Oakland Athletics 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update
UPDATE: The A's Top 30 has been updated to include moves made through the July 31 trade deadline.
After making the postseason last year, the Athletics find themselves once again fighting for playoff contention in a competitive AL West. Oakland is currently looking up at the Astros in the division race while battling several teams for the two AL wild card spots, but the A’s could use their farm system to acquire major league talent before the trade deadline.
In fact, the Athletics have already acquired righthander Homer Bailey from the Royals in exchange for infield prospect Kevin Merrill, and now it’s widely expected that Oakland will shift its attention toward looking for bullpen help. In addition, a power bat in the outfield or even a more consistent offensive presence behind the plate may help the A’s keep up with Houston down the stretch.
On the prospect side, Oakland has some intriguing pieces that could be moved. It’s safe to assume lefthanders Jesus Luzardo and AJ Puk would be off limits, but young outfielders Lazaro Armenteros, Austin Beck and Jameson Hannah could be available for a controllable bat. The Athletics are also flush with interesting young arms such as righthander Daulton Jefferies and Parker Dunshee, while Sean Murphy is viewed as the catcher of the future and doesn’t seem like a player that they would move.
1. Jesus Luzardo, LHP
Oakland’s top prospect has battled shoulder and lat issues all season. This year looks like it will largely be a lost one for the 21-year-old, who will likely need to spend time in the Arizona Fall League in order to build up more innings.
2. A.J. Puk, LHP
Puk is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent in April of 2018, appearing in short stints for Double-A Rockland and Triple-A Las Vegas. The lefthander figures to get some bullpen work late in the season for the Athletics.
3. Sean Murphy, C
Murphy’s bat is coming around nicely in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and his plus defensive skills should help him into a future everyday role in the big leagues.
4. Jorge Mateo, SS
Mateo’s athleticism and tools are beginning to shine, and the middle infielder has shown better instinctual play at Triple-A Las Vegas.
5. Austin Beck, OF
Beck’s five-tool profile has been on display in the high Class A California League, where he is hitting well and showing the ability to stick in center field with a plus arm strength and athleticism.
6. Lazaro Armenteros, OF
Armenteros’ strikeout rate has truly reached frightening levels in the California League this year. It’s hard for anyone to have success while striking out 42 percent of the time, but his tools are still loud, especially his plus-plus raw power.
7. Logan Davidson, SS
The 29th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Davidson is a power-hitting shortstop who is getting his start with short-season Vermont after a productive career at Clemson.
8. Sheldon Neuse, 3B
Neuse has shown offensive improvements in the Pacific Coast League this season thanks to a more patient approach at the plate.
9. Daulton Jefferies, RHP
Jefferies has continued his fine season since being promoted to Double-A Rockland, working with a mid-90s fastball and plus changeup.
10. Greg Deichmann, OF
11. Parker Dunshee, RHP
12. Brian Howard, RHP
13. Grant Holmes, RHP
14. Skye Bolt, OF
15. Luis Barrera, OF
16. Jeremy Eierman, SS/2B
17. Marcos Brito, 2B
18. Alfonso Rivas, 1B
19. Nick Allen, SS
20. Tyler Ramirez, OF
21. Gus Varland, RHP
22. Tyler Baum, RHP
23. Brady Feigl, RHP
24. Jordan Diaz, 3B
25. Jonah Heim, C
26. Miguel Romero, RHP
27. James Kaprielian, RHP
28. Hogan Harris, LHP
29. Kyle McCann, C
30. Drew Millas, C
Oakland Acquires Starling Marte From The Marlins In Exchange For Jesús Luzardo
The A's again signaled their willingness to compete this year, paying a rather high price to do so.
3B Sheldon Neuse is seeing a significant spike in his offensive output in his second go-around at the Triple-A level. Neuse has already doubled his home run production from last year and is getting on-base near a .400 clip.
RHP Grant Holmes is pitching much better against Double-A Texas League competition, working both as a reliever and starter. He has worked mostly in three-inning stints, recording to a 1.42 ERA in the month of June after a rough start to the season.
RHP James Kaprielian has returned to action after being sidelined since the 2016 campaign with Tommy John surgery and a subsequent shoulder injury, but his stuff hasn’t returned to his pre-injury form. He is building innings in the California League, where he has allowed nearly one hit per inning.
RHP Parker Dunshee has hit a bit of a speed bump in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, allowing 11 home runs in 78.1 innings. He throws a good amount of strikes, but his stuff hasn’t allowed him to work around trouble in the upper minors.
LHP Jesus Luzardo is back on the shelf with a lat strain that will keep him out of action for roughly a month.
C Sean Murphy is on the injured list for the next few weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee.
OF Austin Beck has been dealing with a quad issue that has kept him out of action since late June.
RHP James Kaprielian has returned to action after being sidelined since the 2016 campaign, but his velocity has not fully returned. In early outings, he’s often sitting 89-91 mph with his fastball.
OF Greg Deichmann recently went down with a shoulder injury that landed him on the injured list. While he is still showing some power in his game, Deichmann hasn’t improved his contact skills or on-base percentage enough to move up past Double-A.
INF Marcos Brito has been on the injured list since May 27, and he was hitting just .204/.262/.292 through 42 games with low Class A Beloit up until that point.
RHP J.B. Wendelken has worked sporadically as a reliever out of the Oakland bullpen these past few years, and he has seen even more innings this year. He’s made 21 appearances for the Athletics as of July 17, posting a 1-1, 4.56 record with 28 strikeouts in 25.2. innings.