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Five Oakland A’s players already in the system who could be around for the 2027 Las Vegas roster

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Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo announced on Wednesday that Las Vegas lawmakers and the Athletics have reached a tentative agreement on a bill for public financing on a new stadium that would be located near the Strip. The bill will now be advanced to the state legislature as part of the next step in the A’s attempt to relocate from Oakland. 

Provided the A’s do gain approval, first from Nevada’s legislature and then eventually from Major League Baseball’s 29 other franchise owners, their stated desire is to begin construction on the new ballpark sometime next year with an eye on moving in ahead of the 2027 season. Of course, even the best-laid plans can be disrupted by construction and bureaucratic delays, so it’s possible the A’s timeline is pushed back. (Do note that the A’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after next season, meaning they may relocate to Las Vegas early and play in a minor-league park.)

Assuming this all gets done and the A’s do become the second MLB franchise in recent history to relocate across state lines, they’re certain to have a significantly different look by the time the Las Vegas era begins. After all, the current A’s have a laughable 10-40 record and a worse-than-expected farm system, both the byproduct of indifferent ownership and management. Factor in how they were one of the biggest losers of MLB’s initial draft lottery, dropping from pick No. 2 to pick No. 6, and it’s fair to write that this team looks to be a few years away from being a few years away.

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We here at CBS Sports figure that reality, plus the news of their tentative agreement, would make for the opportune time to conduct a thought experiment. Specifically, we’ve highlighted the five players currently in the organization who we feel have the best odds of being part of the roster when they open the new ballpark in Vegas. Do note that this is more of an art than a science, and that the players are ranked in descending order of perceived sticking power. Now, let’s get to it.

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That’s right, we think the A’s player likeliest to be part of their ballpark-opening ceremonies hasn’t even played in the majors yet. Soderstrom, the 26th pick in the 2020 draft, has hit .272/.320/.519 with eight home runs in 38 Triple-A games. He’s been well-regarded by scouts dating back to his amateur days, with the expectation being that he should develop into a middle-of-the-order thumper. Soderstrom does have a free-swinging approach, which could cause him some growing pains once he reaches the majors, and the A’s have yet to settle on a true defensive home for him: he’s split his defensive duties between first base and catcher this year. It’s fair to think he’s more likely to end up at the cold corner long-term.

Ruiz was the key piece the Athletics received over the offseason in return for Sean Murphy. He’s since hit .284/.344/.376 (108 OPS+) this season with a home run and 25 stolen bases in his first 50 games. Ruiz has top-notch speed and range in the outfield,  though it’s to be seen if he can maintain his offensive pace. The smart money would seem to be on “no” given that he ranks in the 1st percentile in exit velocity and in the 4th percentile in walk rate. Ruiz has been struck by an alarmingly high rate of pitches (10 in 219 plate appearances), and he wouldn’t be the first player whose magnetic nature helps buoy an otherwise empty on-base percentage. At minimum, Ruiz’s dynamic traits should allow him to remain an entertaining player to watch.

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It’s always hard to find even adequate catching, and that truth bolsters Langeliers’ chances of sticking around for the long haul. He’s batted .213/.287/.400 (95 OPS+) with seven home runs in his first 42 games this season. His offensive game has been as advertised: above-average strength overcoming a significant amount of swing and miss. Defensively, Langeliers was supposed to be a good catch-and-throw backstop. The “throw” part has been fine, but it’s worrisome that he ranks in the 7th percentile in framing, per Statcast. Again, the positional scarcity is such that it might not matter. 

Miller impressed in four big-league starts earlier this year before landing on the injured list with a mild UCL strain — yes, that’s the Tommy John ligament. Ruh roh. Miller has impressive stuff, including an upper-90s fastball, and would rank higher based on sheer talent and upside. Unfortunately, he’s been plagued by physical woes. To wit, he’s pitched in just 15 games total since being drafted in 2021. Players don’t tend to get healthier with age, but we — and the A’s — hope that Miller proves to be an exception.

We’re rounding out our list with another player yet to make their big-league debut. Gelof has rebounded from a slow start to bat .275/.407/.468 in 31 Triple-A games. He’s a patient hitter willing to work deep counts, and as a result he’s either walked or struck out in 45% of his plate appearances. We do have concerns about the amount of swing and miss present in his game, particularly versus left-handed pitchers (he’s sporting a 44% whiff rate against them this year). Still, he’s produced at every rung of the minor-league ladder, and the A’s figure to give him ample opportunity to figure things out against big-league pitching. Gelof should reach The Show sometime soon.

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