Zack Gelof didn’t make his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics until July 14, but ended up leading the team in fWAR and looked like a building block for the next good A’s team.
The Athletics drafted Gelof in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Virginia.
What were the expectations?
Gelof entered the 2023 season as one of Oakland’s top prospects. He had a good showing in a small sample during the spring, but began the season on the injured list at Triple A. Once healthy, he put up good numbers and showed that he was ready for an opportunity at the major league level. As a top prospect, the hope was that Gelof would be able to adjust quickly and contribute right away.
Gelof appeared in 69 games at Las Vegas where he totaled 308 plate appearances while hitting .304/.401/.529 with 12 home runs, 20 stolen bases and a 125 wRC+. He made his major league debut on July 14 against Minnesota. He would get 300 more plate appearances at the major league level and hit .267/.337/.504 with 14 home runs, 14 stolen bases and a 133 wRC+. He led the A’s with 2.9 fWAR despite appearing in just 69 games and was tied for the team lead in Baseball Savant’s Fielding Run Value. Gelof was named American League Rookie of the Month for August.
What went right? What went wrong?
The injury to start the season likely delayed his arrival, but Gelof very much looked the part after his promotion. In addition to his good results at the plate, he showed good speed and was one of the team’s best defensive players at second base. It is hard to nitpick much of anything about his season, but his .357 wOBA did outperform his .333 xwOBA slightly. You’d like to see him cut his 27 percent strikeout rate some, but there is no reason to think that isn’t possible as he accumulates more experience. There wasn’t much to cheer about with the Athletics’ 2023 season, but Gelof’s arrival and subsequent success was one of the bright spots.
Gelof will head into the 2024 season as the team’s everyday second baseman and one of the most talented players on the roster. He should hit near the top of the order and will be one of the A’s most important players in the 2024 season.