For a team like the Oakland Athletics, the farm system has played a major role in the success they’ve had the past two seasons.
When and if the season starts, the A’s will look to win the division for the first time in seven years. Along with the key players that have had huge impacts on the club, there are a few A’s prospects that have to step up.
Let’s take a look at the top three A’s prospects and how they will make an impact this season.
Jesus Luzardo was traded to the A’s in the Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson trade. Luzardo made six relief appearances, including two saves before suffering a shoulder injury. He made his return in the AL Wild Card game and put on a great performance.
Heading into this season, Luzardo could be one of the A’s best starters. He averaged 97 mph during his brief big-league stint in 2019 and has great command on both sides of the plate.
His two-seam fastball forces a lot of groundballs. The lefty has one of the best changeups that any prospect has to offer. In addition, he’s got a curveball and cutter/slider that could be seen as a slurve type of pitch.
Luzardo has the stuff, the control and a great competitive edge on the mound. He’s ready to make an impact at the big-league level and could be a major factor for the A’s this season.
Murphy was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by Oakland and has emerged as a top prospect after not getting as much recognition from scouts and college recruiters.
Murphy is most known for his work behind the dish. He’s known for having great hands and one of the strongest arms of any prospect. He’s also got great footwork and receiving and game-calling skills. He is a pitcher’s best friend.
Don’t forget about his bat though. Murphy makes a ton of contact and keeps his strikeouts low with his low swing. His power is also very sneaky.
Murphy got a glimpse of what the major leagues are like last season, but only had 53 at-bats in 20 games. With the A’s not having much depth at the catcher position, this is a huge opportunity for Murphy.
After undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2018, Puk made his return to the mound in June 2019 and was called up to help the A’s bullpen in the Wild Card game.
Puk, a first-round pick out of Florida, has a fastball just like Luzardo that reaches 97 mph and could even touch triple digits. His low-90’s slider is nasty, and the changeup is the same at times. Puk’s curveball gives him a fourth option and he mixes in that pitch every now and then.
The 24-year-old’s 6-foot-7 frame has a lot of advantages, including velocity. However, his command needs to improve if he wants to make a difference this year.
If Puk can consistently put the ball in the strike zone, combined with his electric stuff, he can find himself near the top of the rotation.
These three youngsters, in particular, are going to need to shine bright if the A’s want to compete for a division title. It’s the next cycle of A’s prospects coming up to the majors. This group will indeed make an impact.
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