Who is the Oakland Athletics top prospect? There is one overwhelming favorite as the answer to that question in our Community Prospect List intro article. While it will probably be a surprise for anyone other than Tyler Soderstrom to win this vote, we have to make it official.
Here is the process:
Five nominees will appear on the ballot. The one who receives the most votes earns the top spot in the CPL while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by the next nominee.
In the comments, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the ballot for the next round. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec’ing that comment. The player with the most Rec’s earns the nomination.
The format for the comment should be “Nomination: Player Name”.
If a prospect is traded, his name will be crossed out, and all other players will be moved up a space. If a prospect is acquired, a special vote will be put up to determine where that players should rank.
As a result of our intro article, we have five nominees for the No. 1 spot. They are:
Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 55
Steve Soderstrom came out of Turlock High School in Northern California, went to Fresno State and was the No. 6 overall pick by the Giants in 1993, pitching in the big leagues for them in 1996. His son Tyler went to the same high school, but instead of heading to college, in this case UCLA, he signed with the A’s for an over-slot bonus of $3.3 million as the No. 26 pick in 2020. While an oblique injury limited him to just 57 games and kept him from playing in the Arizona Fall League, he showed off his offensive tools by posting a .957 OPS and went to the Futures Game.
Zack Gelof, 2B/3B
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
After a strong finish to an uneven junior season at the University of Virginia, Gelof entered the 2021 Draft considered to have some of the best raw power of any hitter in the class, leading to his signing with the A’s for $1,157,400 as a second-round pick. That power bat immediately showed up in pro ball, as he homered seven times in 36 games and was rewarded with a call-up to Triple-A in the final week of the Minor League season.
Esteury Ruiz, OF
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 80 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
A $100,000 signee by the Royals in July 2015, Ruiz was moved to the Padres two years later in a six-player deal at the Trade Deadline. Despite splitting time between two orgs, he managed to win 2017 Arizona League MVP honors after hitting .350/.395/.602 with 34 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in 52 games. Outside the stolen base totals, he never quite matched that production at the full-season levels, but a return to the Double-A Texas League led to a bounce-back season, a Major League debut and a trade to the Brewers for Josh Hader. Ruiz was on the move again in the offseason, going to the A’s in the three-team deal that sent Sean Murphy to the Braves.
Ken Waldichuk, LHP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
After a dominant sophomore season at Saint Mary’s in 2018, Waldichuk scuffled the following spring as he tried to throw harder, allowing the Yankees to draft him in the fifth round. He has found more velocity since turning pro and hit 98 mph while working out on his own during the pandemic shutdown in 2020. That led to a spectacular full-season debut in 2021, when he opened the year by not allowing a run in 30 2/3 innings in High-A. He finished fourth in the Minors in strikeouts (163 in 110 innings) and strikeout percentage (36.0). He was having another big season in 2022, reaching Triple-A and being named to the Futures Game, when he was sent to the A’s as the top prospect in the Frankie Montas deal close to the Trade Deadline.
Mason Miller, RHP
Scouting report: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Miller’s path to the professional ranks is truly inspirational. Battling Type 1 juvenile diabetes he was diagnosed with in 2018 and weighing around 150 pounds, he worked hard to transform his body. Discovering the right diet and strength program, he bulked up to 220 pounds and transferred from Waynesburg to Gardner-Webb University. Miller went 8-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings in 2021 and forced his way onto the Draft radar, with the A’s signing him for $599,100 as a third-round pick. He was mostly unable to showcase his stuff in 2022 as a scapula strain in his right shoulder kept him out of action until the end of August.
Vote in the comments below for your favorite by Rec’ing his “Vote: (Player Name)” comment, and post your nomination as well.