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Elephant Rumblings: Sean Murphy, Ramon Laureano ranked Top 10 at their positions by MLB Network

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MLB: ALDS-Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros
Also pictured: No. 1 ranked reliever on MLB Network’s list
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!

The Oakland A’s finally made some news last week. Within five days, they traded for a reliever, got named in a couple other rumors, settled the salaries of a half-dozen arbitration-eligible players, and officially signed an international top prospect who had been linked to them for over a year. When it rains, it pours.

Meanwhile, MLB Network began their annual “Top 10 Players Right Now” series, in which they rank the Top 10 at each individual position. They’ve only done a few of the lists so far, and already a couple of A’s have shown up.

Among catchers, Sean Murphy ranks fifth.

  1. J.T. Realmuto, free agent
  2. Yasmani Grandal, CWS
  3. Will Smith, LAD
  4. Willson Contreras, CHC
  5. Sean Murphy, OAK
  6. Austin Nola, SD
  7. Salvador Perez, KC
  8. Travis d’Arnaud, ATL
  9. Mitch Garver, MIN
  10. James McCann, NYM

The center field list includes Ramon Laureano at seventh.

  1. Mike Trout, LAA
  2. Cody Bellinger, LAD
  3. George Springer, free agent
  4. Alex Verdugo, BOS
  5. Brandon Nimmo, NYM
  6. Kyle Lewis, SEA
  7. Ramón Laureano, OAK
  8. Trent Grisham, SD
  9. Starling Marte, MIA
  10. Byron Buxton, MIN

There aren’t any current A’s among the relievers, but only because Liam Hendriks became a free agent and signed with the White Sox. There’s another familiar name in the second spot on the list too.

  1. Liam Hendriks, CWS
  2. Drew Pomeranz, SD
  3. Devin Williams, MIL
  4. Nick Anderson, TB
  5. James Karinchak, CLE
  6. Brad Hand, free agent
  7. Aroldis Chapman, NYY
  8. Aaron Bummer, CWS
  9. Tyler Duffey, MIN
  10. Josh Hader, MIL

Sure, Hendriks isn’t on the A’s anymore, but he’s on this list because of the work he did wearing green and gold. If there’s one thing I’m excited about in 2021, it’s finding out which random name will rise from Oakland’s remaining unheralded group to become the next chart-topper on a future version of this list. The A’s do this over and over and over at the closer role, and it’s going to happen again sooner than later.

As for the others, it’s not taking the national media long to figure out what the Athletics Nation community already knew about Murphy, that he’s quickly becoming one of the best backstops in the league. There’s only one AL name ahead of him, or two depending where Realmuto ends up signing. “[Murphy] has all of the makings to be the top catcher in the game of baseball in the near future,” said MLBN analyst and former catcher Dave Valle.

In CF, you might nitpick by a spot or two, but Laureano is generally where he belongs somewhere in the middle of that list. In particular I wouldn’t put Verdugo that high yet, and I’d probably ask him to play a full MLB season in CF before being on a CF list at all, but overall Laser didn’t get snubbed nor overrated.

The rest of the positions will be announced over the next three weeks, beginning with LF and 1B early next week. The A’s don’t have any current LF candidates, but surely Matt Olson will be mentioned among first basemen.

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