2018 Oakland Athletics Top 10 Prospects
|Athletics Top 10 Prospects|
|1. A.J. Puk, LHP|
|2. Franklin Barreto, SS/2B|
|3. Jorge Mateo, SS/OF|
|4. Dustin Fowler, OF|
|5. Jesus Luzardo, LHP|
|6. Austin Beck, OF|
|7. Sean Murphy, C|
|8. James Kaprielian, RHP|
|9. Lazaro Armenteros, OF|
|10. Logan Shore, RHP|
For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.
To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.
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SYSTEM OVERVIEWStrengths: The Athletics have amassed an impressive group of up-the-middle talent. Jorge Mateo, Franklin Barreto and Dustin Fowler, all acquired in trades, give Oakland a promising middle-infield combo and center fielder of the future, while Sean Murphy is one of baseball’s top catching prospects. 2017 draftees Austin Beck, Kevin Merrell and Nick Allen and trade acquisition Alexander Campos give the A’s further middle-of-the-diamond depth at the lower levels.
Weaknesses: The Athletics’ top tier of pitchers comes with an alarming injury history. Jesus Luzardo, James Kaprielian and Daulton Jefferies all have Tommy John surgery on their ledgers, while Logan Shore missed a big chunk of 2017 with a lat strain. Just two—A.J. Puk and Grant Holmes—of Oakland’s top six pitching prospects have thrown more than 81 innings in a season.
BEST TOOLS🔸Best Hitter for Average: Sheldon Neuse. 🔸Best Power Hitter: Renato Nunez. 🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Will Toffey. 🔸Fastest Baserunner: Jorge Mateo. 🔸Best Athlete: Jorge Mateo. 🔸Best Fastball: Frankie Montas. 🔸Best Curveball: Grant Holmes. 🔸Best Slider: A.J. Puk. 🔸Best Changeup: Logan Shore. 🔸Best Control: Logan Shore. 🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Sean Murphy. 🔸Best Defensive INF: Nick Allen. 🔸Best INF Arm: Eric Marinez. 🔸Best Defensive OF: Tyler Ramirez. 🔸Best OF Arm: Skye Bolt.
PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP
(Listed with 2021 season age)🔸C Sean Murphy (26) 🔸1B Matt Olson (27) 🔸2B Franklin Barreto (25) 🔸3B Matt Chapman (28) 🔸SS Jorge Mateo (26) 🔸LF Lazaro Armenteros (22) 🔸CF Dustin Fowler (26) 🔸RF Chad Pinder (29) 🔸DH Khris Davis (33) 🔸SP A.J. Puk (26) 🔸SP Sean Manaea (29) 🔸SP Jesus Luzardo (23) 🔸SP James Kaprielian (27) 🔸SP Logan Shore (26) 🔸CL Daulton Jefferies (25)
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: 1B Daric Barton (Mexican League) | WAR: 9.1 🔸2009: LHP Brett Anderson (Blue Jays) | WAR: 6.7 🔸2010: OF/1B Chris Carter (Athletics) | WAR: 2.4 🔸2011: SS Grant Green (Marlins) | WAR: -1.6 🔸2012: RHP Jarrod Parker (Did Not Play) | WAR: 6.1 🔸2013: SS Addison Russell (Cubs) | WAR: 10.0 🔸2014: SS Addison Russell (Cubs) | WAR: ** 🔸2015: SS Daniel Robertson (Rays) | WAR: 0.6 🔸2016: SS Franklin Barreto (Athletics) | Top 10 🔸2017: SS/2B Franklin Barreto (Athletics) | Top 10
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: 2B Jemile Weeks (Cubs) | WAR: 1.1 🔸2009: SS Grant Green (Marlins) | WAR: -1.6 🔸2010: OF Michael Choice (Korea) | WAR: -2.0 🔸2011: RHP Sonny Gray (Yankees) | WAR: 12.4 🔸2012: SS Addison Russell (Cubs) | WAR: 10.0 🔸2013: OF Billy McKinney (Yankees) | WAR: N/A 🔸2014: 3B Matt Chapman (Athletics) | WAR: 3.6 🔸2015: SS Richie Martin (Athletics) | WAR: N/A 🔸2016: LHP A.J. Puk (Athletics) | Top 10 🔸2017: OF Austin Beck (Athletics) | Top 10
|1. A.J. Puk, LHP 📹|
|BORN: April 25, 1995|
|B-T: L-L| HT: 6-7 | WT: 220|
|DRAFTED: Florida, 2016 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Trevor Schaffer.|
|MINORS (2 teams): 6-10, 4.03 ERA | 184 SO | 48 BB | 125 IP|
Scouting Report: Puk’s raw stuff has never been questioned. His fastball resides comfortably at 93-96 mph and can reach 98. His vicious side-to-side slider grades easily as plus and his changeup has developed into an potentially above-average pitch. Control has long been an issue, but A’s minor league pitching instructor Gil Patterson helped Puk streamline his delivery, focusing mainly on his front leg. The altered motion produced a more consistent release point. With his 6-foot-7 height, Puk gets a pronounced downward angle in his delivery, which can make him both effective and intimidating. He gets a high percentage of swings and misses with all of his pitches. His stuff, competitiveness and pitching sense are all assets. So is his receptiveness to coaching. Over the past two years, the A’s have arranged to have Randy Johnson and Al Leiter—two elite lefthanders in their day—give Puk advice.
🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale: Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 45.The Future: The A’s project to have at least two, and perhaps three, rotation spots open in 2018. Puk has a shot at nailing down one of those by the end of the season. He’s still just 22 and has fewer than 160 minor league innings under his belt, so a few months at Triple-A Nashville to begin the season is likely. In any event, Puk projects as a front-of-the-rotation starter as long as he keeps his newfound control intact. If he doesn’t, he can perhaps serve the club as an elite reliever in the mold of Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman.
|2. Franklin Barreto, SS/2B 📹|
|BORN: Feb. 27, 1996|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 5-10| WT: 190|
|SIGNED: Venezuela, 2012.|
|SIGNED BY: Ismael Cruz/Luis Martinez (Blue Jays).|
|MINORS: .290/.339/.456 | 15 HR | 15 SB | 469 AB|
Scouting Report: Barreto had two stints in the majors in 2017 and went just 14-for-71 (.197) thanks to a 43 percent strikeout rate. His minor league strikeout rate spiked from 18 percent at Double-A in 2016 to 28 percent at Triple-A in 2017. A natural shortstop, Barreto has spent time at second base in the minors and majors. He has the arm and range to play shortstop in the bigs but is better suited for second because his arm at short can be a little erratic. As a hitter, he uses the whole field and has more power than you’d expect from his stature, though he needs to make more contact. His plus speed makes him a base-stealing threat.
The Future: Oakland has several promising middle infielders in the organization, but Barreto remains at the top of the list. If he can become a bit more polished, he can be a first-division regular at second base.
|3. Jorge Mateo, SS/OF 📹|
|BORN: June 23, 1995|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-0 | WT: 190|
|SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2012.|
|SIGNED BY: Juan Rosario (Yankees).|
|MINORS (3 teams): .267/.322/.459 | 12 HR | 52 BB | 532 AB|
Scouting Report: Mateo’s development seemed to stall after he was sent back to high Class A Tampa in 2017. But a promotion to Double-A Trenton seemed to spur him to new heights and he was traded just more than a month later. Though the A’s used Mateo exclusively as a shortstop in his stint at Double-A Midland, he played some second base and center field in the Yankees’ system. Mateo needs to make more consistent contact to best use his legs and sneaky power. He struck out 25 percent of the time in 2017. Because Mateo hasn’t played above Double-A, he figures to begin 2018 at Triple-A Nashville.
The Future: Whether Mateo ultimately stays at shortstop or moves to second or the outfield, he has the speed and arm to thrive in any spot. If he cuts his strikeout rate, he can become an above-average major leaguer with the potential to steal 40-plus bases and hit 15 homers per season.
|4. Dustin Fowler, OF|
|BORN: Dec. 29, 1994|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-0 | WT: 195|
|DRAFTED: HS—Dexter, Ga., 2013 (18th round).|
|SIGNED BY: Darryl Monroe (Yankees).|
|MINORS: .293/.329/.542 | 13 HR | 13 SB | 297 AB|
Scouting Report: Fowler had made strong progress through the Yankees’ system, including a Double-A season in 2016 with 30 doubles, 15 triples, 12 homers and 25 stolen bases. Fowler’s combination of speed and power gives him a chance to become an impact player. He has played the corner outfield spots but figures to stick in center given his range and solid arm. His plus speed makes him a basestealing threat, but he could improve his success rate. Fowler’s recovery went as planned through the fall, and he is expected to be ready for spring training.
The Future: Fowler should have every opportunity to become the Athletics’ starting center fielder in 2018, but how well he recovers will play a factor. If he is not quite ready, he will begin the season at Triple-A Nashville.
|5. Jesus Luzardo, LHP 📹|
|BORN: Sept. 30, 1997|
|B-T: L-L. | HT: 6-1 | WT: 205|
|DRAFTED: HS—Parkland, Fla., 2016 (3rd round).|
|SIGNED BY: Alex Morales (Nationals).|
|MINORS (3 teams): 2-1, 1.66 ERA | 48 SO | 5 BB | 43 IP|
Scouting Report: Luzardo pitched in just three Rookie-level Gulf Coast League games in 2017 before Washington sent him to the Athletics in a deal for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Luzardo’s abbreviated 2017 season was impressive: a combined 1.66 ERA in 43.1 innings, with 48 strikeouts and five walks. Luzardo can reach 97 mph with his fastball and has solid command of his curveball. He’s developing a changeup that is already seen as above-average by some scouts. He has a simple arm stroke and a repeatable delivery. He appears to understand the art of pitching quite well for someone who’s a mere 20 years old.
The Future: Considering Luzardo hasn’t pitched above short-season ball, he remains many years away from the big leagues. But also considering his tools and his refined skills at such a young age, he has the potential to rise to the level of a solid No. 3 starter or better in the not-so-distant future.
|6. Austin Beck, OF 📹|
|BORN: Nov. 21, 1998|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-1 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: HS—Lexington, N.C., 2017 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Neil Avent.|
|MINORS: .211/.293/.349 | 2 HR | 7 SB | 152 AB|
Scouting Report: Beck didn’t enjoy much success in the Rookie-level Arizona League after signing, hitting .211 with a 29 percent strikeout rate. He lacks polish at the plate, but the A’s love his combination of bat speed and plus raw power. He has the plus speed to play center field and be a threat on the basepaths. His plus arm rounds out an enticing profile. For all his tools, Beck’s stint in the AZL revealed a tendency to chase pitches, and he’ll need to improve his plate discipline significantly as he moves through the system.
The Future: Beck figures to begin 2018 in either extended spring training or at low Class A Beloit, depending on his camp performance. An explosive, strong athlete, he has the ability become a mainstay in the Oakland outfield, but only if he can lock in his plate discipline to fulfill his power potential.
|7. Sean Murphy, C 📹|
|BORN: Oct. 10, 1994|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-3 | WT: 215|
|DRAFTED: Wright State, 2016 (3rd round).|
|SIGNED BY: Rich Sparks.|
|MINORS (2 teams): .250/.313/.410 | 13 HR | 0 SB | 356 AB|
Scouting Report: Murphy mashed in the high Class A California League in 2017 before his offensive numbers dipped when he reached Double-A Midland, but offense isn’t his calling card. His defense is primarily what earned him his promotion and will probably define him as he progresses. Murphy’s arm is easily plus-plus. He knows how to call a game and is a plus receiver and blocker. Murphy has a simple swing with not much of a load, but he uses his brute strength to bash the ball up the middle and to his pull side. He doesn’t project as much more than a fringe-average hitter, but his power could improve as he incorporate his lower half.
The Future: Murphy is set to return to Double-A in 2018, and he’ll need to show he can stay healthy for a full season and make the necessary offensive adjustments.
|8. James Kaprielian, RHP 📹|
|BORN: March 2, 1994|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-4 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: UCLA, 2015 (1st round)|
|SIGNED BY: Bobby DeJardin (Yankees).|
|MINORS: Did Not Pitch -- Injured|
Scouting Report: Kaprielian’s stats in the minors are impressive: 18 hits allowed in 29.1 innings, with 36 strikeouts and seven walks. Considering he has missed the bulk of the past two seasons and probably won’t be ready for the start of 2018, a scouting report on Kaprielian should be taken with several grains of salt. When healthy, he employs a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can reach the high 90s. He complements his heater with a deep arsenal of a curveball, slider and changeup that all flash above-average. He’s not afraid to attack the strike zone.
The Future: Kaprielian is targeting an early summer return to the mound in 2018 and is in line to begin his Athletics career at Double-A Midland. His fastball, stuff and competitiveness give him a No. 3 starter projection, but staying healthy is the first step he needs to master.
|9. Lazaro Armenteros, OF 📹|
|BORN: May 22, 1999|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-0 | WT: 182|
|SIGNED: Cuba, 2016.|
|SIGNED BY: Juan de la Cruz.|
|MINORS (2 teams): .276/.377/.443 | 4 HR | 12 SB | 174 AB|
Scouting Report: As an 18-year-old in the AZL Armenteros more than held his own, with a .288 average, 17 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases in 41 games. One member of the organization likened Armenteros’ body to that of a young Andre Dawson. He probably will fill out his body in the next couple of years. He shows feel to hit and his above-average power is real and could grow as his body does. Defensively, he already plays an outfield corner, and is limited to left because his well below-average arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. He is still learning some of the cultural nuances of pro ball in the U.S. Armenteros will probably begin 2018 at low Class A Beloit. His idol is former A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
The Future: If Armenteros progresses the way Oakland officials believe he can, he could have a big league career worthy of his idol, offensively at least.
|10. Logan Shore, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Dec. 28, 1994|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 215|
|DRAFTED: Florida, 2016 (2nd round).|
|SIGNED BY: Trevor Schaffer.|
|MINORS (2 teams): 2-5, 3.68 ERA | 87 SO | 16 BB | 81 IP|
Scouting Report: After a solid showing at short-season Vermont in 2016, Shore advanced to high Class A Stockton in 2017. A lat strain sidelined him for nearly two months. After Shore returned to the Ports, he struggled in his first four appearances before regaining his form for the final four outings. Shore’s fastball sits on average in the 92-94 mph range. What separates him is a changeup that flashes plus and excellent control. How well Shore develops his fringy slider might determine how soon he can reach the big leagues, and how effective he’ll be once he gets there. He will start 2018 at Double-A Midland.
The Future: Shore doesn’t have the same upside as system-mates Puk or James Kaprielian, but his polish and intensity give him a chance to be a back-end starter.
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