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Elephant Rumblings: A’s potential 2024 draft targets

MLB news roundup

Notre Dame v Wake Forest Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

The draft lottery is tomorrow, and the A’s, who finished last in all of MLB this year with a 50-112 record, are no doubt hoping for better luck than they had in last year’s lottery.

The lottery system was introduced in 2022 to disincentivize tanking. Prior to that, the draft order was assigned in a more straightforward manner based on teams’ regular season records, with no intervening element of chance.

Unfortunately for the A’s, the lottery’s introduction coincided with the team’s current rebuild cycle. The A’s were the second-worst MLB team in 2022, but instead of getting the second pick this year, they wound up with the sixth pick due to below-average luck in last year’s inaugural lottery.

The A’s could be assured the first pick in 2024 under the Old Ways, but now they have just an 18.3% chance of going first—same as the second and third worst teams, and nearly the same odds the A’s had last year. But with average or better luck, the A’s will get a top three pick. Fingers crossed.

Jason Burke at reviewed five top draft prospects that the A’s may have a shot at if they fare at least slightly better in the 2023 draft lottery than last year.

  • Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest. The big 22-year-old lefty’s bat-to-ball skills have made him the top draft prospect at both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.
  • JJ Wetherholt, 2B, West Virginia. Currently ranked second in both MLB and BA rankings, the 21-year-old has power and speed. Potentially a third baseman, he could be especially alluring to the A’s if he pans out at the hot corner.
  • Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State. With a profile similar to Wetherholt, Bazzana could become a viable third baseman. He also played a few games in left field during the summer in the Cape Cod League, of which he was this year’s MVP.
  • Jac Caglianone, 1B, Florida. A two-way talent, Caglianone has power at the plate and logged a 4.34 ERA on the mound for Florida.
  • Mike Sirota, OF, Northeastern. The highest ranking outfielder in the draft class, BA ranks him fifth overall, deeming him a viable centerfield prospect with 20/20 potential.

Who should the A’s take if they get the pick of the litter? Should they simply take the “best” player available, or trust that Tyler Soderstrom will pan out as the A’s slugging first baseman and hope that Wetherholt or Bazaana will emerge as a legitimate third baseman? Should they take a chance on high-ceilinged Caglianone and Sirota? Or is the A’s best fit not on this list? State your case below.

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