Shea Langeliers has ended all speculation about the starting catcher job for the Oakland A’s. The conversation has long since shifted to who will be his backup after his strong showing so far in Spring Training.
Langeliers has turned out to be the best acquisition for the Athletics in the trade that sent All-Star first baseman Matt Olson to the Atlanta Braves in 2022. Drafted in the first round by the Braves in 2019, Langeliers was the No. 1 prospect in Oakland's system last year before being called up to the MLB roster later in the campaign.
Langeliers spent most of the 2022 season at Triple-A with the Las Vegas Aviators and put up impressive numbers at the plate. In 402 at-bats, the catcher logged an .876 OPS and hit 19 home runs. He was named the Athletics Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.
His stellar performance at Triple-A earned him that chance in the bigs, but with Sean Murphy (arguably one of the best catchers in the MLB) behind the plate, Langeliers only started 14 games at catcher. He had 93 at-bats as the designated hitter and put up modest numbers. He ended the 2022 season with a .218 average and .691 OPS at the MLB level.
With an average performance and a lot of potential, the A’s put in their faith in his ability to develop when they traded away Murphy to the Braves in December, snagging more top prospects in return for another star player, thus repeating their process. And to their credit, Langeliers is living up to his potential in the first 11 games of Spring Training.
In his first 18 at-bats, the slugger is hitting .300 and OPSing 1.001. Looking very comfortable behind the plate as well, Langeliers is taking advantage of the faith the organization has put in him and looks like a worthy replacement for Murphy so far.
It'd be quite the swap if his play can carry over into the regular season.
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