Yesterday the Oakland Athletics promoted outfield prospect Ramon Laureano to the major league roster. A reader asked me for an updated take, so let’s do that.
Laureano is from the Dominican Republic but went to college at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which made him eligible for the baseball draft. The Houston Astros selected him in the 16th round in 2014. His breakout came in 2016 when he hit .319/.428/.528 between High-A and Double-A.
The last full report I did on Laureano was on the Houston Astros Top 20 Prospects list for 2017, as thus:
7) Ramon Laureano, OF, Grade B-/B: Age 22, originally from Dominican Republic, drafted in 16th round in 2014 from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College; hit combined .319/.428/.528 with 15 homers, 70 walks, 43 steals in 417 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; he continued to mash after his promotion so this cannot be written off as a Cal League illusion, especially given his excellent strike zone judgment; combines OBP ability with 60-grade speed and gap power; also a very good defensive outfielder; not as well-known as Derek Fisher and Teoscar Hernandez, but is younger, has outperformed them, and has no lack of tools himself. ETA 2018.
Alas, Laureano had a poor 2017 season, hitting just .227/.298/.369 in the Double-A Texas League for Corpus Christi. He was traded on November 20th, 2017, to the Oakland Athletics for Brandon Bailey.
I had Laureano rated as a Grade C+ prospect entering 2018. He fell outside the Oakland Athletics Top 20 pre-season prospects, but would have been somewhere in the 21-30 range.
His 2018 season has been quite successful: .297/.380/.524 with 14 homers, 11 steals, 31 walks, and 70 strikeouts in 246 at-bats for Nashville in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Yes, it’s the PCL, but Nashville is a pitcher’s park and I think the rebound is real.
Laureano is 24 years old, a right-handed hitter and thrower listed at 5-11, 185. His best physical tool is actually his throwing arm; he’s a plus runner as well and the combo makes him a viable center fielder and a true asset in right.
Offensively, the main difference between 2017 and 2018 seems to be his approach, as he got away from his previously-strong plate discipline in ‘17 and tended to jump at stuff outside the zone. He’s been more selective this year but without losing positive aggressiveness and he’s been hitting the ball in the air more often too.
Overall, he’s regained his lost stock and is back in the B-ish prospect range.