Oakland Athletics: Is JJ Bleday Ready To Become Athletics Next Star Player?

JJ Bleday, the former 4th Overall pick in the 2019 Draft, was ranked as a top prospect but struggled with the Marlins. Finally showing his full potential with the Athletics, could he be another story of a mismanaged player like Mickey Moniak?
Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals
Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

JJ Bleday was the 5th ranked player in the 2019 MLB Draft, behind players like Adley Rutschman, Bobby Witt Jr, and CJ Abrams. He ended up getting drafted 4th overall by the Marlins, but after years in the minors and not progressing fast enough, after the 2022 season they traded him to the Athletics for A.J. Puk. While his 2023 season has seen its ups and downs and currently injured, his full potential has been shown to the baseball world.

To start the season, he played 25 games at Triple-A Las Vegas, in which he hit .316 with 7 home runs and 19 RBIs but shined with his control of the strike zone, walking 20 times while having 15 strikeouts to make his on-base percentage .429, which would make him one of the best possible players for this Athletics' team.

In the 2019 MLB Draft, they said he was the best pure hitter with the ability to hit a lot of line drives. While his 77 games in the majors with the Athletics have been pretty disappointing, it shows much promise, mostly in the walk department with 38. His current average is .203 with an on-base percentage of .313, and being around a league-average hitter, all he needs to do is fix a few things and adjust to the Major League level, and he could be part of the Athletics' future, but that is still to be determined due to the lack of results in the majors.

He doesn't chase the balls often while being able to walk often and with one of the best arms in the outfield, collecting 4 outfield assists along with rarely making errors but has made a few mistakes that he could fix given some adjustments.

When it comes to pitchers in MLB, he has dominated fastballs but has struggled with breaking and off-speed pitchers. While he is one of the best versus a 4-seamer, against the sinker, changeup, and slider he has been one of the worst. Against the slider, he's only batting .152, and against the sinker, .146, and is even worse against the changeup at .143. He has also thrived on the curveball and cutter, hitting .350 and .429, but doesn't even have a hit when against the splitter. When it comes to fastballs, it's the most common pitch in MLB. This season he has 10 home runs, all of which came from the fastball, along with his batting average of .237. It's still not the best but it's a major improvement from .177 last year.