The Athletics are planning to add infield prospect Zack Gelof to their roster prior to Friday’s game, reports Martín Gallegos of MLB.com. The club already has a vacancy on their 40-man after losing right-hander Adam Oller off waivers to the Mariners earlier today.
Gelof, 23, was selected by the A’s in the second round of the 2021 draft. He’s generally considered to be a very talented hitter, though one with a penchant for aggressiveness that can make him strikeout prone. Last year, he played 96 games between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .270/.352/.463 for a wRC+ of 107. He walked in 11.4% of his plate appearances but struck out at a 27.5% clip. This year, he’s played in 69 Triple-A games, striking out in 27.9% of his trips to the plate but walking in 13.3% of them. His .304/.401/.529 batting line amounts to a wRC+ of 122 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Defensively, Gelof was a third baseman in college but concerns around his throwing arm have led the A’s to gradually move him to second base, the only position he’s played this year. Speed could be a factor in his game as well, with Gelof having stolen 20 bases in 25 attempts this year. He’s currently considered the #3 prospect in the Athletics’ system by MLB Pipeline and #5 at FanGraphs.
The A’s have used various players at the keystone this year, none of whom have locked down a job. Tony Kemp has played regularly, though he’s hitting just .197/.286/.283 and is capable of playing other positions. It’s a similar story for Jace Peterson, who’s slashing .209/.299/.309 but is capable of moving elsewhere. Ditto for Aledmys Díaz, who’s hitting .209/.260/.286 in a multi-positional role. Jordan Diaz has hit at a subpar rate in a small sample of 32 games this year and can be optioned to the minors.
It seems like Gelof will get a chance to square off against big league pitching and see if he can take over the second base job in Oakland. This will be his first time on a 40-man roster, meaning the club can retain him for six seasons beyond this one, even if he’s up in the majors for good. Future optional assignments could potentially push that back but the focus in the immediate future will likely be on seeing how he performs. The club is the worst in the majors right now with a record of 25-67, giving them plenty of incentive to try out young players like Gelof as they try to build a better roster for future campaigns.