An exciting group of Athletics prospects are making a big impact in the early goings of spring training. And they have a flashy new nickname to show for it.
“We call ourselves, 'The New Oakland,' ” prospect Lawrence Butler told MLB.com's Martín Gallegos at A's camp in Mesa, Ariz.
Butler, a sixth-round pick by Oakland in the 2018 MLB Draft, rose to No. 17 on MLB.com's list of the A's top-30 prospects this offseason. He is surrounded by a tight-knit group of fellow A's youngsters at spring training, headlined by No. 1 overall prospect Tyler Soderstrom and No. 3 prospect Zack Gelof.
“It’s been a blast being able to experience all this with those guys," Butler told Gallegos. "We played in the Fall League together and created a bond. Those are my guys. Shout out Tyler Soderstrom, too.”
In the A's 14-14 exhibition tie with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, Butler mashed his way to two hits, one walk, two runs and three RBI in three plate appearances.
Soderstrom went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI, and Gelof went 1-for-1 with a walk. It continued a strong early showing for "The New Oakland" in Mesa.
When the A's opened their Cactus League schedule with a 12-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, all three of those aforementioned youngsters notched a hit in Oakland's six-run fifth inning.
Butler went on to mash his first spring-training home run on Monday. He has tallied five hits -- one single, two doubles, one triple and one homer -- in six at-bats this spring.
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“It was fun to watch them,” A's manager Mark Kotsay told Gallegos on Saturday. “One of the things that stood out, too, was that these guys have got some size. Butler, Soderstrom, [Denzel] Clarke, Gelof -- they’re big guys.
"To see the youth come in and bring that energy and excitement and have the success behind it, that was fun.”
A's fans likely will have to wait at least another season to see both Soderstrom and Butler wearing the Green and Gold in Oakland. But witnessing the franchise's future mash in Mesa is a good sign for the rebuild in The Town.