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Elephant Rumblings: Is Zack Gelof the A’s MVP?

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Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

Call me Captain Obvious for saying it again, but A’s rookie second baseman Zack Gelof is off to a phenomenal start to his MLB career. If you put much stock in fWAR, which is probably my favorite catch-all performance metric, Gelof is already flirting with being the A’s bona fide 2023 MVP despite appearing in just 28 of 121 games the A’s have played this season.

Remember Ryan Noda? He was having a terrific rookie campaign before going on the IL with a broken jaw last month. Hopefully he’ll be back at first base soon; Noda leads all A’s in fWAR this year with 1.7. In second place? Gelof and starting pitcher Paul Blackburn are currently tied with 1.5 fWAR.

The question I posed in my headline is debatable in the context of the entire season, but there is zero doubt that Gelof has been the A’s MVP since arriving in Oakland. Noda has accumulated his team-leading WAR in 341 plate appearances, while Gelof has stepped up to the plate just 119 times. He’s been crushing records and making history along the way. Gelof’s 20 extra base hits in his first 28 games put him in a group of just seven MLB players dating back over 100 years.

Gelof has also scored 20 runs to go along with those hard knocks. That 20/20 mark matches Zack’s jersey, but is unmatched by any other player in the storied history of the Athletics franchise.

Even if you’ve lost your spectacles, you should easily be able to spot how exciting this 23-year-old is to behold in action on the field. Not only is Gelof mashing at the plate, he’s among the fastest runners in the league—with seven steals so far—and has more than held his own on defense at second base with his speed and athleticism.

Is Gelof’s .294/.353/.633 slash line and 171 wRC+ sustainable? Probably not, but I won’t be surprised at all if he makes the All-Star team next year. Zack exudes maturity and confidence well beyond his age and experience. He looks like the real deal to me.

I’m sold on Zack Gelof, my new favorite Oakland Athletic. Time to find myself a number 20 A’s jersey!

Have a wonderful weekend, AN.

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