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Elephant Rumblings: A’s 2024 Rookie Class

Joe Boyle, Mason Miller, and Denzel Clarke all hope to make an impact on the big league club next season.

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Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

Martín Gallegos over at MLB.com took a look at some A’s prospects who could make an impact on the big league club in 2024. As potential breakouts, Gallegos listed starter Joe Boyle and outfielder Denzel Clarke. I have them ranked higher than most at #2 and #3 in Oakland’s system, so I concur with having high expectations for them.

He also posed the question of what Mason Miller’s role should be next season. Barring injury, he’ll surely begin the season on the major league roster with the chance to start, but the A’s will likely continue being extra careful with him. Though we all obviously want him in the rotation long-term, it may be good to build him up slowly with 2-3 innings out of the bullpen, especially with the A’s likely having plenty of starting options next season.

Luis Morales, Max Muncy, and Colby Thomas were also listed as prospects who’ve forced themselves onto the big-league radar this year; I’d add a few more to that list. On the position player side, Darell Hernaiz, who I have 5th in the system, is an obvious candidate to make an impact. He cooled off towards the end of his AAA promotion but he still hit exactly .300 with even stronger walk and strikeout numbers. He’ll likely start the year with the Aviators again but if he starts mashing again and the A’s fail to find any keepers on the left side of the infield, Hernaiz could get an early callup. Third baseman Brett Harris is another option there but he’ll need to produce at a much higher level in Vegas to prove he deserves a promotion.

Cooper Bowman is also a dark horse to help the A’s out. As the fourth piece of the Frankie Montas trade, he’s easily forgotten as a prospect talent but he made big strides at the plate in AA this year, hitting .262/.360/.432 with 35 stolen bases in just 68 games. He also got a single late-season start in center field, where some evaluators think his speed would be better served. It’d also help his chances to get playing time with Zack Gelof now entrenched at second base, Bowman’s primary position up to this point.

As for pitching, Joey Estes and Freddy Tarnok will continue to get more shots at the rotation. Royber Salinas and Jack Perkins each were inconsistent during their first looks at AA hitters, but both are doing solid work in the AFL right now and they’re candidates for mid-to-late season callups as well. Ryan Cusick also struggled throughout the year at AA but was granted a AAA cameo start to end the season. It wasn’t pretty but the team will keep trying to push his development forward as he works to rediscover his talents.

Brady Basso, on the other hand, had a strong five starts at AA to end 2023, pitching to a 1.89 ERA with 19 strikeout in as many innings. Though not well known or hyped as a prospect, he could continue his breakout, leapfrog all the aforementioned names, and force his way into the rotation conversation later in the 2024 season.

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