Oakland Athletics Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

Addison Russell - Rich Pilling, Getty Images

Here's an update on the Oakland Athletics 2013 Top 20 Prospect list. Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list! These are pre-season rankings and grades.

This list was originally published January 14, 2013, and revised on February 5, 2013.

1) Addison Russell, SS, Grade B+: Borderline A-. Hitting .262/.341/.477 with nine homers,12 steals, 32 walks, 92 strikeouts in 321 at-bats. Understandably erratic since he is only 19 years old and playing in High-A, but he's done nothing but confirm his status as one of the top prospects in baseball.

2) Michael Choice, OF, Grade B: Hitting .293/.384/.433 with 11 homers, 53 walks, 92 strikeouts in 379 at-bats for Triple-A Sacramento. He hasn't hit as many homers as I thought he would, but overall he's had a solid season.

3) Dan Straily, RHP, Grade B: 4.43 ERA in 16 major league starts, with 75/28 K/BB ratio in 91 innings. FIP is better than ERA at 3.66. I still like him.

4) Sonny Gray, RHP, Grade B:
2.85 ERA with 110/34 K/BB in 107 innings for Sacramento. Stock up, has made necessary adjustments, ready for a full major league trial next year.

5) Grant Green, INF-OF, Grade B-: Hitting .319/.374/.499 with 11 homers, 27 walks, 68 strikeouts in 357 at-bats in Triple-A. Went 0-for-15 in five major league games, but he'll be back.

6)Miles Head, 3B-1B, Grade B-: Hit just .196/.264/.264 in 40 games for Double-A Midland; was shut down in May with shoulder problems, reactivated in June, then shut down again four days later. Was apparently never healthy and may not play again this year. Lost campaign.

7) Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Grade B-:
Late start to the season due to some minor shoulder problems, healthy now and pitching for Low-A Beloit, 10/7 K/BB in first 12 innings. Was supposed to convert to starting but is back in the bullpen right now.

8) Daniel Robertson, 3B, Grade B-:
Hitting .270/.347/.382 with 28 walks, 53 strikeouts in 267 at-bats for Beloit. I had him listed as a third baseman but he's playing shortstop this year and doing OK. Numbers don't stand out, but buzz from Midwest League observers is positive.

9) Matt Olson, 1B, Grade B-:
Borderline C+: Hitting .228/.337/.398 with 57 walks, 101 strikeouts, 12 homers in 347 at-bats for Beloit. He scouts exactly how you'd think with these numbers: big strong guy with power, will work a count, vulnerable to strikeouts at this point, contact a question. Sounds like a Texas Rangers prospect but he draws too many walks to play for Hickory.

10) Renato Nunez, 3B, Grade C+:
Borderline B-. Hitting .275/.320/.455 with 15 homers, 22 walks, 99 whiffs in 374 at-bats for Beloit. Glove remains rough but improving gradually. The Snappers have a very interesting set of 19-year-olds.

11) Dave Freitas, C, Grade C+: Hitting .214/.285/.362 with nine homers, 20 walks, 39 strikeouts in 224 at-bats for Midland. Disappointing; I thought he was capable of better.

12) Ian Krol, LHP, Grade C+:
Traded to Washington Nationals; has been great in the major league pen so far, 2.12 ERA, 15/3 K/BB in 17 big league innings.

13) Chris Bostick, INF, Grade C:
Borderline C+: Hitting .297/.369/.497 with 13 homers, 21 steals, 40 walks, 84 strikeouts in 360 at-bats in Low-A. That really is an interesting lineup at Beloit. Stock way up for Bostick. Old man of the Snappers infield at age 20.

14) B.J. Boyd, OF, Grade C:
Borderline C+: Hitting .317/.380/.512 in 33 games for Vermont in the New York-Penn League. Sample is small but strong, matches scouting reports of high upside. Fourth round pick in 2012.

15) Shane Peterson, OF, Grade C:
Hitting .235/.343/.347 in 323 at-bats for Sacramento. He had a small window of opportunity after strong 2012 but it is closing quick at age 26.

16) Michael Taylor, OF, Grade C:
Hitting .312/.377/.534 with 15 homers, 28 walks, 60 strikeouts in 292 at-bats in Triple-A; went 1-for-23 in the majors. Buried here at age 27.

17) Arnold Leon, RHP, Grade C:
4.10 ERA, 64/15 K/BB in 97 innings, 113 hits between Double-A and Triple-A. Used as a starter this year but I think he's more of a relief type.

18) Michael Ynoa, RHP, Grade C: Effective at Beloit (2.14 ERA, 48/18 K/BB in 55 innings), but horrible at Stockton (18 hits, 18 runs in 9.2 innings). He's made progress but is still quite raw and lost development time shows.

19) B.A. Vollmuth, 3B, Grade C: Hitting .209/.296/.432 with 19 homers, 39 walks, 117 strikeouts in 340 at-bats for Stockton. He hit .337 in June but has been below .200 the rest of the year.

20) Drew Granier, RHP, Grade C: 3.31 ERA with 119/60 K/BB in 120 innings between High-A and Double-A. Walk rate has doubled since his promotion, so I wouldn't expect him in the majors soon.

16-20 were considered interchangeable with each other and several of the Grade Cs below, but I just picked a couple of youngsters I wanted to highlight plus a trio who could contribute in 2013.

OTHERS: Dakota Bacus, RHP; Josh Bowman, RHP; Bobby Crocker, OF; Conner Crumbliss, OF; Vicmel De La Cruz, OF; Ryan Doolittle, RHP; Kris Hall, RHP; Austin House, RHP; Jefry Marte, 3B; Bruce Maxwell, C-1B; Max Muncy, 1B; Chad Oberacker, OF; Stuart Pudenz, RHP; Seth Streich, RHP; Beau Taylor, C; T.J. Walz, RHP; Andrew Werner, LHP.


Interesting balance here between guys at Sacramento ready or nearly ready to help and a group of high-ceiling guys at Beloit (especially) and Stockton. If a trade gets made, which group does the other team show the most interest in?

Marte, Head, Taylor, and Freitas were all disappointing at Midland and overshadowed by older semi-prospects like Conner Crumbliss and Anthony Aliotti. Russell is the key guy at Stockton. I felt Max Muncy was a nice sleeper-type prospect but he was more than that, hitting 21 homers and drawing 64 walks there before his recent promotion to Midland; his stock is up but Double-A will test him and indeed, he's 7-for-41 so far.

The Beloit Snappers are 62-40 in the Midwest League and are doing it with genuine prospects; four of their eight regulars are 20 or younger and only one is older than 22. The '13 draft class adds a good balance of high school and college talent to the mix. Overall, despite some glitches I like what's going on in this system.

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