Oakland Athletics get snubbed on ESPN's top-100 players list

An ESPN panel ranked the top 100 players in MLB and zero Oakland Athletics made the list

Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Norm Hall/GettyImages

A panel of baseball writers at ESPN released their annual list of the top-100 players in MLB. The list didn't include a single player from the Oakland Athletics roster.

It's not entirely surprising given the lack of overall top-end talent left in the A's system. Just a couple years ago, there would have been a handful of guys in green and gold on the list, but not this year.

The one player who you'd most expect to be in the conversation is second baseman Zack Gelof. The 24 year old made his debut on July 14th of last year. He hit the ground running and didn't look back.

In 69 games, Gelof hit .267 with an .840 OPS. He slugged 14 homers and stole 14 bases, which is a 30/30 pace over a full season. He plays the less valuable middle infield position but he's a good defender there. Statcast had him at 3 Outs Above Average in the limited sample size.

His arm strength is a weakness but you have to take into account that Statcast numbers only pick up what happens on the field. Because second basemen don't typically have to make the same types of throws that shortstops and third basemen do, their arm strength numbers are usually lower.

What does Gelof's future look like?

Gelof is as likely as anyone else on the Athletics roster to earn an All-Star bid in 2024. Each team has to have one electee, but Gelof might get there on merit rather than formality.

Looking at the ESPN top 100 list, Gelof compares favorably to guys toward the back end, including Astros' shortstop Jeremy Pena and Yankees' shortstop Anthony Volpe. Pena is ranked 88th on the list, while Volpe slots in 95th.

Pena and Volpe played the more valuable defensive position in 2023 but Gelof was a better hitter than both. He showed better power than either Pena or Volpe, with similar speed and strong defense.

Pena showed a bit more plate discipline, striking out a bit less and swinging at balls outside of the zone a bit less often. But Gelof has shown advanced skills for a player his age getting his first taste of the big leagues.

For my money, I'd take Gelof over either of those guys in a heartbeat, as well as over a handful of other guys on ESPN's list.

Oakland has a long way to go when it comes to building the system back up to a point of respectability. There isn't a ton of elite minor league talent coming up in the near future and they'll have to hit on some unexpected prospects if they want to have success on the field.

For the time being, Gelof is one of the more exciting players in the clubhouse. But that's not just an Oakland thing. He's a genuinely good player and it's unfortunate that he got snubbed by the writers at ESPN during this process.