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Oakland Athletics 2023 mid-season community prospect list: No. 2

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The votes are in and although it was much closer this time around, Tyler Soderstrom once again tops the Oakland Athletics mid-season community prospect list. Soderstrom narrowly edged out Zack Gelof in the first round of voting. Outfielder Denzel Clarke wins the nomination for the next round and joins the voting.

Here is a look at the complete list:

  1. Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B

Here is the process:

  • Five nominees will appear on the ballot. The one who receives the most votes earns the top spot in the CPL while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by the next nominee.
  • In the comments, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the ballot for the next round. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec’ing that comment. The player with the most Rec’s earns the nomination.
  • The format for the comment should be “Nomination: Player Name”.
  • If a prospect is traded, his name will be crossed out, and all other players will be moved up a space. If a prospect is acquired, a special vote will be put up to determine where that players should rank.

Mason Miller, RHP

From MLB Pipeline

A power arm who can light up the radar gun at triple digits, Miller also brings what is looking more and more like a wipeout slider. He continues to work on integrating a mid-80s changeup as a third offering, though that pitch still could use some developing.

There’s no question Miller can throw a bunch of strikes with his big arm, and his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame seems durable enough to hold up as a starter. A quicker path to Oakland, however, could come in a bullpen role as a reliever with all the makings of a flame-throwing closer. Whether he reaches the Majors as a starter or reliever likely hinges on how far he can refine that changeup.

Zack Gelof, 2B

From MLB Pipeline

When he’s locked in, Gelof provides an exciting combination of approach and raw power from the right side of the plate to any lineup. His swing is a bit unorthodox, but he understands it well and he shows good knowledge of the strike zone. His strikeout rate was a bit high in 2022 (27.5 percent), but it was offset by a healthy walk rate (11.4 percent). The latter helped him get to his power more consistently, even late in the year when he was out of sync overall post-injury.

While his speed is just a bit above average, he’s a good baserunner and his overall athleticism is an asset on the field. A third baseman out of college, he shifted over and played a lot of second late in the year and exclusively in the AFL, where he showed solid overall defensive skills. That should be his spot most of the time going forward, though he could see some time in the outfield.

Lawrence Butler, OF

From MLB Pipeline

Butler’s speed and power to all fields gives him 20-20 potential. He continues to work hard on improving his plate discipline and walked at a higher rate last season, though there is still plenty of swing-and-miss to his game as evidenced by his 31.5 percent strikeout rate with Lansing in ‘22.

Butler has worked hard on cleaning up his body, leaning out while adding more muscle over the past year. He’s also changed his tune on defense from when he first joined the A’s, emerging as a solid defender at the corner outfield spots with a good arm and speed and athleticism that enables him to cover a ton of ground. There’s still time to improve the strikeout rate, but even if his punchouts remain at a high clip, his other attributes should help him progress through the system.

Darrel Hernaiz, INF

From MLB Pipeline

Athleticism is the first thing that stands out about Hernaiz. Last season brought encouraging improvements to his offensive game, as he displayed strong bat speed and a solid ability to make contact, while also tapping into more of his power than he’s shown in the past.

Having swiped 32 bags last season, Hernaiz is a real threat on the basepaths. He could use some refining on the defensive end, with an average arm that eventually could lead to him moving off shortstop. With the A’s always placing an emphasis on versatility, he’ll likely see plenty of time at second base and maybe even third in addition to short, depending on other personnel.

Denzel Clarke, OF

From MLB Pipeline

With family ties that include baseball players for cousins in Josh and Bo Naylor, as well as an Olympic heptathlete in his mother, Donna, it’s no wonder why Clarke is such a superb athlete. The hitting mechanics remain raw, as he does come with a good amount of swing-and-miss, particularly against pitches with good spin, though the A’s are still hoping he can clean them up. But he brings excitement whenever he puts the ball in play, both with impressive raw power to all fields and fast-twitch actions.

Clarke does not profile as a center fielder from a body standpoint given his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, though his plus speed and strong arm make him more than capable of handling the position on a regular basis. That speed also makes him a serious threat on the basepaths. With arguably the most exciting tools of any prospect in the system, he will continue to be a fun player to watch as he works to refine his tools.

Vote in the comments below for your favorite by Rec’ing his “Vote: (Player Name)” comment, and post your nomination for the next round as well.