2013 Oakland Athletics Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jim Shonerd




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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.

Jim Shonerd: Happy Friday, everyone. Let's talk A's prospects.

    John (Lakewood, CA): What do you think of BJ Boyd? Also where do you have him listed on the top 30 prospects?

Jim Shonerd: Boyd's got work to do, but there's potential there. You can think of him as raw given his two-sport background, he's got instincts for the game and can be a future leadoff hitter. The A's did have to give his swing a makeover though, as they'd like him to starting turning on more balls. You'll see him in the Handbook.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Michael Taylor - prospect or suspect at this point?

Jim Shonerd: Can I say somewhere in between? Officially, he's still a prospect and he'll be in the Handbook. But he'll probably never hit for the kind of power his physical frame suggests. It's just not in his approach. He went back to emphasizing line drives this year, and he puts together enough quality at-bats that I think he can play in the majors. But the A's outfield situation is getting such that I think he'd have a better chance of sticking in the majors with another team.

    Sammy (DC): Who are you higher on between Renato Nunez and Vicmal de la Cruz, and why?

Jim Shonerd: Nunez. The A's found this year that de la Cruz needed glasses, which was the big reason behind his down year in the AZL. He does have some skills in his quick bat and ability to hit different pitches, but he's got a ways to go. Nunez has more potential to be an impact bat. He has power and did a good job this year of showing he could shorten his swing when needed and showed a feel for hitting. His defense does need work though.

    Kelly (Saint Cloud, MN): Is Bobby Crocker amongst your top 30? Could he be a potential 5-tooler?

Jim Shonerd: Bit of an underwhelming year (.268/.347/.369 with 6 HRs), but he'll still be in the Handbook as well. Writing up Crocker felt a lot like Michael Taylor, in that he's a physical guy who they're trying to get to tap into his raw power more. Crocker also is geared to go the other way, and they really worked on his swing in instructs. Not quite a five-tool guy. Arm is below-average, but the rest have the potential to be solid.

    craig (hattiesburg,ms): Did BA vollmuth get any consideration for the list? He was #9 last year. thanks for the chat

Jim Shonerd: Kinda like Crocker, Vollmuth's season (.261/.336/.405 with 14 homers between two levels) wasn't what you'd expect for a guy whose bat is supposed to carry him. He does have good raw power and shows he can use the middle of the field, but he's streaky and struggles with breaking pitches. He fits the profile corner guy but will have to prove himself against quality pitching.

    dan shaw (burlington,vt): Ive read alot of positive scouting reports on Chris Bostick and was impressed seeing him in person this season. Was he close to making the list at all?

Jim Shonerd: Bostick wasn't that close to the top 10, but he's in the top 30 and is definitely a guy the A's are excited about. He moved across to second base in deference to Addison Russell, and the A's think Bostick can play anywhere in the infield. There's enough in the bat though for him to be more than a utility guy. Good swing with sneaky power, though he needs to focus more on hitting line drives instead of lofting balls in the air.

    Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Who is your Sleeper pick for 2013 ??? How about Burlington RHP Drew Granier? He had almost as many Strikeouts as Dan Straily this year. Granted, he was a bit old for A-Ball, but is he someone worth keeping an eye on? Did he come close to making the Top 10 List ?

Jim Shonerd: Granier wasn't very close to the Top 10, but he's worth keeping an eye on. Pitching all year in low A Burlington, he did indeed have the second-most strikeouts in the organization behind Straily. Nothing blows you away, but he's got a four-pitch mix, throws strikes and repeats his delivery. His fastball can range from the high 80s to the low 90s at times, and he gets movement on both it and his changeup. His curve and slider are decent as well. Again, nothing that wows you but he's a guy that can get to the upper minors and then we'll see what happens.

    Rich (NJ): Can you please Max Stassi's potential and ETA. Thanks,

Jim Shonerd: With Stassi, it's all about whether his health holds up. He has a simple swing and the quality of his at-bats has gotten better, to go along with his decent power potential. The defensive ability still gets high marks, as it has all along. He'll go to Midland this year and if there are no more health setbacks, I could see him getting a mid-2014 callup to the majors.

    Robert Wagner, MD (Alameda, CA): Any buzz on Nolan Sanburn, who signed late? I hear he touches 97.

Jim Shonerd: Plenty of buzz. I like Sanburn a lot, and so do the A's. It was down to the wire as to whether he would make the top 10. We ultimately left him off since he still has to prove himself as a starter, but the stuff is very much there. Four-pitch mix with two plus pitches in his fastball (which can touch 99) and curveball. Improving his command and being more efficient will be key.

    Al (NYC): Should there be any concern about Choice's relative lack of HR power he showed in AA this year? I realize power is probably his best tool, and when he connects, the ball goes very far....but just 10 HRs in almost 400 PA has me a little worried he might become of those hitters who has great raw power that, for whatever reason, just doesn't carry over into games.

Jim Shonerd: Sure, you can have a little concern over whether the pitch recognition will allow it to play in games, but I'm confident enough he can get it there. I'd attribute the drop in power mainly to all the adjustments he was going through with his swing. He hit four homers in 16 games in July before going down with the hand injury, so it was coming around.

    Norm C (Connecticut): Hey Jim, Did Dakota Bacus make an impression with scouts?

Jim Shonerd: There's potential there for the A's 9th-rounder from Indiana State. Fastball is around 91-92 and can touch higher, and he gets good sink on his changeup. His mechanics do need work, but he's got a chance to be a back-end guy.

    Bruce P. (Portland, OR): Hey Jim, What is the assessment of a couple of college players taken early in the draft's second day this past year— Max Muncy and Seth Streich?

Jim Shonerd: I think Streich, the righthander from Ohio, has a little higher upside than Muncy, the first baseman from Baylor, but Muncy's a safer bet. Muncy has an outstanding batting eye and short swing, but the problem is whether he can hit for enough power. Streich has an easy delivery and low 90s fastball. His curveball and changeup have the potential to be nice weapons and make him a mid-rotation starter, but they have more work to do.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): What's the book on LHP Ian Kroll at this point?

Jim Shonerd: Krol made it to Double-A as a reliever this year and he'll likely stay in that role. He doesn't have a plus fastball, but its velocity picked up into the low 90s out of the bullpen and he was able to mix his fastball and curve effectively. His command isn't there yet though.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Here's the $4.25 million dollar question, Jim - why did the A's protect Michael Ynoa on their 40-man? Does he still reside in your top 30, and is he officially no longer the same guy they signed four years ago?

Jim Shonerd: Ah, Ynoa. Plenty of Ynoa questions in the queue, an A's chat tradition. Considering the investment they made in him, I think the A's just didn't want to take any chances. And yes, the potential is still there. He was up to 95 mph by the end of instructs with a sharp curveball.. He's working on his fastball command and his changeup, but the biggest thing about his season was just getting through it healthy.

    Grant (NYC): How did Straily lead the minors in strikeouts if he is in fact only the fourth best arm in their system?

Jim Shonerd: Straily's success was more about pitchability than stuff. That doesn't mean he's not a good prospect, but the guys ahead of him have higher upsides. We'll see what adjustments guys make against him this year, but he can last a long time as a reliable mid- or back-of-the-rotation starter.

    Rich (Oakland): Jim, wondering your thoughts on power hitting high A OFers Dusty Robinson and Josh Whitaker. Thanks

Jim Shonerd: Whitaker has tools, namely plus power potential with average speed and arm strength. But scouts worry about how well he can adjust to breaking pitches, and they have concerns about Robinson's swing as well, particularly how he struggles with pitches away from him.

    Dan (NYC): What happened to Raul Alcantara this year? Is he still a prospect?

Jim Shonerd: He's definitely still a prospect. The arm strength is still there, but he really needed to hone his fastball command and his changeup this year. His slider looked great in instructional league, so if the other pieces fall into place, he can be a quality starter. The other problem he had this year was he tended to get down on himself when things went wrong, so the team has been on him about showing more mental toughness.

    Joey (Oakland, California): Any catchers in the system who are possible major leaguers?

Jim Shonerd: Touched on Stassi already, but the another one to watch in Beau Taylor, who made it to Midland in his first full season after being a fifth-rounder in 2011. He doesn't have a lot of power, but he's another lefty-swinging catcher and has a knack for barreling balls. His defense is behind his bat though.

    Ty (Baltimore, MD): How many of these guys are top 100 worthy?

Jim Shonerd: Could see as many as seven, I believe. The top four are locks for me and Gray should be there. Straily and Head aren't guarantees but will be in the conversation.

    Tyler (Albuquerque): What are your thoughts on Austin House? Do you see him profiling as a starter or a reliever and was he close to your top 10?

Jim Shonerd: He'll likely go back to starting next year, which he did in college at New Mexico. House used to use two different arm angles, but the A's have gotten him to stick with just throwing over the top. His fastball and changeup are there, but he'll have to develop his slurvy breaking ball though if he's going to stick as a starter. Command is another issue, though focusing on only using one arm angle should help him hone it.

    Jon (Chicago): Do you think Bruce Maxwell can remain at catcher and do you think he has the potential to be on this top 10 list a year from now?

Jim Shonerd: Maxwell would make for a very intriguing prospect if the can make it as a catcher, but the A's really had to work over his defense in instructs after he allowed 18 passed balls in the New York-Penn League. He has enough power in his bat that he could profile at first base if he has to go there, but his value as a lefty-hitting catcher with power would be significantly higher than as a first baseman.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): What was it about the CAL league that gave A.J. Cole such fits last year? He was dominant after going back down to the Midwest League, but this can't all be CAL factor can it? What's the scoop here?

Jim Shonerd: The A's gave a lot of credit to John Wasdin, his pitching coach with low A Burlington, for getting Cole's mechanics straightened out. He wasn't commanding the ball in Stockton, and he also learned the value of his changeup. He wasn't able to get by on just two pitches against high A hitters.

    Wendy (Oakland, CA): Is Kris Hall someone for us A's faithful to keep an eye out for?

Jim Shonerd: Hall, the A's 8th-round pick from NAIA Lee (Tenn.) this year, has an intriguing power arm. He was up to 94-95, though his stuff fell off at the end of the college season. He could make for a good power reliever with his big fastball and promising slider, but the A's will try him as a starter. The A's worked on straightening his mechanics out a bit and he did a good job of being around the plate.

Jim Shonerd: Well, it's nearly 5 p.m. here on the East Coast, so I'm going to wrap things up. Thanks for your support of BA and be sure to come back on Monday as Conor Glassey chats Mariners.