David Forst impressed by Ryan Noda’s opening weekend

When I think about the A’s and Rule 5 Draft, Mark Canha is the first name that comes to mind.

Back in 2014, Oakland was so enamored with Canha that it negotiated a trade to secure his Rule 5 draft rights from the Colorado Rockies. The San Jose native and Cal product would become a fan favorite over his seven seasons in Oakland, when he played 645 total games and became the franchise’s all-time leader in hit by pitches. 

OK, so he did more than get plunked. Canha was a ‘tweener when the A’s got him – was he an outfielder? A first baseman? A designated hitter? But worked himself into great shape and an above average outfielder who could play in all three spots, while toting one of the lineup’s most reliable bats.

Canha is now playing the second season of a two-year, $26.5 million deal with the New York Mets after establishing himself as a bona fide big leaguer. The A’s are hoping that 2023 Rule 5 draftee Ryan Noda can enjoy the same kind of success in the green and gold.

We’re only two games deep into Cactus League play, but Noda has made a phenomenal first impression on general manager David Forst. Forst joined Chris Townsend on A’s cast Monday morning to give his impressions of the past weekend’s games, where Oakland put up 23 runs in two contests.

The ball exploded off Noda’s bat for a double to the right-field gap on Saturday, then he followed that up by hitting a three-run dinger Sunday with a tank that cleared the batter’s eye in center field. Not bad for the 26-year-old trying to break camp with the squad.

“Inherently in the Rule 5 position, there’s so much pressure on a guy like that,” Forst told Townsend. “He knows this is his opportunity, he knows he has to stick with the team in order to be in the big leagues. To see Noda take a swing like that, get a homer then all the sudden feel more comfortable for the rest of the month is really nice.”

Looking at Noda’s minor league numbers, you can see why the A’s were intrigued. In 2022, he slashed .259/.396/.474 with 25 homers and 90 RBIs in 135 games, along with 20 stolen bases, 92 walks and 162 strikeouts. According to Forst, “he came with a really good reputation defensively,” and made a nice play during Sunday’s contest with his glove.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, Noda certainly profiles as a slugging first baseman. He’s ascended a level in the minors each year since being drafted in the 15th round in 2017.

“There’s a combination of power and plate discipline here that we really believe plays in the big leagues,” Forst said. “He just needs this opportunity. He was blocked in a really good system, in a really good organization with the Dodgers. There’s a long history of Rule 5 picks that just needed that opportunity. So hopefully this is what Ryan needs and what worked out for him.”

So, why did the Dodgers leave him unprotected? That Freddie Freeman guy was hogging up all the innings after signing a six-year, $162 million contract last offseason. The A’s took Noda with the No. 2 overall pick in this December’s Rule 5 Draft.


“I respect the Dodgers org,” Noda told Townsend on A’s Cast this weekend. “Great org, great people. They treated me unbelievable, but that Freddie signing definitely got me stuck. Fortunately enough, the A’s got me in the Rule 5 draft and now I’m here and excited to get going.”

There are plenty of intraroster competitions at camp for the A’s this spring and first base is one of them. Noda is the most exciting left-handed hitter they have at the position, as other options like veteran free-agent signee Jesús Aguilar, prospect Jordan Díaz and powerful Dermis García are all right-handed.

If Noda continues to show potential like this at the plate, there’s no reason to think he won’t be on the opening day roster. 

“I’ve been through every minor league station, starting at square one in rookie ball all the way through Triple-A,” Noda said. “I definitely have a lot of at-bats under my belt in professional baseball. I’m just excited to get that chance. Hopefully it’s here with the A’s and I can help win some ballgames.”