OAKLAND — Over the years, the term “five-tool player” has been reserved only for a select few in baseball. It might be time to add A's rookie Ramón Laureano to that list.
In less than big-league games, the outfielder has already displayed all five tools: Hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, fielding ability, and throwing ability. On Friday, the 24-year-old rookie belted two more home runs, becoming the first player in A's history with two multi-homer games within the first 30 games of his career.
“It's pretty cool,” Laureano said with a smile after the A's beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 on Friday. “I just want to focus on moving forward. All those kinds of accolades, I'll reflect on in the offseason, but I just want to keep moving forward.”
Former A's sluggers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco needed 13 and 14 more games, respectively, than Laureano to accomplish the feat. That wasn't lost on A's manager Bob Melvin.
“That is very impressive based on the fact that you've been running McGwires, Cansecos, Khris Davises, Reggie Jacksons, and all those guys through this organization,” Melvin said. “So it means he's off to a nice start.”
Laureano is off to more than a nice start, slashing .309/.387/568 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases. And that's just on offense.
We've already seen Laureano make several highlight-reel catches, and arguably one of the greatest throws in MLB history.
“He has all the tools,” Melvin said. “I think we probably need to wait a little while before we classify him as a five-tool player, but the physical presence [is there]. He's able to throw, he's got some power obviously, and he runs really well. He may be on his way to [being] one of those guys.”
Becoming "one of those guys" is a clear goal, even though the 23-year-old is in just his fifth professional season
“I take pride in that,” Laureano said of becoming a five-tool player. “But at the same time, I just see the present, work on what I need to do for that day, and if it happens, it happens.”
Melvin moved Laureano to the leadoff spot the last two games, and it has paid off in a big way. Laureano went 2-for-5 Wednesday with a pair of doubles. On Friday, he was 2-for-4 with the two home runs.
“For the couple of games we've put him in there, he's taken it to another level,” Melvin said. “He's swinging the bat really well. He hits one out to left and hits one out to right. He's on a roll right now.”
“[I took p]retty much the same approach,” Laureano said of his homers. “Get a good pitch to hit. I got it and didn't miss it. That simple.”
It's not really that simple for everyone, but right now, Laureano is making everything look easy. That is great news for the A's.