2021 Oakland Athletics Top 5 Prospectsby Anthony Borsellino March 19, 2021 0 comments
The Oakland Athletics have an organization that has heavily relied on the use of young homegrown talent in order to keep up with their recent high level of play. It should come as no surprise that nine of their top 10 prospects were all drafted and developed. In 2021, the Athletics find themselves the only team without any prospects on the MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. Even though they are one of the weaker farm systems on paper, the Athletics find themselves ready to compete this year and try to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Team Top Prospects.
Tyler Soderstrom – Catcher
At 19, Soderstrom is the youngest player prospect on the list. The lefty catcher was drafted out of high school as the 26th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft by the Athletics. Soderstrom is one of many prospects waiting to get professional playing time since being drafted. Soderstrom is remaining in the Arizona Rookie League right now due to his need to improve on defense while his offense is already impressive. If Soderstrom can develop his defense to match his offensive ability he will be a much-needed addition to the team as long as the A’s can be patient.
A.J. Puk – Left-Handed Pitcher
Drafted at sixth overall in 2016, the 6’7″ pitcher’s clock is ticking. Soon to be 26 years old, Puk certainly has the tools to succeed for the Athletics but injuries have kept him away time and time again. In 2018 Puk suffered a shoulder injury and had Tommy John Surgery in spring training, Puk was able to return in 2019 and pitch 11 innings for the Athletics. In 2020, Puk faced more shoulder problems that forced him away from the field that eventually led to yet another shoulder surgery.
Heading into the 2021 season Puk is ready to contribute and is looking to carve out a role on the Athletics, whether it be as a starter or in the bullpen due to his injury history, his tools are good enough to succeed. With a fastball that has averaged 97.1 MPH and an arsenal of complementary pitches, the lefty can be a huge asset to the A’s run this season as long as he can stay healthy.
Nick Allen – Shortstop/Second Base
Allen was drafted in the third round at 81st overall by the Athletics in the 2017 MLB Draft. At 22 years old, Allen’s defense is MLB caliber and his most valuable tool right now. The righty has the defensive ability to be Oakland’s starting shortstop for many years to come. Before an ankle injury shortened his 2019 season, Allen had a batting average of .292 in 328 Plate Appearances; if he can build off of that and work on his power Allen can be a mainstay in Oakland. As it stands now he can make an impact in 2021 after the departure of Marcus Semien.
Daulton Jefferies – Right-Handed Pitcher
Jefferies is in a similar situation to Puk. as he was drafted the same year 31 picks later. He’s another 25-year-old who has seen playing time cut short due to Tommy John Surgery missing almost two full seasons after being drafted. After his return in 2019, he impressed but was another prospect affected by the shortened season that caused him to pitch two innings in the MLB. Jefferies has showcased an elite level of control to go with his low-velocity fastball as well as a solid changeup. If Jefferies can develop his supporting pitches, he will be an integral addition to Oakland’s rotation as soon as this upcoming season.
Logan Davidson – Shortstop
Davidson was drafted 29th overall in 2019 out of Clemson. The 23-year-old shortstop has shown developing power from both sides of the plate. He spent his 2020 season at the Athletics alternate site after only 54 games in the New York-Pennsylvania Single-A League. Davidson will look to improve upon his power showcased at the alternate site, while also working towards limiting his strikeouts.
He is 6’3″ and plays shortstop meaning that a move to third base is possible if fellow prospect Allen works out. However, the Athletics still have Matt Chapman at third base, and while trading Chapman is not entirely out of the question, Davidson will look to develop as a shortstop for now in hopes of making the Major League roster in 2022.
What Does the Future Look Like?
The A’s farm system is frantic, the top guys are either too far away to compete or older and their potential is up in the air. However, the Athletics have consistently maneuvered by using their farm system and trading away expensive players. The Athletics will need to see real development in their farm system to keep making the playoffs and compete for a title with their current core.