cody Thomas
AAA: .301/.361/.562, 107 G, 23 HR, 109 RBI, 67 R, 37 BB, 5 SB
Cody Thomas headed to Oklahoma as a two-sport athlete, playing quarterback as well as outfield. His resume is packed with power, nearing the top of almost every offensive stat among Oakland affiliates. And he plates his teammates too. With 111 RBIs this season -- including two during a stint with the A’s -- the Texas native led the organization by almost 30. Thomas’ big bat in clutch moments helped him onto Pacific Coast League All-Star team at season’s end. He elected free agency in October.

RHP: Joey Estes (OAK No. 12)
AA/AAA: 9-6, 3.74 ERA, 137 IP, 131 K, 43 BB, .223 BAA, 1.16 WHIP
Estes’ best pitch is his fastball, which hangs in the mid-90s. He works in a mid-80s slider and has recently added a changeup to his arsenal. An aggressive pitching style has paid off for the 22-year-old, who topped all pitchers in the A’s system this year in ERA, BAA and WHIP. Estes' red-hot season culminated in a callup to the big leagues. His debut in September made him the youngest Oakland starter since 2009.

LHP: James González
A/A+: 6-9, 4.42 ERA, 108 IP, 135 K, 46 BB, .254 BAA, 1.43 WHIP
With a nasty changeup in tow, James González sported an organization-high 135 strikeouts in 24 games. "He's a control guy, but he does have some decent velocity," Sprague said. "He's always fun to watch, which gave the team a chance to win every time he went out there." He really started to turn up the heat following a promotion to Lansing in August. His 2.18 ERA put him within the Midwest League’s top 15.

RP: Tyler Baum (OAK No. 30)
A+/AA: 2-2, 3.54 ERA, 48 1/3 IP, 62 K, 25 BB, .198 BAA, 1.24 WHIP
Baum's story is one of resiliency. "He battled through COVID and injuries and lost the strike zone a little bit," Sprague said. "This year, he kind of went out there and really adapted that one-inning closer-type role very well." While his fastball ranges in the mid-to-high 90s, his breaking balls -- a 60-grade changeup as well as a solid slider and curve -- are the ones that turn heads. In 39 appearances in relief, the righty amassed 16 saves, by far the most by any A’s reliever.

Melanie Heller is a contributor for