2014 Oakland A’s Top 10 Prospects

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Update: The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual finally hit ebook shelves. Check it out!!!

After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days –  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and working through alphabetically. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Addison Russell, Position: SS, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

504

131

.275

.377

.508

12.1%

23.0%

.233

29

10

17

21/24

Profile: How’s this for breaking tradition: The Oakland A’s, who popularized taking collegiate players early and often in the draft, made 24 consecutive picks in the first round between before taking a high schooler (Jeremy Bonderman in 2001 to Russell in 2012).

Russell, the 11th pick in the draft, continued his accelerated path towards the majors last season, dominating high Class A at the tender age of 19.

Analysis: Above-Average power, plate discipline and speed, Russell should help stop the organization’s revolving door at shortstop for, oh, about a decade or so. Middle-of-the-order type bat with the chops to handle the position, he looks like a potential .320/.440/.540-type hitter, capable of swatting 30 bombs and grabbing 15 to 20 bags.

Ceiling: 6.5- to 7.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Nolan Sanburn, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

24.0

1.50

4.25

6.75

3.38

19.4%

9.7%

0.38

42.4%

Profile: A shoulder injury cost the 2012 second round pick to miss much of the season, though the 6-foot right-hander did make his debut in the Arizona Summer League at the end of June. A reliever for much of his two years at Arkansas, Sanburn looked to be making a successful conversion to the rotation prior to the injury. The ailment – an aggravated teres major – doesn’t appear to be a big issue.

Analysis: Promising ability to miss bats and average-ish control/command. Sanburn came out as a draft-eligible sophomore, so the lost year basically puts him on the same developmental path as the most recent draft picks. He’s very raw for a starting pitcher, but has an intriguingly high ceiling, maybe a decent #2.

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

3. Daniel Robertson, Position: SS, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

451

116

.277

.353

.401

9.1%

17.5%

.124

21

1

9

1/8

Profile: How about finding not one, but two potential above-average shortstops in the same draft? The A’s grabbed Robertson just 23 picks after selecting top prospect Addison Russell. Though not on the same developmental path, Robertson topped the Midwest League offensive average by 16%, the fourth best total among qualified shortstops.

Analysis: Solid tools across the board on both offense and defense, Robertson’s one of those prospects that gets overlooked and before you know it he’s an above-average big leaguer. He could top out as a .290/.350/.430-type guy with solid defense.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

4. Matt Olson, Position: 1B, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

558

114

.225

.326

.435

12.9%

26.5%

.210

32

0

23

4/7

Profile: Oakland took more high school players in the first round of the 2012 draft then they did in the preceding 13 years. Olson, the club’s supplemental pick awarded for losing David DeJesus in the 2011-2012 offseason, trailed only Minnesota’s Adam Walker for most homeruns in the Midwest League last season, slugging 23 of them as a 19-year-old. 

Analysis: I hate to pigeonhole an organization, especially one as unpredictable as the Athletics, but Olson’s the typical Oakland guy: big time power, impressive patience, and huge strikeout ability. The lefty-swinging first baseman, however, also struggles against fellow southpaws, hitting just .201/.299/.373 against them during his two-year career.

The power/patience combo is certainly drool-inducing. But he needs to solve LHs in the next year or two before getting categorized as a potential platoon guy.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

5. Max Muncy, Position: 1B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

428

134

.285

.400

.507

15.0%

15.9%

.222

13

1

21

1/2

AA

197

113

.250

.340

.413

12.2%

17.3%

.163

12

2

4

0/0

 Profile: Bear with me for moment:

Player

Age

Level

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

BB%

K%

Max Muncy

22

A+

0.285

0.400

0.507

0.907

0.222

14.95%

15.89%

Ryan Howard

23

A+

0.304

0.374

0.514

0.889

0.210

9.04%

27.31%

Analysis: The above numbers between Muncy and Howard are, well, fairly similar, sans the peripherals at the plate. And that’s not to mention both players’ struggles against LHs. Now is Muncy, a fifth round pick in 2012 out of Baylor, going to be the second coming of the Phils’ big bopper? Highly, highly unlikely. Why? Well, because Howard showed much more power in college, slugging 50 homeruns in his three-year career vs. Muncy’s 27.

But Muncy does, however, have a chance to be, oh, something like 85% of the overall hitter Howard has been, perhaps peaking as a .270/.360/.460-type hitter.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Raul Alcantara, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

77.1

2.44

3.53

6.75

0.81

18.0%

2.2%

0.35

41.5%

A+

79.0

3.76

3.64

7.52

1.94

20.2%

5.2%

0.91

36.7%

Profile: Acquired along with Miles Head and Josh Reddick from the Red Sox in exchange for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney, Alcantara split time between Beloit and Stockton last season, averaging 7.1 strikeouts and just 1.4 walks per nine innings.

Analysis: Owner of some of the best control in the Oakland system, Alcantara hasn’t missed a whole lot of bats thus far in his career – just 6.2 K/9. He has, however, made improvements in his K-rate through his four seasons. Sleeper candidate, big time. #2/#3-type ceiling.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

7. Billy McKinney, Position: CF, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

206

126

.320

.383

.414

8.3%

14.1%

.094

7

2

2

7/7

A-

37

190

.353

.405

.559

8.1%

10.8%

.206

2

1

1

1/2

Profile: Make it four straight high school players taken in the first round, something the organization hasn’t done since the drafts of the late 1970s. McKinney hit .326/.387/.437 with nine doubles, three triples, three homeruns, and eight stolen bases.

Analysis: Given yet another solid debut by a high school player, it wouldn’t be surprising to see McKinney bypass short-season ball and head straight to low Class A, much like Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson did in 2013.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

8. Miles Head, Position: 1B/3B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

163

51

.196

.264

.264

7.4%

25.8%

.068

4

0

2

0/1

Profile: It was a lost year for Head, who batted .333/.391/.577 with 32 doubles, eight triples, and 23 homeruns in 2012. Instead, he battled weight issues and a shoulder injury which knocked his production down among the worst in all the minor leagues: .196/.264/.264

Analysis: Head looked like a potential middle-of-the-order bat two years, especially during his time in high Class A where he topped the league average offense by 90%. Decent eye, strong contact skills, and the potential to develop above-average power. The weight issues, however, are more of a concern than the physical ailments, calling into question his commitment to the game. Now, he’s heading into his age-23 season as he repeats Class for the third time.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

9. B.J. Boyd, Position: OF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

300

149

.285

.375

.442

11.7%

22.0%

.157

13

2

8

8/14

Profile: The fourth best hitter in the New York-Penn League last season, Boyd topped the league average offense by 49%, the highest mark for a teenager.

Analysis: A member of the much hyped – and deservedly so – 2012 draft class, through a little more than 100 career games Boyd has shown an above-average eye and solid power to go along with 15- to 20-stolen base potential. He’s got quite a ways to go, but the potential develop into an above-average player is certainly prevalent.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

10. Tanner Peters, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

165.2

4.07

3.04

8.64

1.47

23.4%

4.0%

1.30

37.0%

Profile: Peters went from nondescript collegiate hurler to 16th round pick in 2011 to one of the better pitching prospects in the system. The former UNLV hurler finished third in the Cal League with a 3.04 SIERA, while averaging 8.64 strikeouts and 1.47 walks per nine innings.

Analysis: A solid lower tier prospect with the chance to develop into a backend starter for Oakland in a couple years. He does have some flaws, namely low groundball totals and his strikeout rate isn’t likely to hold firm as he moves up the ladder.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.


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