As we continue to close in on the start of Spring Training, prospect season rolls on with the release of Keith Law’s Farm System rankings over at The Athletic. Oakland comes in at No. 27 on the list, just ahead of the White Sox, Braves and Tigers. If you missed it, Law dropped his Top 100 prospect list earlier this week with Tyler Soderstrom checking in at No. 60. Zack Gelof was among the 10 players that just missed, but that foreshadowed a low ranking for the system.
Law doesn’t pull punches in the write up on the A’s either citing their recent misses in international free agency, the draft and the Matt Olson trade.
They gave Robert Puason and Pedro Pineda $7.5 million combined and neither is likely to see Double A, while they’ve missed on a lot of high draft picks, from Austin Beck to Logan Davidson to Jameson Hannah to Jeremy Eierman. (I give them a pass on Kyler Murray. It seemed like a good idea at the time.) The Matt Olson trade has very little impact on their farm system now, with two of those four prospects already graduated and the other two, Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes, taking steps backward in 2022.
To be fair, a lot of teams wanted Puason and international free agency as it is constructed is a volatile industry. The missed opportunities in the draft are harder to defend. It is telling that Oakland had two of the biggest trade chips available the last two seasons and didn’t gain a Top 100 prospect beyond Shae Langeliers who is no longer a prospect, but is expected to take over as the primary catcher this season. Perhaps the Murphy trade ages better with Kyle Muller and Esteury Ruiz providing value to the major league club. Perhaps Cusick and Estes bounce back and make the Olson trade look better.
As Law points out, Oakland needs a strong farm system to contend and it looks like they are still a long way from that at this point.