Major League Baseball's owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn't mean we're letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the Oakland Athletics' farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
1. Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B
Soderstrom was considered one of the top prep catchers in the 2020 class, but even then scouts expressed a desire to move him elsewhere. Those wishes weren't cast because of a disdain for his defense so much as a belief in his bat. Soderstrom, evaluators feel, has a chance to become a middle-of-the-order hitter thanks to his feel for hard contact and the strike zone alike. He showed as much by bullying his A-ball competition in his first full professional season, hitting .306/.390/.568 with 12 home runs and 21 troubles (triples plus doubles) in 57 games. The A's still permitted Soderstrom to catch most of the time, but they did give him a look at first base, suggesting even they're considering their options to maximize his stick.
2. Nick Allen, SS
Allen is one of the best defensive shortstops in the minors, and he should reach the majors in 2022 based on the strength of his glove alone. The jury remains out on his bat, however. He's unlikely to offer much, if any power (his career-high in home runs is six) and he batted just .243/.302/.301 in 39 games at Triple-A last season. Allen seems likely to begin the year in the minors before debuting by summertime.
3. Max Muncy, SS
Muncy doesn't share much in common with the Dodgers first baseman other than a name. This Muncy, the 25th pick in July's draft, is a lean, quick-twitch athlete with good bat speed. He also has a chance to stick at shortstop, though many evaluators believed he'd end up at either second or third base in due time.