Zack Gelof makes A’s history in monster game vs. Cardinals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Zack Gelof is giving MLB fans a reason to pay attention to Athletics baseball.
The rookie infielder is turning heads during his short time in the big leagues. He’s having fun — and he’s already making history along the way. Gelof became the first player in A’s history to have 20 extra-base hits and 20 runs scored through his first 28 career games played, per MLB.
“I think just being confident in my preparation and what my coaches and other teammates are doing,” Gelof said on NBC Sports California’s “A’s Postgame Live” after Oakland’s 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. “And then ultimately, trying to separate it. When you get to the game, you just got to be really competitive and try to battle and do your best to dominate. I’ve been trying to do that and it’s been working out so far.”
Gelof went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles Wednesday — his second four-hit game in the past four days. He’s now hitting .294 with eight homers, 16 RBI and seven stolen bases.
The 23-year-old leads all MLB in the month of August in extra-base hits.
“It’s fun watching right now,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said postgame. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. For young guys to come here and have that type of success, it obviously builds their confidence. But not only that, he’s a player that in spring training, tried to make the team out of spring training, and went to Triple-A and continued to work. And it’s paying off here.”
The A’s (34-87) are the worst team in baseball. They have little to play for at this point in the season, but Gelof, who said he tries to play with “a little swag,” still is providing an energy to rejuvenate the team and provide a spark for what’s left in the season.
And at just 23 years old, Gelof is setting the tone and inspiring the rest of the team to do the same.
“We’ve seen that time and time again. He gets out of the box, he plays the game hard with an intensity about him that you want to see from the rest of the group,” Kotsay said. “And I think there was a little bit of that message this afternoon to the rest of the group that this guy is leading by example and he’s going out and he’s playing the game hard. Not recklessly, but with a passion.”
Like Kotsay, Gelof’s veteran teammates are impressed with what they’re seeing from the young rookie.
“It’s good to see all of our young guys come up and have success, go through struggles and have success again,” Paul Blackburn told reporters postgame. “Just seeing the way they carry themselves, we got a couple guys in here that are young, young. And being able to step on a big league field every single day and go through their routines and come in and get their work in pregame, even when it’s not going their way.
“It says a lot about them about how they are as a ball player and people. It’s been awesome to see the energy they’ve brought.”
Gelof credits his confidence to the mentality he’s had his entire life, and he shouted out his teammates for making his job easier.
With a little over 40 games left in the regular season, Gelof is giving A’s fans have something to look forward to for the rest of the season and a glimpse of what the future has in store.