Oakland Athletics 2020 Top 10 MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: Robert Puason (Photo by Bill Mitchell)



Adam (Boston):

     What are your thoughts on Seth Brown? He showed alot of promise in AAA and even did a decent job at the major league level. Do scouts think he is a major leaguer long term?

Emily Waldon: Scouts see enough for him to contribute, but some believe he’ll get edged out when some of the younger names work their way up. Like you said, he held his own, but struggled to translate that power he had in Triple-A. In the meantime, I think he adds some consistency, albeit not a profile to depend on much longer into the future.

Daryl W. (Fresno, CA):

     How much was this system hurt by the back-to-back Draft whiffs of Austin Beck and Kyler Murray? They passed on Jo Adell and Keston Huira to take Beck and Brady Singer and Nolan Gorman to gamble on Kyler choosing to play Baseball. As a small market team, they have to succeed on their Lottery picks, no?

Emily Waldon: They do have to succeed, I agree, but they’re as aware of this as anyone. It’s never easy to watch a name like Jo Adell develop the way he has, but something the A’s have done well, in my opinion, is target a nice collection of young possibilities, leaving them time to develop accordingly. Do these picks need to pan out? Absolutely. However, those lottery tickets appear to be coming along nicely.

Deiter (Twain Harte, CA):

     Am I correct in assuming that RHP James Kaprelian probably ranks 11th on this List? I’m shocked he did not make the Top 10 List. If his velocity come back, his ceiling as a Pitcher probably ranks only behind Luzardo and Puk.

Emily Waldon: I struggled with that one, knowing what he brings to the table, but his health really does cause concern. Scouts all seemed to agree, “Stuff is there, durability isn’t.” It’s tough to see health take such a toll on an arm like his and I’d be very happy if he proves me wrong down the road.

Monte (Sacrameton, CA):

     Will outfielder Brayan Buelvas make the Top 30 list? He is in the lower levels of the minors but still had a nice showing in the Arizona rookie league.

Emily Waldon: You’re making me cheat, Monte. You’re supposed to wait and see. Because you asked so nicely, yes. I did include him, partly for the very reason you mentioned. Although he’s still growing into his body, his speed, barrel command, and athleticism have scouts really impressed. Still a while before we see him at his full potential, but his current trend is really exciting.

Buford (Biloxi, MS):

     Been following Greg Deichmann’s career closely since he played for LSU. He had an outstanding Arizona Fall League and was wondering if he will be the A’s left fielder by 2021? Seems to me like he fits in nicely with Laureano in center and Piscotty in right field. Canha might be the DH by then if Khrush Davis gets moved in a trade.

Emily Waldon: I had the chance to watch Greg Deichmann up close at the Arizona Fall League and that muscle is as legitimate as everyone says. As with any power bat, Deichmann comes with his hefty share of swing-and-miss, but Oakland still likes the potential. Defensively, scouts believe he has enough to stick in right field long term and he proved that with some nice work during his time in Arizona.

Tim (SLC):

     Is there a big discrepancy in how the A’s view their system compare to how outsiders view it? There seems to be a long list of prospects that the A’s are high on that nationally don’t get much due (or a met with heavy skepticism). Neuse, Jefferies, Kaprielian, Holmes, Barrera and to a lesser extent Mateo come to mind. A’s being competitive and not swinging deals involving any of these guys seem to support that as well.

Emily Waldon: You find a common trend that teams aren’t going to go public with in-house frustrations behind the construction of their farm system. Billy Owens, for one, lights up about prospect talk. Every team is going to take an optimistic approach, but from Owens’ perspective, part of the fun is projecting players and getting to watch it play out. Oakland’s front office is very aware of the realities of where work is needed, but I believe the optimism surrounding their front-end prospects in very genuine.

Zach E (Los Angeles):

     Besides Pauson, does Brayan Buelvas have the most upside in the system?

Emily Waldon: Based on my research of the system, I would say yes. The A’s made it very clear by signing a $5.1 million check to solidify their belief in his development. With Buelvas, there is so much natural feel and athleticism, I believe, if handled correctly, they could have a special talent on their hands.

Bella (California):

     HI Emily. First of all, I really enjoy your work – keep it up. In your conversations with people in the organization, are they generally frustrated with Austin Beck’s development or are they optimistic that he’ll improve and perform to justify his high draft status? Thanks.

Emily Waldon: Thanks so much, Bella! No frustration was voiced to me on or off the record. All conversations leaned towards optimism, but also the reminder that despite someone’s draft position, players are still going to develop the way only they know how. Even though he has obvious work to do, the front office said he’s putting in the work to mature. The 2020 season should give a good idea of how that development is coming along and what we can expect from him moving forward.

BP (Aberdeen SD):

     What are the prospects for James Kaprielian this year & in the future? Obviously he has battled injuries for a few years, but he did seem to pitch well at the end of last season.

Emily Waldon: His finish was promising, no question. While that was the case, long term durability is still a concern. There aren’t any questions about his pitch mix, it’s more a matter of how well his body is going to hold out.

Jonathan (Waverly Oh):

     Is all Hope lost on laz and beck? Both seem to have dropped significantly and have struggles of their own.

Emily Waldon: I stray from saying “all hope” until we’re further down the road when it comes to prospects. Both have had challenges, yes, but the front office and development staff have acknowledged the areas they need work and doing their best to address them. They’re a good example of how much patience is required when it comes to proper development.

Fabio (Down West):

     Thanks for the chat. What are the chances of Kyler Murray double sportin’ it and showing up at Beloit or Stockton?

Emily Waldon: I appreciate your optimism, but I think its safe to say football has claimed him as their own. Watching guys as incredibly athletic as Kyler makes it fun to dream of his degree of success, but ultimately one sport’s fan base ends up disappointed when they eventually make their choice. Playing football AND baseball makes me exhausted just thinking about it.

Bob (Brantford):

     Is Grant Holmes a prospect or suspect at this point?

Emily Waldon: Prospect with an IF. Scouts get frustrated that his command is still an issue at times. So much so, that some believe he could lose out on a rotation spot if it continues. I think 2020 will tell a lot about his chances of sticking, based on how he performs during Spring Training.

Bill B (Glen Allen, VA):

     At the end of 2020, will James Kaprielian finally have a healthy year and end up in Oakland, even if as a 6th or 7th inning guy? Thanks

Emily Waldon: I think Oakland wants to see that become an option, but factoring in his track record, they could choose to play it safe, depending on what type of workload he carries during the regular season. I’d be a fan of that, just to give him a taste of facing that level of hitters.

George (CA):

     What is your opinion on Hogan Harris? Seems like a Top 10 organizational prospect if healthy next year.

Emily Waldon: To be realistic, I’d lean to Top 15 at best. This isn’t a knock against Harris, but more so a question of how his mix measures in with the other arms working up through the system. He’ll need to lean on his deception more than his velo and that deception will need to be sharp.

Jason L. (Tracy, CA):

     Can you tell us more about Dominican outfielder Pedro Pineda? I’m hearing his name linked to the A’s as a potential International signing in July, perhaps for upwards of $5M.Was hoping for a Scouting report on his skills. Or is this more of a Ben Badler type question?

Emily Waldon: I’d like to take a stab at this, but my conversations with international scouts about him have been limited. I’ll defer to Ben, who, as we all know gets all the juicy details. Great question, Jason!

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Although he is getting a little older, his defense has always been a positive and now it seems his bat has picked up, too. Is this the year catcher Jonah Heim makes it to the big show, if only for a bit?

Emily Waldon: Some scouts believe he’ll get that opportunity, while others aren’t completely sold. Heim made some improvements behind the plate during the 2019 season. The A’s would like to see him take on more of a leadership role with more urgency in his style of play and if those pieces come together, he could be in consideration for a look soon, although a long term Major League role is still up in the air.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC):

     What can you tell me about Brayan Buelvas. Is Luis Barrera the left handed bat the A’s are looking for? Many thanks.

Emily Waldon: He’s exciting and I’m jealous that Ben Badler gets the preview of these youngsters before the rest of us (Kidding, Ben…well, kind of). Buelvas doesn’t turn 18 until June and already drawing praise for the natural feel he possesses. He’s wiry, as you’d expect from a 17-year-old, but scouts believe his body will fill out and with that, they expect more muscle to follow. He’s a very sharp kid and absolutely one to be tracking over the next few years.

Jack (San Jose):

     What’s the long-term outlook on Seth Brown?

Emily Waldon: I think he’s a dependable addition to the lineup while some of the younger bats continue developing. With his age, the clock is obviously ticking, but if he’s able to bring that AAA power to Oakland, I believe that would buy him some job security.

James Kaprielian (Laguna Hills, CA):

     I’m a little surprised I didn’t make the list! How close was I to making it and was health the primary concern?

Emily Waldon: Oh, you made the list, James, never you fear. You’ll just have to order your copy of the Prospect Handbook to find out where. 😉

Jeff (Idaho):

     Mateo seemed to have a solid year in AAA. Has he improved his stock at all? Will he have a job at the major league level at some point in 2020? Do you see him as a big league regular?

Emily Waldon: I think Mateo’s speed makes him extremely attractive for Major League consideration, but to stick there, more of the pieces have to come together. Oakland has tried him out at multiple positions and while there are some occasional miscues at shortstop, his athleticism overshadows a good deal of that. At the end of the day, for Mateo to bring the greatest value, he has to be on base. There is potential for regularity, but to lock that in, he needs to mature both at the plate and in the field.

Phil Diggety (Oakland, CA):

     Jefferies at #4 is pretty high! Grant Holmes and James Kaprielian both finally had some health last year. Do they still have top of rotation upside?

Emily Waldon: Oakland believes in Jefferies and he submitted some pretty eye-popping numbers to generate confidence, including 0.9 walks per nine innings over 64 innings during the regular season. With Holmes, the question comes down to how consistent he’s able to keep his command and that will decide if his role will stick in the rotation or move to relief. For Kaprielian, he has to prove he can stay consistently healthy. The resume speaks for itself, but if his body can’t keep up, we’ll struggle to ever see what he capable of.

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