The Oakland A’s were able to add a pair of undrafted free agents on Sunday, signing a pair of catchers to the organization.
When the Oakland A’s decided to stop paying their minor league players, one had to wonder what the repercussions of that decision would be. With the draft lasting for just five rounds, would the A’s be able to attract undrafted free agents? Yes, they reversed that decision, but the damage had been done to their reputation.
As it turned out, the A’s have managed to land at least two undrafted free agents. Will Simoneit and Cooper Uhl have both reportedly signed with Oakland, although those contracts have yet to be confirmed by the team.
Simoneit was primarily a catcher in college, although he did spend time at both first and third. He had graduated from Cornell University before continuing his career at Wake Forest, where he impressed against improved competition. While he may not be a power hitter, he has displayed an ability to make hard contact to all fields, and could tap into his raw power as he progresses.
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However, he is currently 23 years old, and may be 24 years of age before he truly gets to the minors. That may not be an issue given his hit tool and defensive versatility, as it is possible that he could move up the ladder quickly. It will just be a matter of how quickly he can adapt to the professional game.
Uhl is another catcher, although more of a defensive minded backstop. He had a strong showing in his abbreviated 2020 campaign, posting a .361/.487/.443 batting line in 78 plate appearances. However, for his career, he produced a meager .254/.365/.317 batting line in 648 plate appearances with just 26 extra base hits. He did manage to 76 walks with only 114 strikeouts, as he showed a solid batting eye and contact skills.
Nonetheless, defense will be Uhl’s calling card. His defense is considered major league quality already, as he has a strong arm and an excellent glove behind the dish. Defensive minded backstops will always have a place in the game, and if Uhl can show even the slightest bit of ability with the bat, he could have a long career as a backup catcher.
The Oakland A’s have added a pair of catchers to the minor league organization. They may have vastly different profiles, but it is possible that both Cooper Uhl and Will Simoneit will contribute in the future.