A's pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday with a sense of excitement to start the season. And not only because legendary pitcher Dave Stewart called the rotation future superstars.
Although, that certainly helps.
Baseball America published its annual farm system rankings with the A's landing right in the middle at No. 15 overall.
What they said: "It's always better to have stars than depth. Stars win titles, while depth can often be found on the free-agent market at an inexpensive price. The A's have potential stars in Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk and even Sean Murphy. The depth? The front office will have to keep being creative to fill holes."
Baseball America has three A's on its top 100 list with lefties Luzardo and Puk and Nos. 9 and 21 overall, respectively, and Murphy, a catcher, at the No. 41 spot.
Both Puk and Luzardo should make for great additions to the pitching rotation after a brief cup of coffee in 2019.
Puk is beautifully recovering from the Tommy John surgery he had in April of 2018, and in 11.1 innings out of the bullpen last season, he posted a 3.18 ERA with 13 strikeouts.
Luzardo, also limited last season, posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out 16 over 12 innings.
Behind the plate will be Murphy who, at the moment, is in the lead to start at catcher, a position important to manager Bob Melvin.
"[He] did enough last year, and certainly in his minor-league career, to have us excited," Melvin told NBC Sports California at the end of January.
In 60 plate appearances last season, Murphy slashed .245/.333/.566 with four homers and eight RBI.
Before the 2019 season, the A's were ranked by Baseball America as the 11th-best farm system, so they've fallen back a bit. But that could mean there's just a spike in production across other organizations.
A's farm system ranked No. 15 in MLB by Baseball America before season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area