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Oakland Athletics Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

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Checking on the Oakland system

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Jesus Luzardo
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Oakland Athletics farm system.

This list was originally published December 20th, 2017 and updated March 14th, 2018




1) Franklin Barreto, INF, Grade A-/B+: Age 22, from Venezuela, hitting .254/.359/.515 with 17 homers, 39 walks, 100 strikeouts in 264 at-bats in Triple-A, .246/.270/.508 with four homers, one walk, 25 strikeouts in 61 major league at-bats; now past rookie limits with 132 career AB; power has developed nicely and he’s settled in well with the glove at second base, but OBP/patience is the issue now; given his age I am still optimistic about his future but the pre-season grade was a notch too high.

2) A.J. Puk, LHP, Grade A-/B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 from University of Florida; combined for 4.03 ERA in 125 innings between High-A and Double-A, 184/48 K/BB, just 108 hits allowed in 2017; out for all of 2018 with Tommy John.

3) Jorge Mateo, INF-OF, Grade B+: Age 23, from the Dominican Republic, acquired from New York Yankees in Sonny Gray trade; hitting .228/.272/.348 with three homers, 26 walks, 132 strikeouts, 23 steals in 448 at-bats in Triple-A; very disappointing season, still shows excellent speed, strong throwing arm, and good raw power potential but it looks like the progress he made with the strike zone in ’17 was an illusion; too toolsy to give up on but this grade was too high.

4) Dustin Fowler, OF, Grade B/B+: Age 23, drafted by Yankees in 18th round in 2013; came to Oakland in Gray deal; excellent in Triple-A at .347/.371/.534, hit .231/.260/.368 in 182 major league at-bats, seven walks, 42 strikeouts, now past rookie limits; he’s better than the MLB line and not as good as the AAA line; think he can hit .270/.310/.420 with higher spikes.

5) Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Grade B: Age 20, third round pick from high school in Florida by the Nationals in 2016, though he had just had Tommy John surgery; traded to Oakland in Sean Doolittle deal; breakthrough season, 2.88 ERA in 109 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with 129/30 K/BB, just 89 hits; elite pitching prospect, I’d give him an A- at least at this point and he will move to number one on the list for 2019.

6) Sheldon Neuse, 3B-SS, Grade B: Age 23, drafted by Washington Nationals in second round from University of Oklahoma in 2016, traded to Athletics in Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson deal; hitting .259/.303/.354 with five homers, 32 walks, 169 strikeouts in 478 at-bats in Triple-A; disappointing season with sharp power drop and problems against right-handed pitching; I need to look deeper into the reports as I work on the 2019 list to find out exactly what happened but big slippage in contact numbers, stock down.

7) Austin Beck, OF, Grade B: Age 19, first round pick in 2017 from high school in North Carolina; hitting .290/.331/.381 with two homers, 29 walks, 113 strikeouts in 465 at-bats in Low-A; plus speed, plus arm, plus raw power though swing doesn’t express it yet in games; needs better strike zone feel as well.

8) Grant Holmes, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 Josh Reddick/Rich Hill trade; out all year with injured rotator cuff.

9) Lazaro Armenteros, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of Cuba for $3,000,000; hitting .276/.377/.407 with eight homers, seven steals, 34 walks, 105 strikeouts in 268 at-bats in Low-A; some contact concerns but raw power and overall athleticism quite impressive; stock holding.

10) Sean Murphy, C, Grade B-: Age 23, third round pick in 2016 from Wright State University; missed part of season with broken hamate but effective when healthy and is now back in action, hitting .288/.357/.500 in Double-A in 250 at-bats; strong defense to go with the hitting; at this point I’m convinced he is real and the grade was too low, B+ territory now, number two on a 2019 list.

11) James Kaprielian, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, Yankees first round pick in 2015 out of UCLA, came over in the Sonny Gray trade, missed entire 2017 season with Tommy John surgery; still out of action although this time it was the shoulder.

12) Renato Nunez, 3B-OF, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, from Venezuela, claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers in April; then claimed on waivers by the Baltimore Orioles in May; hitting .297/.366/.432 in 229 at-bats in Triple-A this year, .238/.315/.367 in 147 major league at-bats; not much left he can learn in the minors, needs MLB at-bats to work out his approach against the best competition, still has attractive power upside.

13) Logan Shore, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, second round pick in 2016 from University of Florida; missed time with lat strain, 4.45 ERA in 91 innings between High-A and Double-A, 74/21 K/BB, 103 hits; I felt he was capable of better; Texas League observers lukewarm, stock down some.

14) Nick Allen, SS, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, third round pick in 2017 from high school in California, hitting .233/.298/.292 in Low-A, 24 steals, 34 walks, 82 strikeouts in 438 at-bats; fast, reliable glove, lots of hustle, lacks power, which was the expected profile.

15) Greg Deichmann, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 23, second round pick in 2017 out of Louisiana State University, hitting .222/.302/.422 with six homers, 20 walks, 63 strikeouts in 180 at-bats in High-A and rookie ball rehab, has missed most of the season with wrist injury; hasn’t looked quite right since coming back although he did hit two homers a couple of days ago; injury mulligan.

16) Kevin Merrell, INF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, compensation round pick in 2017 from University of South Florida; has missed much of season with injury; hitting .267/.308/.326 with five steals, 15 walks, 66 strikeouts in 270 at-bats in High-A; very low steal total despite being a 70-runner, OBP ability has also been less than anticipated.

17) Will Toffey, 3B, Grade C+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2017 from Vanderbilt, traded to New York Mets for Jeurys Familia in July, hitting .241/.371/.387 between High-A and Double-A, good strike zone judgment, solid glove, questions persist about power.

18) Heath Fillmyer, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2014 out of Mercer; traded to Kansas City Royals; 4.21 ERA in 51 major league inning, 30/25 K/BB; versatility is best attribute.

19) Oscar Tovar, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Venezuela in 2014, 2.19 ERA in 25 innings in New York-Penn League, 26/13 K/BB; long way off but has a good arm.

20) Daulton Jefferies, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, compensation round pick in 2016 from University of California, Tommy John recovery.


Nolan Blackwood, RHP; Traded to Detroit Tigers; 4.13 ERA in 57 innings in Double-A, 50/17 K/BB, relief option for 2019.

Skye Bolt, OF; Hitting .260/.349/.478 with 19 homers, 18 steals, 57 walks, 121 strikeouts in 439 at-bats in High-A/Double-A; power developing.

B.J. Boyd, OF; Hitting .274/.322/.351 in 368 at-bats in Triple-A; a tweener at this point.

Marcos Brito, INF; Hitting .244/.326/.290 in the NY-P, not much of a bat yet but just 18.

Alexander Campos, SS; .127/.250/.183 in rookie ball, hit .290/.413/.367 last year in the Dominican Summer League.

Dakota Chalmers, RHP; Traded to Minnesota Twins, has pitched just five innings due to mechanical issues, injuries

Ramon Laureano, OF; Very strong year, .297/.380/.524 in Triple-A, .283/.321/.491 in 53 major league at-bats; has always had some tools, put the hitting together with better approach this year, stock up into B range.

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics
Ramon Laureano
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Richie Martin, SS; .288/.358/.408 with 43 walks, 84 strikeouts, 22 steals in 431 at-bats in Double-A; improved hitting this year to go with reliable glove

Casey Meisner, RHP; Traded to St. Louis Cardinals; 3.58 ERA in 116 innings between High-A and Double-A, 85/46 K/BB, 99 hits; solid B-/C+ type.

Tyler Ramirez, OF; .278/.363/.419 in Double-A, 10 homers, 59 walks, 144 strikeouts; good glove man.

Jean Ruiz, RHP; 4.55 ERA in 115 innings in Low-A, 73/38 K/BB; not great statistically at this point but can throw strikes at least

Norge Ruiz, RHP; 4.88 ERA in 127 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 82/36 K/BB, 152 hits, dropping to C status.

Santis Sanchez, C; Just 18 at-bats in rookie ball with one hit.

Dalton Sawyer, LHP Injured


There was considerable churn here due to injuries and post-list trades. There’s a big disappointment with Mateo, a lesser one with Barreto though I still think he’ll pan out, and a nice breakthrough with Laureano. I was too conservative on Murphy. Jesus Luzardo is the best lefty prospect in the minors.

Thinking ahead to 2019, Luzardo will be at the top with Murphy second. 2018 draftees Kyler Murray, Jameson Hannah, and (probably) Jeremy Eierman will rank in the top ten. Right-handers Parker Dunshee, Wyatt Marks, and Brian Howard, plus infielder Eli White have all improved their stock significantly.