Top 20 PRE-SEASON Oakland Athletics Prospects in Review
This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with a Mario Ramos autographed baseball.
1) Daric Barton, 1B, Grade A-
Hit just .259/.389/.395 in 43 games for Triple-A Sacramento, with just two homers. Out since mid-May with a broken elbow. Given his age and previous track record, I'm not too worried about the weak Sacramento numbers, but the injury is certainly of concern.
2) Kevin Melillo, 2B, B+
Hitting .264/.333/.403 in 81 games for Double-A Midland. Certainly not spectacular compared to what he did last year, and I think I probably overrated him at least a little.
3) Javier Herrera, OF, B
Out with a torn elbow ligament. Won't play until next year.
4) Cliff Pennington, SS, B
Hit .203/.302/.277 in 46 games for Class A Stockton, one of the biggest disappointments in the minors this year.
5) Travis Buck, OF, B
.316/.383/.518 combined between Stockton and Midland, with 11 steals in 13 attempts. Not a ton of home run power, but 34 doubles already. Similar to Andre Ethier?
6) Danny Putnam, OF, B
Hitting just .217/.297/.335 in 43 games at Midland, limited by a knee injury.
7) Santiago Casilla, RHP, B
3.27 ERA in 25 games for Sacramento, 32/10 K/BB in 33 innings. Status the same as before: he has good stuff and if he throws strikes he should succeed, but can he throw strikes in the majors?
8) Craig Italiano, RHP, B
3.50 ERA in four starts for Kane County, 23/9 K/BB in 18 innings in April, hasn't pitched since. Sample too small to draw conclusions.
9) Shane Komine, RHP, B-
5.01 ERA in 15 starts for Sacramento, 78/29 K/BB in 92 innings, 106 hits allowed. Not horrible for the Pacific Coast League but hardly dominating. Has to do better than this to get a full shot in the majors.
10) Jimmy Shull, RHP, B-
Got into two games in April for Stockton then went on the DL.
11) Jared Lansford, RHP, B-
7-5, 3.76 in 12 starts for Class A Kane County, 29/30 K/BB in 65 innings. Poor K/BB ratio is a major negative.
12) Kurt Suzuki, OF, B-
Hitting .305/.410/.447 in 74 games for Midland. Outstanding on-base skills and some gap power, plus improved defense, have raised his stock.
13) Vincent Mazzaro, RHP, C+
7-6, 4.96 in 17 starts for Kane County, with a 51/29 K/BB in 82 innings. Component ratios are unimpressive, but at least he is healthy.
14) Richie Robnett, OF, C+
Hitting a combined .265/.357/.436 at three levels, most of it at Stockton. His plate discipline is improving, although his strikeout rate remains high. Breakout candidate for next year I think.
15) Dan Meyer, LHP, C+
3-3, 5.07 in 10 starts for Sacramento, currently sidelined with shoulder problems. I think he is finished as a top prospect, his dramatic fall a sobering reminder that even top-notch pitching prospects (which Meyer was 18 months ago) can collapse quickly due to health reasons.
16) Jared Burton, RHP, C+
3.45 ERA in 44 innings for Midland, 42/15 K/BB. Solid numbers, has a chance to help in middle relief eventually.
17) Jason Ray, RHP, C+
Combined 7-2, 3.40 between Kane County and Stockton, though the Stockton numbers (two starts) are weaker (9/8 K/BB in 11 innings, 5.73). Needs to improve his control.
18) Ramon Alvarado, OF, C+
Traded to the Indians for Kaz Tadano. Just activated from extended spring training and playing for Burlington in the Appy League.
19) John Rheinecker, LHP, C
Traded to Texas, is 4-2, 3.88 in eight starts for the Rangers, although he's allowed 60 hits in 46 innings with a 20/11 K/BB. I can't see his ERA staying that low until his components improve, but you have to respect what he's done so far.
20) Justin Sellers, SS, C
Hitting .249/.348/.340 for Kane County in 74 games, with 10 steals. Controlling the strike zone well but not much pop yet.
Injuries have been a major problem with this system this year. Buck and Suzuki are bright spots but overall there are more disappointments than positives.