A’s promote Shea Langeliers, release Stephen Piscotty

The A’s have announced that they have selected the contract of the best catch Shea Langeliers. The club also remembered infielder David MacKinnon from Triple-A Las Vegas, seeded center fielder Ramon Laureano on 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 15, with left oblique strain and released right fielder Stephen Picotty.

It’s a remarkable shock to the A’s, who will get their first look at a player they hope will be a key figure of the future. Langeliers was one of four players Oakland received from the Braves in the Matt Olson trade this spring. Arguably the headliner of the deal, the deserved backstop is regarded by most would-be reviewers as a potential above-average regular behind the platter.

Langeliers, the ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft, has progressed up the minor league ladder over the past three years. He got off to a slow start late in his first pro season – not surprising for a catcher who recorded the most action in any year of his career. The following minor league season was wiped out by the pandemic, and Atlanta pushed Baylor University’s product to Double-A to start 2021. Langeliers spent most of the year there, building an impressive .258/.338/.498 line with 22 homeruns in 92 games in a pitcher-friendly environment.

That would have been quality power for any player, but it’s especially impressive for a highly regarded defensive catcher. Langeliers fits into that picture. Most reviewers consider him to be at least an average receiver, and he is unanimously commended for his arm strength. Each of ESPN’s FanGraphs, Keith Law of the Athletic, Baseball America and Kiley McDaniel placed him in the back half of their top 100 overall prospects heading into the 2022 season, and the A’s acquired him as part of their Spring Training not long after. – disassembly .

Langeliers continues to impress in his new organisation. He spent the year in Triple-A, his first long stint there after a brief cameo late last season. Over 402 at bats, the 24-year-old hit 19 home runs, a solid 10.7% walk percentage and a manageable 21.9% strikeout. Las Vegas is one of the most favorable environments in the affiliate ranks for batters, but Langeliers’ .283/.366/.510 line is a strong performer even in that context. With nearly 200 upper minors games to his name last season, he had little left to prove before earning an MLB look.

The A’s should have added Langeliers to the 40-man roster this offseason to avoid being selected in the Rule 5 draft. However, general manager David Forst indicated last week that they hoped to see the young backstop a little earlier, and he is expected to spend the last seven weeks of the season on the active roster. The club has played the chord in a brutal season, but Langeliers’ promotion gives the fan base and organization a glimpse of a potential core piece for 2023 and beyond.

Freshman manager Mark Kotsay is tasked with splitting playing time between the rookie and the incumbent backstop Sean Murphy. Oakland’s main catcher is arguably the team’s best player. An elite defender with an above average .244/.323/.422 appearing on the platter, Murphy is one of the best catchers in the game. He will definitely stay in the lineup most days, although the promotion of Langeliers Murphy could afford some extra quasi-rest work at first base or as a designated batter. Langeliers thinks he sees some action in those places as well.

That will be the temporary arrangement anyway, but a solid performance by Langeliers during his first look at big league appearances would only increase speculation about Murphy’s long-term future. With Murphy controllable through 2025, the A’s certainly won’t have to ditch him next off-season. He won’t go through arbitration for the first time until the winter, and next year’s salary (while a notable increase in his pre-arb payouts) won’t be heavy — even for an Oakland club likely to be one of the league’s lowest. payrolls. Yet a significant part of the value of both Murphy and Langeliers lies in their defensive acumen behind the plate. Of course, that’s not nearly as valuable at first base or DH, so you could argue for the A’s to negotiate Murphy in the winter and go to Langeliers regularly in 2023. Murphy drew interest from teams like the Guardians and Red Sox before this summer’s trade deadline, and the A’s are sure to get lots of calls about his availability once teams are allowed to trade MLB players again.

The promotion of Langeliers will have no immediate consequences for the A’s from a service time perspective. Enough time has passed that he will not take enough action to reach a full year of service or qualify for early arbitration after 2024 as a Super Two player. If permanently on the MLB roster, Langeliers would qualify for arb after the 2025 campaign and would reach free agency for the first time in the 2028-29 off-season. Oakland may return him to the minors for years to come, and any demotions could affect his service trajectory.

While Langeliers’ call is top news for the A’s as they look ahead to future seasons, the accompanying transaction deducts a player who has spent nearly five years with the team. The A’s acquired Bay Area-born and Stanford product Piscotty from the Cardinals heading into the 2018 season. The right-handed outfielder had broken through two outstanding seasons in the majors to secure a $33.5 million contract extension. earning money leading into the 2017 campaign. He didn’t perform at the same level during his final season in St. Louis, but the A’s took a backlash (bringing Piscotty closer to his family as his mother battled ALS) in a boxing match. end of that year.

More to come.

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