Michael Guldberg could be biggest surprise of draft class
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s may have gotten the steal of the 2020 MLB Draft class with Michael Guldberg.
On Tuesday, the Oakland A’s announced that they had come to terms with three of their draft picks, signing Jeff Criswell, Michael Guldberg, and Dane Acker to contracts. With those signings, only Tyler Soderstrom and Stevie Emanuels have yet to put the pen to the paper.
While each player selected by the A’s has a level of intrigue, that is especially the case with Guldberg. He did not really appear on many of the top 200 prospect lists, leading some to imagine that he was selected to save bonus money that could be used for Soderstrom. Even though there may be some truth to that belief, he is an intriguing prospect in his own right.
When watching Guldberg, the first thing that jumps out is that he can flat out hit the ball and he is almost always on base. Due to his excellent batting eye and strong contact skills, he produced a .374/.465/.459 batting line over 393 plate appearances, drawing 44 walks with just 41 strikeouts.
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Although Guldberg is not likely to ever hit for much power (he had 19 extra base hits, including three home runs, in his collegiate career) he still holds plenty of intrigue. He controls the strike zone, and does not chase pitches. While he does not have the speed one would want to see with his offensive profile, those contact skills could make him a perfect bat in the second spot of the lineup.
Guldberg is more of a question mark on defense. He injured his shoulder in 2018, playing in only 28 games because of that injury. 2019 saw him serve as a designated hitter as his shoulder got healthy. He is considered to have a solid arm, and could potentially play all three outfield positions, or even move to second base in the future.
Chances are, Guldberg will never be a star at the major league level. But he is the type of player that can drastically outperform his ranking, and potentially his draft status. The details of his contract are not currently available, but it is likely that he signed for an underslot deal. In the coming years, that could prove to be a bargain.
Michael Guldberg has done nothing but hit in college. It would not be a surprise if that continued in the professional ranks.