This is an exciting time in Oakland A’s history despite losing over 100 games in 2022 for the first time since the 1960s.
That step backwards has given birth to “The New Oakland.”
As the once proud franchise looks to reload and rebuild, having just won 97 games in 2019, Oakland brass knows that with the crop of raw, fresh talent they have assembled in their elite farm system, 2023 could be the beginning of a new era of excellence.
A handful of the highly touted prospects in the A’s organization have been included on the spring training roster to gain experience at the Big League level and start preparing for the future. One newbie of note for the mlbbro.com audience is rookie Lawrence Butler — the organization’s No.17 ranked prospect and rising — who got to showcase his skills on Monday in a 7-3 spring training loss to the Colorado Rockies.
The multi-talented sixth-round pick by the A’s in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Westlake High School in Atlanta, went 2-for-2, first breaking up a no-hitter in the seventh with a double that produced a thundering exit velocity of 111 mph and then flexing that big stick energy with an oppo taco solo job to left in the ninth.
Other top prospects who were invited to A’s camp this spring, include catcher Tyler Soderstrom, the organizations No.1 prospect, Zack Gelof (No. 3), Denzel Clarke (No. 13), Max Muncy (No. 8) and Daniel Susac (No. 4).
“It’s been pretty good just being around the big league guys,” Butler told MLB.com. “Getting to talk to some of them and pick their brain about things we wonder about in the Minor Leagues all the time. I’m having a lot of fun up here.”
Butler Is Looking To Continue His Hot Hitting
Butler, 22, is moving up the MLB pipeline at a nice pace. After a highly productive stint with High-A Lansing in 2022 in which he posted an .825 OPS with 11 homers, 19 doubles, 41 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 81 games, Butler put in some time in the Arizona Fall League and was promoted to the club’s 40-man roster in the offseason.
In 287 minor league games Butler has 153 RBI, 46 steals, 35 homers and 388 K’s, which he will have to cut down on at the next level. Overall, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound centerfielder possess a skill set that translates well to the pros and the brand of ball that Oakland plays.
MLBbros Led Oakland A’s To Past Championships
Also in Butler’s favor, is Oakland has a rich history of MLBbros leading the way to championships.
The great Reggie Jackson led the Oakland A’s Dynasty to three straight World Series rings in the 1970s (’72-’74), winning a league MVP and World Series MVP in 1973. Rickey Henderson‘s second Oakland stint produced back-to-back World Series appearances. In 1989, Rickey led Oakland to the championship and in 1990 he won the AL MVP. Black Ace Dave Stewart was a huge part of that ’89 team. In fact, “Smoke” was the World Series MVP.
There’s a youth movement going down in Oakland and they are providing a sneak peek into the future this spring. The #MLBbro Butler is producing, it might be sooner rather than later that you see him roaming the outfield on an everyday basis for the big club.