Zack Gelof

Forst raves about Gelof's leadership, ceiling after debut A's season

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  • Programming note: Watch Brodie Brazil's exclusive interview with Oakland Athletics general manager David Forst in "A's Season Review," which will debut Thursday at 10:30 p.m., after "Sharks Postgame Live," on NBC Sports California.

There wasn’t a clear-cut MVP of the 50-win Athletics during the 2023 MLB season.

But if Zack Gelof had been on the Opening Day roster and performed all season as he did in the second half, it would have been him.

“It’s not common for a guy to hit the ground running the way Zack did,” A’s general manager David Forst told NBC Sports California.

Gelof ended up hitting .267 in 270 at bats following his July 14 MLB debut.

The anticipation of his arrival and the satisfaction of his early success was very reminiscent of what former A's players Matt Olson and Matt Chapman brought to the team in their rookie months of 2017.

“Even with those guys you’re comparing him to, there’s ups and downs,” Forst said. “Matt Olson got optioned six times the first year he was in the big leagues.

“I think comparisons are dangerous and maybe not fair to the player, but I love the ceiling on this kid right now.”

Gelof recorded hits in 44 of his 69 MLB games, including a nine-game streak in September and a pair of four-hit games in August.

His bat spoke for itself. But Gelof’s actual words and clubhouse demeanor also were noticeable.

“He showed leadership with his work ethic, with his words in the clubhouse, the way he treated other guys who came up around the same time,” Forst said.

While Gelof did play multiple positions in the A’s pipeline, the expectation is that he’ll remain at second base for the near future.

“We moved him around in the minor leagues, partly because he has some arm issues,” Forst said. “I think he's taken really well to second base. It just it looks better on that side. We kicked around the idea of [putting him] in the outfield, but he's played really well at second and it fits our roster right now.”

Gelof’s emergence, abilities, value and projections come with little question. Only how the A’s will handle his contract, arbitration years and, ultimately, free agency is — which all time out close to their anticipated relocation to Las Vegas. 

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