Oakland A’s: 3 under the radar prospects impressing thus far

Lugnuts' Max Schuemann rounds third base on his way to scoring after a hit by Michael Guldberg during the fourth inning in the game against the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Jackson Field in Lansing.210504 Lugnuts Home Opener 100a
Lugnuts' Max Schuemann rounds third base on his way to scoring after a hit by Michael Guldberg during the fourth inning in the game against the Lake County Captains on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Jackson Field in Lansing.210504 Lugnuts Home Opener 100a /
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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

It is easy to look at a team’s minor league affiliates and pluck out the top prospects. Those players are expected to impress, to put together seasons worthy of their stature on the prospect ranks. Such is the case with the Oakland A’s and the likes of Tyler Soderstrom, Nick Allen, and Daulton Jefferies.

But for most teams, those players that do not generate as much attention as the top prospects are equally important. Those are the players who slide under the radar for whatever reason, but end up being solid contributors at the major league level. While top prospects can bust, those unheralded players can end up being the lifeblood of the organization.

Three under the radar prospect impressing for Oakland A’s

That is the case with the A’s as well. While they rely upon their top prospects to develop as expected and contribute at the major league level, those unheralded prospects can make a major difference in their fortunes. The A’s are not going to spend much on free agents to fill holes on the roster, making those players all the more important.

With the minor league season having completed its first month, let us take a look at three under the radar prospects impressing in the Oakland A’s system.

Zach Jackson

As a 26 year old in Double-A ball, Zach Jackson is not going to attract much attention. That is, until one looks at his performance thus far.

Jackson was originally a third round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 MLB Draft. Although he was a reliever in college, the Blue Jays considered converting him into a starter before scrapping that plan. He had put together solid enough numbers, reaching Triple-A in 2019 before being selected by the A’s.

Currently in Double-A, Jackson has been utterly dominant. He has allowed just two unearned runs on three hits and five walks over his 14 innings, striking out 29 batters. Not only does it seem inevitable that he will be promoted to Triple-A at some point in the near future, but he could make his major league debut in the next year.

Possessing an upper 90s fastball and a hard breaking ball, Jackson has not had a problem missing bats over his career. His biggest issue has been his command, but that has improved this season – his 3.2 BB/9 rate is the best of his professional career. If those improvements continue, he should be viewed as a legitimate relief prospect.

Zach Jackson has been dominant for the Oakland A’s in Double-A. It is time to start paying attention.

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