2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Busts: Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics you should and shouldn't draft in 2024.

2023 was a difficult year for the green and gold in Oakland. The season itself saw a last-place finish with few bright spots, and once the season ended, it was confirmed that the organization was on its way to Las Vegas. Brutal all around.

With the move to Las Vegas the A’s are also now faced with a question mark as far as where they are going to play in the coming years. This does not impact the upcoming season, but it is something to monitor in the coming years with regard to dynasty leagues.

The real-life Athletics are in a tough spot, but as far as fantasy goes there are some names to keep an eye on for the upcoming season. I previously wrote an article on sleepers and busts for the Rockies and in the coming weeks, I’ll have an article on the Nationals. I bring this up because I love looking at rebuilding teams for fantasy output. Better teams produce more consistent fantasy points because, with a good team around a player, certain counting stats are easier to come by (wins, saves, runs, RBIs to name a few), I understand that. I like looking at rebuilding teams because sometimes you’re able to find gems that others may have overlooked. Yes, certain stats may not materialize on a rebuilding team, especially saves and wins, but in the mid to late rounds, taking a chance on a high-upside guy on a bad team has the possibility of netting you a fantastic player.

I’m trying to be a bit more positive with this article since the A’s aren’t in a good spot and many players could be seen as busts. So, there is only 1 bust whereas there are 3 sleepers. Let’s dive in.




Lawrence Butler

2023 stats (123 PA): .211 AVG | .240 OBP | .342 SLG | 10 R | 10 RBI | 4 HR | 0 SB


Lawrence Butler is an outfield prospect for the A’s who was called up in August 2023. With his month and a half in the majors, Butler looked a bit lost at the plate, and save for one multi-home run game, was just not good. The above is clearly not a slash line or counting stats to write home about.

Why do I like Butler for 2024? The main reason is he hits the ball hard. His average EV is nothing to write home about sitting at 87.7. The stat I’m looking at is 111 mph for max EV; you love to see it. This isn’t in elite company per se, but hitting this number as a 23-year-old who is still figuring things out at the MLB level? That’s very encouraging and I suspect both max EV and EV numbers continue to climb as he gets more comfortable.

Power is Butler’s game and I think the best is yet to come. Let’s use a handy dandy PLV metric, Power (Modeled number of extra bases (xISO on contact) above a pitch’s expectation, for each BBE). Simply put, does Butler add anything to the tune of extra bases?

It’s crazy to see since his SLG was .342, but yes, Butler has power. I understand this still isn’t elite and not near that 90th percentile, but Butler hanging out around the 75th percentile shows he has the ability to hit for power. For reference, that gray line is the MLB average. Ability is the word that carries the most weight here. It hasn’t quite become part of who he is as a player, but it seems to be around the corner.

I wrote about the Rays last year as far as sleepers and busts are concerned. I harped on one player in a big way: Jose Siri. The easiest comp right now for what Butler could be in 2024 is Jose Siri. I understand that Siri isn’t the most tantalizing player, but he does not suck.

The A’s aren’t going to wow in 2024 and a lot of their innings are going to go to young players. Butler, once called up, was playing regularly and playing a decent outfield. Defense isn’t a fantasy stat but the smart fantasy owners know that if a player shines at defense, he’s in the lineup. It also helps that Butler will be free going into the draft. Take a shot on him as your last pick, it could pay off.


Joe Boyle

2023 Stats (16 IP): 1.69 ERA | .813 WHIP | 15 K | 2 W


Who? Seth, who is this? Dear reader, I know this is a stretch but he is a player I very much want to get on the fantasy manager’s radar.

There are players on the A’s that are going to perform, mainly Ryan Noda and Seth Brown. They should be looked at as well in drafts and could be in this sleeper category. I bring up Joe Boyle because he’s less than free in drafts, he’s on the waiver wire post-draft. So why am I talking about him?

The A’s are going to let their young kids play. And if you opened this article and it was Butler, Noda, and Seth Brown as sleepers, admit it, that’s boring.

Look at the highlights of this start against the Angels late last year. I also want you to watch Nick Pollack break down Boyle at the end of the year in Boyle’s MLB debut. The man sits at 99 MPH. He’s got a slider and what is said to be a curve/sweeper to keep hitters on their toes. We didn’t get to see enough of him last year and that may end up being a good thing fantasy-wise.

I don’t have any visual aids graph-wise to support my love for Joe Boyle because he only threw 16 innings in the majors. I wish I had more minor-league advanced stats, but I do not have the resources. So then what did he do in the minors, Seth?

I’m glad you asked. 117.1 innings pitched, a 3.84 ERA, 168 strikeouts to those 117.1 innings pitched, which is insane, and a WHIP at 1.50. The WHIP is the concern. a BB/9 of 7.1 in 2023 is outrageous and of course, this is the issue with him; he completely loses his control at times.

Name the A’s pitching staff. All five, do it. JP Sears, Paul Blackburn, I guess Kyle Muller, and Ken Waldichuk but they’re on thin ice, Mason Miller was moved to the pen, and the final possibility is Luis Medina. There are three massive question marks at the back end there and Blackburn feels like a trade candidate. take a chance on Boyle at the end of your draft if he makes the team about of spring training. He will be beyond free and if he doesn’t perform, he can be an easy drop. I have faith in him and truly think he can become a mid-rotation starter.

While other managers are taking a chance on AJ Smith-Shawver at the end of drafts, I say be the wild one and take a shot on Boyle.


Zack Gelof

2023 stats (300 PA): .267 AVG | .337 OBP | .504 SLG | 40 R | 32 RBI | 14 HR | 14 SB

I won’t spend much time here like I didn’t spend much time on Nolan Jones in the Rockies article.

Gelof is one of my favorite players right now in the MLB because of what he brings to the table as far as power and speed. For fantasy, he’s insanely enticing.

Let me show you three graphs. The first is “Decision Value” (Modeled value (runs per 100 pitches) of a hitter’s decision to swing or take, minus the modeled value of the alternative).

This is hot. It took a dip at the end of the year, but this still can be classified as hot.

Next is Power, which we discussed earlier (Modeled number of extra bases (xISO on contact) above a pitch’s expectation, for each BBE).

Also, hot. He’s adding value with extra-base hits pretty regularly.

But finally, the bad.

For someone who did so well as far as decision-making at the plate, his contact frequency is in the dumps.

Also, Gelof outperformed all of his expected stats, one more visual aid for you.

But because in his short time at the majors he still was able to put up fantastic counting stats, we honestly just need to see a full season from him.

I do not love the price tag (sitting at 135 ADP thanks to NFBC) but I cannot throw him in the bust conversation because we don’t know what the floor is. He was almost a 20-20 player last year while overperforming. If he falls in line with his expected stats, what does that look like? Over a full year, it could still be a 20-20 season.

I recommend to not overpay for Gelof but if he’s there around 150, take him.




Esteury Ruiz

2023 stats (615 PA): .254 AVG | .309 OBP | .345 SLG | 47 R | 47 RBI | 5 HR | 67 SB


Bust is such a strong word. As George Costanza put it so well on the subject of fear in the workplace, “These are men with jobs, Jerry.” I say this because no player wants to be bad and going into a season, no player should be perceived as being bad. Have some positivity, you Scrooge. I’m saying this to myself.

Esteury Ruiz is a player who is tough to have some positivity around unless you are a deviant for stolen bases. If you are a deviant for stolen bases then you’ve come to the right place.

Ruiz is purely a play for stolen bases and right now his ADP is sitting higher than Zack Gelof’s. Look me in the eye and tell me you’d rather have Ruiz than Gelof. I get that outfield is a bit thin going into the 2024 year, but so is second base.

For some quick hits, I want everyone to look at Ruiz’s xAVG, among other things.

The man somehow overperformed while still having an average of .254. I know Gelof did too but .254 as opposed to .207 is a massive difference.

If you desperately need steals on your team, sure, go for it. But another thing of note is Ruiz was a healthy scratch for many games starting in August when the aforementioned Lawrence Butler came up. It feels like the A’s don’t trust his defense and therefore he received fewer at-bats.

Again, I want to say that if your team dynamic needs steals and you can spend the pick at around 130-150, that’s fine. But Ruiz is someone I’m avoiding in redraft, and someone I’m trading in dynasty leagues.

Seth Klusmire

Seth Klusmire is a Fantasy Baseball writer here at Pitcher List. His past writing credits were with BSN Denver (now DNVR). He is a certified Sommelier and would happily suggest which wine pairs with what team.

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