The 2024 MLB Draft

MLB Draft 2024 Analysis: Who Do The Oakland Athletics Take At No. 4?

MLB Draft 2024 Analysis: Who Do The Oakland Athletics Take At No. 4?

The Oakland Athletics are moving to Las Vegas, and their first-round pick in 2024 could be in position to become the first star of the Las Vegas Athletics.

Jan 31, 2024 by Joe Harrington
Highlights: TCU Vs. Vanderbilt

There have been worse teams than the 2023 Oakland Athletics. But there have been few seasons as bad as the one the 2023 A’s endured. 

On top of the club being in the middle of a harsh rebuild following a competitive run led by All-Stars Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien to close out the last decade, the team ended its decades-long stadium saga. 

The team is moving. 

The move isn't happening until the squad's lease is up after the 2025 season, while a new Las Vegas stadium isn’t going to be completed until 2028. 

This was combined with the always penny-pinching ownership that led to a roster with no established stars entering the season. 

The fans hated it, as they should. 

The A's won just 50 games in 2023. Oakland had just 832,352 fans in attendance. 

At a time when attendance was up across the league, the A's were the only team to not have more than a million fans in attendance. They were the only California team to fail to get at least 2 million fans. 

None of that is surprising. 

Everything contributed to it: owners who don’t spend, a general manager willing to trade good players with control to facilitate the next two-year championship window and a roster so young there were no key veteran on it, let alone stars. 

I assume the atmosphere will be much worse in 2024, but I do think the Athletics could be better, in spite of very little activity in the offseason. 

That said: The goal of ownership this season, apparent from the lack of a fan giveaway schedule and few offseason signings, is to have their final season in the Oakland Coliseum be the living, breathing embodiment of “it is what it is.” 

Everything about the position of the Oakland Athletics and the roster they will likely field this season says the goal is to be a fun team learning to win in whatever city it will play in during the 2025, 2026 and 2027 seasons. And it will be with a goal of building a contender by 2028, when they open the new stadium in Las Vegas. 

What to know about that: 

When Do The Oakland A’s Move To Las Vegas?

They are moving to Las Vegas, but it’s unlikely they won't play in Las Vegas until 2028, as the estimated $1.5 billion stadium still needs to be designed and built. 

Where Will The Oakland Athletics Play In 2025?

Reports have surfaced that the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan could host the A’s until they move to Las Vegas. Sacramento, Henderson, Nevada (the Las Vegas suburb where the A’s Triple A team the Aviators play), and even San Francisco. Could Oracle Park house two MLB teams? 

Nothing has been announced, but Salt Lake City, which likely is going to chase an MLB expansion team in the future, certainly would love the audition. 

While "UTAH WANTS THE A'S" signs have popped up, it's not that easy. 

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the NBC Sports Bay Area local TV deal is holding up the 2025 decision. If the A's move out of the Bay Area, they stand to lose $70 million in 2025. 

OK, Back To The Oakland Athletics Draft Outlook

It’s likely the most important, or exciting, acquisition the A’s could make all year will be during the 2024 MLB Draft. 

So who will the Oakland A’s take with the No. 4 pick?

What The Oakland A’s Roster Has Before The 2024 MLB Draft

It has youth. And a lot of it. 

At the end of the 2022 season, Tyler Soderstrom, Shea Langeliers and JJ Bleday all were top-100 prospects. All are on the 40-man now and played in 2023. 

Four of the top-5 prospects on the Oakland A’s at the end of 2022 played for the A’s in 2023. And Mason Miller, the No.2 prospect for the A’s at end of the season, debuted in 2023. 

The question is, how much can the A’s relay on this system to produce stars like it did in the 2010s?

In August 2023, MLB ranked the A’s as the No. 26 farm system in the majors. That was down from No. 22 since the start of the 2023, as prospects such as Zack Gelof graduated. 

The farm system ranking is one reason why the rebuild looks so bleak. The system isn't ranked in the top half of the league, which is surprising, considering who the A’s have traded since the end of 2021. It’s not just the hitters. Since 2021, the A’s have traded pitchers: 

  • Frankie Montes
  • Sean Manaea
  • Jesus Luzardo
  • Chris Bassitt
  • Cole Irvin
  • Lou Trivino
  • A.J. Puk
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Sam Moll

Again, that’s just the pitchers. Olson, Chapman and Sean Murphy are players the A’s traded who are some of the best at their positions. 

And yet, the farm system is still average at best. To be fair, not all those trades were for prospects– the Luzardo trade was for Sterlin Marte– but many were. 

The bright spots are the young players, though. 

Gelof had a terrific rookie season with a .267 average, 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 69 games. 

Brent Rooker hit 30 home runs and drove in 69 runs. 

JP Sears, despite a 5-14 record, pitched 172 1/3 innings and had a 4.54 ERA with 161 strikeouts. That’s not great, but the win-loss record wouldn’t be near as bad on a better team. 

But there’s not much there to highlight from a 50-win team. 

Reliever Trevor Gott and starter Alex Wood are the notable free agent signings. 

The A’s do have some pieces who might be valuable on the trade market this season. 

They didn’t move Paul Blackburn in 2023 at the deadline, and the starter could be a good trade chip this year. 

Sean Newcomb, a former top prospect of the Angels and Braves, is on the roster and could be a trade candidate. 

Miguel Andujar, and even Rooker, who won’t be a free agent until 2028 and is eligible for arbitration next year, could be in rumors. Rooker hit 30 home runs and is under team control for a while, but he will be 30 next year. 

Oakland Athletics Prospects And Minor League System

At the end of the season, only 2023 No. 6 overall pick Jacob Wilson, a 21-year-old shortstop in High-A, was in the top 100 prospects for the A’s. 

Wilson played at Grand Canyon University. He was invited to big league camp this Spring Training, and his profile suggests he could rise through the system quickly. 

In 26 games across rookie ball and High-A, he hit 11 doubles with a .333 average. 

Infielder Max Muncy, not the one for the Dodgers, a former first round pick out of high school in 2021, was invited to camp, along with No. 4 prospect Daniel Susac, a catcher.

Denzel Clarke is the No. 3 prospect. He was a fourth-round pick, but he was not invited to big league camp. At 23, he seems to be another older prospect in the A’s system, much like Langeliers and Nick Allen.

While Wilson is inside the MLB Pipeline top-100 prospect list (No. 68), Baseball America’s most recent Top 100 list ahead of the 2024 season includes four players, two of whom debuted in 2023. Mason Miller, Tyler Soderstrom (Nos. 45 and 73), Wilson (76) and Luis Morales (79). 

Soderstrom, 22, hit .160 in 125 at bats in 2023. 

Miller could be in the A’s rotation after appearing in 10 games in 2023. he pitched 33 1/3 innings with a 3.78 ERA, but his injury history suggests he may be in the bullpen. 

Also notable: No. 6 prospect in the system is the third Naylor brother. Myles Naylor, a third baseman, is the 18-year-old brother of Cleveland’s Josh and Bo Naylor. 

Who Will The Oakland Athletics Draft In 2024 With The No. 4 Pick?

It’s strange, because without even a solid rendering of the A’s 2028 stadium and without knowing where this team will even play for the next three seasons after 2024, it’s hard to say if Oakland will target a certain type of player. 

But it’s general manager Billy Beane, so they certainly will be drafting a certain type of player.

Going by mock drafts and prospect lists, Jac Caglianone of Florida should go here. 

As I’ve written in the reviews for the Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, Caglianone is the most fun and intriguing prospect in the draft because of his two-way possibilities. 

The best-case scenario is he’s a power-hitting designated hitter and a power-pitching No. 2 or No. 3 starter– few view him as a future ace. He hit the most home runs in college baseball in 2023 with 33. He also pitched on the weekends for the Gators, who had one of the best teams in college baseball last season. 

There's a lot to like, but he may not rise through the system that quickly, if he plans to pitch and hit, especially if he’s a starter. 

Of course, if any of the top-3 prospects fall-- JJ Wetherholt, Nick Kurtz and Travis Bazzana- the A's could scoop them up. The Athletics have taken 36 college players in the first round since Beane became the general manager in November 1997 and just eight high school players. 

They may be more open to selecting a high-ceiling prep player, rather than a college player, given that this is a long-term rebuild, and everything over the next four years will be done with an eye on Las Vegas. 

The best high school player, according to MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, is Konnor Griffin from Jackson Prep in Mississippi. The outfielder is Baseball America's No. 11-ranked prospect in the draft. Like the college prospects, there aren’t a lot of top-10 worthy pitchers at the high school level. At least not yet. 

How Many First-Round Picks Does Oakland Have?

The A’s own one first-round pick, but they have three picks in the top 80 selections of the draft.

Are The Oakland Athletics Tanking For Ethan Holliday?

Just before the 2009 season, the A’s traded for Rockies star Matt Holliday. He played for half a season with the A’s, before being traded at the deadline to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Holliday was a seven-time All-Star. His son Jackson is the No.1 prospect in all of baseball. 

His other son, Ethan, is Baseball America’s No.1 Class of 2025 prospect. 

Jackson, a shortstop, was taken No.1 by the Orioles in 2022 and reached Triple-A in his first year in the minors as a teenager. He will be in the running to make a 100-win Orioles' Opening Day roster this spring. 

Ethan Holliday, a lefty-hitting shortstop, has been the No.1 player in his high school class for a few years now. He’s 6-foot-4 and may be more of an outfielder like his dad at the pro level, and he projects to be a lot like him at the major-league level, as well. 

With the MLB Draft Lottery in place, tanking at the MLB level – while it always was– is a huge and even, frankly, dumb risk. But just getting in the top 4 again, like the A’s are this year, could put them in position to draft Holliday. 

Holliday, for what it’s worth, is committed to playing for his uncle, Josh Holliday, at Oklahoma State. 

More MLB Draft 2024 Coverage 

When Is The 2024 MLB Draft?

The 2024 MLB Draft is part of MLB All-Star week and will be in Arlington, Texas, where the World Series champion Texas Rangers are hosting the All-Star Game. 

The All-Star Game is July 16. The official date of the draft has yet to be announced, but the 2023 MLB Draft began the Sunday before the All-Star Game, which was played on Tuesday.  

MLB Draft 2024 Order

The New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres’ first picks dropped 10 spots because the clubs exceeded the second surcharge threshold of the competitive balance tax by more than $40 million. 

Here’s the order: 

  1. Cleveland Guardians
  2. Cincinnati Reds
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. Oakland A’s
  5. Chicago White Sox
  6. Kansas City Royals
  7. St. Louis Cardinals 
  8. Los Angeles Angels 
  9. Pittsburgh Pirates
  10. Washington Nationals 
  11. Detroit Tigers
  12. Boston Red Sox
  13. San Francisco Giants
  14. Chicago Cubs
  15. Seattle Mariners
  16. Miami Marlins 
  17. Milwaukee Brewers
  18. Tampa Bay Rays
  19. New York Mets
  20. Toronto Blue Jays
  21. Minnesota Twins
  22. Baltimore Orioles 
  23. Los Angeles Dodgers 
  24. Atlanta Braves 
  25. San Diego Padres 
  26. New York Yankees
  27. Philadelphia Phillies 
  28. Houston Astros 
  29. Arizona Diamondbacks 
  30. Texas Rangers
  31. Arizona Diamondbacks
  32. Baltimore Orioles 
  33. Minnesota Twins
  34. Baltimore Orioles
  35. Arizona Diamondbacks
  36. Cleveland Guardians
  37. Pittsburgh Pirates
  38. Colorado Rockies
  39. Kansas City Royals

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