With the second overall pick in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, the Oakland A’s plucked first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The lefty-swinging Noda just spent the entire 2022 season at Triple-A Oklahoma in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL, where he slashed .259/.396/.474 with 25 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Noda has some swing and miss tendencies but also draws a lot of walks. He’d been steadily rising through the minors, going from A-ball in 2018, A+ in ‘19, then Double-A in ‘21 before reaching Triple-A this past year, with the cancelled minor-league season mixed in there back in 2020. He’ll turn 27 at the start of the season, right around his physical prime.
Because he was a Rule 5 pick, Noda will have to remain on the roster for the entirety of the upcoming season or else be offered back to the Dodgers. Oakland rebuilds in the recent past have afforded the A’s to roster a player without needing them to contribute significantly (Nate Freiman, Vimael Machin, Dany Jimenez, Mark Canha), and Noda seems like a prime candidate to join that list.
While he got most of his run at first base this past season, and is considered a plus at the position, the Dodgers had been getting him playing time in the outfield as well to help his chances of reaching the big leagues. The A’s probably would prefer if he could handle an outfield corner, but he’s being brought on board more for his hitting potential, something this organization is desperate for.
He wasn’t among the top prospects in the Dodgers’ farm system, but neither was Canha when the A’s selected him. Now Noda will have a clear path to playing time in Oakland, something he didn’t have in Los Angeles with the presence of Freddie Freeman. If he does succeed, current first baseman Seth Brown can easily transition to the outfield, where he got in a lot of work this past season.
In addition to acquiring Noda, no players were selected from the A’s organization in the Rule 5 draft, which is a positive, in a way, except that no other club thought anyone in the Oakland pipeline was good enough to take. Take that however you will.
Oakland needs talent and they got a talented first base option today with Noda. The 2023 roster is slowly coming into shape.