Baseball – Oakland A’s Select Jackson Memorial’s Ryan Lasko With on Day One of the 2023 MLB Draft
The team that inspired the the book and film Moneyball may have found its latest hidden gem in Jersey.
The Oakland Athletics selected Rutgers University standout and Jackson Memorial High School graduate Ryan Lasko with the 41st overall pick of the 2023 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Sunday night.
The recommended signing bonus for a player drafted 41st overall this season is $2.09 million.
Lasko is the first Shore Conference alumnus to be selected on day one of the MLB Draft since Barnegat's Jay Groome and Jackson Memorial's Matt Thaiss were selected at Nos. 12 and 16, respectively, in the first round of the 2016 Draft. Thaiss graduated from Jackson Memorial in 2013 and spent three seasons at the University of Virginia.
The 41st overall selection is also the highest a Rutgers player has been picked in the MLB Draft since Todd Frazier went 34th overall to the Cincinnati Reds in 2007.
While Raul Ibanez announced Lasko as the second selection of the second round from the Draft stage in Seattle, Lasko celebrated the late-night announcement -- just after 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast -- with his family in Jackson.
Lasko was a three-year starter at Rutgers and an impact player in the Scarlet Knights lineup from day one as a freshman. He was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball in 2021, when he hit .231/.339/.474 with 11 home runs, five doubles, 28 runs and 30 RBI in his first collegiate season.
As a sophomore, Lasko enjoyed a full-fledged breakout and catapulted himself onto the 2023 Draft radar. He was a Second-Team All-American and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the National Player of the Year in College Baseball. In that 2022 season, Lasko helped lead Rutgers to a single-season-program-record 44 wins and his numbers as a sophomore were even better than the ones he put up as a junior: .349/.431/.634, 258 at-bats, 24 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 81 runs scored, 51 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
This past spring, Lasko had a solid follow-up season to 2022 at the plate while improving his stock as a centerfielder. He hit .330/.428/.581 with 11 homers, 18 doubles, three triples, 60 runs, a career-best 50 RBI and 18 stolen bases while walking (37) more than striking out (34).
Lasko's throwing arm, in particular, drew praise from scouts leading up to his selection and he put together an impressive reel of defensive highlights at Rutgers, particularly in 2023.
Before taking off at Rutgers, Lasko's tools were on display at Jackson Memorial, where he started for the Jaguars as a sophomore and junior before losing his senior season to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was a First Team All-Shore outfielder as a junior in 2019, when he hit .380/.423/.747 in 79 at-bats with eight doubles, seven home runs, 24 runs scored, 33 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Lasko went undrafted after his senior year at Jackson Memorial in 2020, mostly because the MLB Draft lasted only five rounds that year.
While Lasko has been drafted by the Oakland A's, there is a good chance his potential Major-League debut would be for the Las Vegas A's. The A's lease at the Oakland Coliseum ends following the 2024 season and there are announced plans for a new ballpark for the organization in Las Vegas as early as 2027. The club could, potentially, play home games in 2025 and 2026 in Las Vegas's Minor-League Ballpark -- similar to how the Toronto Blue Jays played in Buffalo in 2020 and most of 2021.
Lasko is hoping to become the second active Jackson Memorial alum in the Major Leagues, joining Los Angeles Angels catcher Matt Thaiss, who was selected No. 16 overall by the Angels out of the University of Virginia in the 2016 Draft.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for additional details.