Oakland Athletics Prospects: 2024 Midseason Top 30 Update


Buoyed by Jacob Wilson’s incredible start to the 2024 season, the A’s system is showing signs of progress. 

Wilson’s otherworldly contact skills have held up so far, especially on balls in the strike zone. The shortstop hit .411 through 272 professional plate appearances and surged into the top 20 of Baseball America’s Top 100. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Wilson in Oakland by the end of the season. 

Henry Bolte and Colby Thomas, both tabbed as breakout prospects prior to the season, have taken sizable steps forward, as well. And while the trade returns following Oakland’s teardown at the turn of the decade still seem light, the return of better health and performance for J.T. Ginn and Gunnar Hoglund so far certainly helps. 

Those gains give Oakland’s system a fuller feeling. The A’s have three Top 100 Prospects—with Thomas not far off—and will soon add another picking fourth in the 2024 MLB Draft. And this is after graduating Mason Miller—a candidate for American League Rookie of the Year—and Tyler Soderstrom earlier this season. 

Baseball America subscribers can see the full updated A’s Top 30 here. Notable risers, fallers, new additions and injury updates are below.

Notable Risers

Henry Bolte, OF

Bolte is one of the minors’ most productive hitters so far and earned a promotion to Double-A Midland on July 1. That’s a rather remarkable feat considering the A’s spent considerable time revamping his swing after they drafted him in 2022. They even held him back in extended spring training just a year ago until he learned to better handle premium velocity. The 20-year-old has premium power, shows speed and makes solid swing decisions. There’s still plenty of in-zone whiff—and too many ground balls—but Bolte has shown aptitude for quick improvement. The next step is seeing how the hit tool holds up against upper-level breaking stuff. 

Colby Thomas, OF

Thomas is one of the most aggressive swingers in the A’s system. He swings early and often in search of impact, preferably to the pull side. Even so, the 23-year-old chopped his strikeout rate by over 10% in his first taste of the upper minors with Double-A Midland before a promotion to Las Vegas on June 19. Thomas has plus power, plus speed and is one of the better corner outfielders in the minors, although he’s predominantly playing left field. The A’s would like to see more walks and less chase, especially on sliders away, but Thomas is trending in the right direction. 

Will Simpson, 1B

Simpson has a tough profile as a righthanded first baseman, but he hits the ball hard to all fields at good angles and has done a good enough job curtailing his strikeouts so that he can make a pretty consistent impact. Interestingly, he has played a bit of third base for the first time this season and has some experience in the outfield collegiately. A 15th round pick in 2023, Simpson has already exceeded expectations and feels like the kind of prospect A’s player development does a good job coaxing more from. 

Notable Fallers

Myles Naylor, SS

Naylor’s swing decisions have left plenty to be desired so far as a pro. He struck out 32.4% of the time through 67 games in a return to Low-A Stockton. Some growing pains were expected for the 19-year-old younger brother of Josh and Bo Naylor, but he still has plenty of raw power and is playing better-than-expected shortstop defense despite his larger frame. Still, Naylor gets himself out far too frequently by chasing outside of the zone or failing to make contact on hittable pitches within it. 

Ryan Cusick, RHP

The Braves’ first-round pick in 2021 and one of the pieces in the Matt Olson trade, Cusick has again bounced between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas when healthy. He still has a lively mid-90s fastball and slider combination, but his command hasn’t caught up. The 24-year-old’s best path to the majors looks increasingly like it will be as a reliever.

Cole Miller, RHP

The A’s liked Miller enough to give him a $1 million bonus in the fourth round last year to forgo a UCLA commitment and were intrigued by the early returns once he arrived in their system. They will have to wait until at least 2025 to see him in a game, though, as he underwent Tommy John surgery this spring. 

New Additions

18. J.T. Ginn, RHP

BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

Track Record: Ginn made it to Mississippi State despite being drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2018, then signed for $2.9 million in the second round with the Mets two years later. The A’s acquired him in 2022 in exchange for Chris Bassitt, but injuries limited Ginn’s impact over the next two years. Healthy again in 2024 outside of a brief blister issue, Ginn has improved his strikeout rate while pitching his way to Triple-A Las Vegas. 

Scouting Report: Ginn’s stuff and strike-throwing has fully returned after throwing less than 30 innings in all of 2023. The groundball-oriented righthander relies primarily on his sinker, but both variations of his fastball average 93 mph and have touched 96. He’s added more sweep to his mid-80s slider, which has emerged as his best swing-and-miss offering. He’s plenty capable of landing it in the zone, as well. Ginn’s upper-80s changeup flashes plus shape as well, although his trust in the combo wavers start to start. The competitive Ginn works predominantly out of the stretch from the first base side of the rubber. 

The Future: The 25-year-old can be a bit streaky, but Ginn has restored faith he can reach a ceiling of at least a back-of-the-rotation sinkerballer if he can remain healthy. 

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50

20. Chen Zhong-Ao Zhuang, RHP

BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

Track Record: The A’s signed the Taiwanese righty in November 2022,  but he pitched sparingly in games prior to this season because of shoulder issues. The 23-year-old pitched his way out of Stockton after nine outings to open 2024 and has settled in with High-A Lansing, where he struck out a batter per inning over his first 20 innings. 

Scouting Report: Zhuang stands 6-foot-1 and is at his best working north and south pairing a high-vert fastball with a devilish changeup. He has excellent command of a 92 mph heater that gets on top of barrels at the top of the strike zone and has touched 96-97, albeit with fluctuating velocity. Zhuang’s low-80s changeup tunnels well off the fastball and is his best swing-and-miss offering. Batters whiffed on it nearly 45% of the time through 14 games, and it can get up to a foot-and-a-half of armside run. Zhuang actually throws a separate low-80s splitter, too, while also relying on a mid-70s 12-6 curveball that hitters don’t miss much in the zone. He’d benefit from a more reliable secondary that moves away from righthanded hitters. Zhuang has shown some feel to spin a mid-80s cut-slider, although it’s an inconsistent pitch right now. It’s a deep, varied arsenal, and Zhuang has solid control of it all. 

The Future: Despite being a bit older, Zhuang is interesting given his limited mileage and fastball-changeup combination, especially if slightly more velocity is in the tank. Remaining healthy and unlocking a better breaking ball is key as he moves up the ladder.

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Changeup: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 50 | Control: 55

22. Grant Holman, RHP

BA Grade/Risk: 45/High

Track Record: Holman was a decorated amateur player in California who began his college career as a two-way player at Cal before turning to pitching full-time. He has always had good stuff, but a spotty injury history dating back to college led the A’s to move their 2021 sixth-rounder to a bullpen role last year. Holman didn’t allow an earned run over 19.1 innings to open the season for Double-A Midland, prompting Oakland to promote him to Triple-A Las Vegas’ bullpen. 

Scouting Report: A relief role seems to suit Holman just fine considering his aggressive mentality. His 94-95 mph fastball touches 97 and gets on hitters quickly. He pairs it with a mid-80s slider with decent two-plane break and a slightly firmer changeup that fades away from lefthanded barrels. Holman relies on his slider a bit more even though his changeup is the better chase pitch and may end up missing more bats in the majors. His walk rate has hovered around 12.5% this year, but he should throw enough strikes to be effective in short bursts. 

The Future: With a bit more refinement at Triple-A, Holman has the makings of a future seventh or eighth-inning reliever.

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 45

23. Brennan Milone, 1B/2B

BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

Track Record: Oakland’s 2022 sixth-rounder transferred from South Carolina to Oregon in college and had two nondescript summers with a wood bat in the Cape Cod League. He reached Double-A Midland for the first time this year and hit .273/.361/.404 with six homers through his first 71 games. 

Scouting Report: Milone hasn’t always been the most aesthetically pleasing evaluation for scouts because of his uphill swing plane and desire to lift and pull. They can’t deny, however, that Milone has a very strong penchant for parsing balls and strikes, leading to fairly strong on-base skills at every level so far despite ordinary power and bat speed. Milone plays a fine first base, and he has experience at second and third, as well. He isn’t especially twitchy at either of them, but there’s a chance he’s functional enough at multiple infield positions to provide some utility value. 

The Future: It’s an odd profile that could strain against better pitching, but so far Milone has made it work. If he can keep the multi-positional value alive, he has a shot at some kind of utility role in the big league on the strength of his contact and on-base ability. 

Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45

24. Darling Fernandez, OF

BA Grade/Risk: 45/Extreme

Track Record: The A’s gave Fernandez a $750,000 bonus to sign out of the Dominican Republic, one of the largest bonuses in their 2023 international class. A foot injury limited him that year in his Dominican Summer League debut. He returned in 2024 to hit .305/.469/.390 through his first 18 games. 

Scouting Report: The 18-year-old Fernandez already shows impressive bat control and a simple lefthanded operation. He can spray line drives to all fields. Walk rates in the DSL are noisy, but Fernandez has shown a solid approach even dating back to his amateur days. There isn’t much power yet, but the A’s say the 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder shows some average raw power in batting practice. The A’s have DH’d Fernandez some as they ease him back into action from the foot injury, but he has played left field defensively, where he’s likely best suited anyway given fringy speed and arm strength. 

The Future: Fernandez’s bat-to-ball skills have Oakland’s attention and allow for a future as a table-setting top-of-the-order outfielder if he can find a bit more impact as he gets older. 

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45

25. Edgar Montero, SS

BA Grade/Risk: 45/Extreme

Track Record: Montero was one of two A’s 2024 international signings to ink a $1.2 million bonus along with Jose Ramos. The switch-hitting Dominican shortstop grew to 6-foot-2, 190 pounds later on in the scouting process, and the added power piqued the interest of evaluators. Montero made his Dominican Summer League debut this spring. His surface-level stats haven’t jumped off the page, but he has shown some encouraging signs under the hood. 

Scouting Report: It’s early, but Montero flashes power potential, an all-fields approach and decent strike-zone control. Most evaluators prefer his lefthanded swing, which is smoother with above-average power upside. Amateur scouts had some concerns that Montero would encounter more swing-and-miss as he chased more power, but he has kept it in line so far in a very small DSL sample. Defensively, Montero has smooth actions and the ability to throw from multiple arm angles at shortstop. He has a thicker lower half though and may end up better suited for third base if he outgrows the position. 

The Future: Montero doesn’t turn 18 until late November. He’s a long ways away, but the early returns on his combination of hit and power from the left side are intriguing. 

Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50

26. Pedro Santos, RHP

BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

Track Record: A native of Cuba, Santos signed late in the 2018 scouting process and was initially developed as starter until Tommy John surgery in 2022 and erratic control ultimately pushed him to the bullpen. The 24-year-old reached the upper minors for the first time in 2024. He struck out 26 batters in 15 innings for Double-A Midland, including five saves, but has struggled with his command upon arriving in Triple-A Las Vegas, walking 10 batters through his first 13 innings.

Scouting Report: Perhaps appropriately given his powerful 6-foot-4, 221-pound frame, Santos attacks hitters with force. He works out of the stretch and deploys a shortened arm stroke. His upper-90s four-seam fastball has touched 99 this year and has good enough spin and carry to live at the top of the zone. Santos also throws a separate 92-95 mph cutter that can give hitters fits either in or out of the zone when he commands it. His third offering is a downer, upper-70s curveball that can miss bats but doesn’t land in the zone all that much. Santos has imprecise control of his lively arsenal, but when he’s on he has the look of a late-inning reliever. 

The Future: The strike-throwing is a concern, but Santos has the velocity and pitch mix to settle into a big league bullpen. He has an outside shot of reaching Oakland by the end of the year if he can cut down the free passes in Vegas. 

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Cutter: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Command: 40

28. Brayan Buelvas, OF

BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

Track Record: Buelvas signed for just $100,000 in 2019, but he impressed A’s brass enough to earn an invite to the team’s alternate training site as a teenager during the coronavirus pandemic. Buelvas’ momentum and contact ability has since fizzled, and he returned to High-A Lansing for a third try this year. The 22-year-old outfielder has enjoyed far more success, hitting .270/.367/.446 with six homers and 17 steals through 70 games. 

Scouting Report: As a teenager, Buelvas was slightly built but showed barrel control and hitterish qualities. The hope was that he’d grow into more power as he matured. But Buelvas unsuccessfully appeared to try and accelerate the process over the last couple years, trading some of those bat-to-ball skills for a swing and approach more geared toward impact. Buelvas has gotten back to a bit more of a controlled approach in 2024, reducing both his chase and in-zone miss to a playable level. While his approach has waxed and waned, Buelvas has gotten more physical and upped his foot speed to the point where he can handle either center or right field, all while remaining a base-stealing threat.

The Future: It’s fair to view Buelvas’ revival with skepticism considering how long he’s been in the Midwest League. He also just turned 22 years old with enough power, speed and defensive value to entertain a ceiling as a fourth outfielder. He should get another shot at Double-A soon. We’ll see whether his approach holds up. 

Scouting Grades: 45 | Power: 45 | Speed: 55 | Arm: 50 | Fielding: 55 

29. Nate Nankil, OF

BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

Track Record: The San Diego native was a three-year performer at Cal State Fullerton and spent a brief 14-game cameo in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2022. The A’s took him in the seventh round of the 2023 draft and signed him to a $300,000 bonus. The outfielder is on the younger side for a college draft pick—he doesn’t turn 22 until October—and made his full-season debut in 2024, hitting .260/.395/.426 with seven homers with Low-A Stockton. 

Scouting Report: Nankil has an interesting combination of power and patience. He’s a solid athlete with a strong frame who sets up with a lower handset in the box, although he’s less upright now than in college. His bat path has a tendency to get uphill in a hurry, and the A’s have worked with him on keeping it in the strike zone for longer. While he may not be particularly precise with the barrel, he has never shown an alarming amount of chase or swing-and-miss even dating back to college. Nankil’s average footspeed doesn’t translate to many stolen bases, though he does play a solid right field and has a strong enough arm to stick there in the long run. 

The Future: If Nankil can unlock consistent feel to hit, he has the supplemental tools to chase a ceiling of a fourth outfielder who can man either corner. 

Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 

30. Luke Mann, 3B

BA Grade/Risk: 40/High

Track Record: Mann spent five years in the SEC at Missouri, where he arrived as a two-way player but pivoted to hitting full-time after a wrist injury ended his freshman campaign and allowed for a medical redshirt. The A’s signed him for $50,000 in the 14th round of the 2023 draft, and he barely played after signing because of injury. Back healthy, Mann quickly hit his way out of Low-A Stockton to open 2024 and is now with High-A Lansing, where he has cooled since a hot start. 

Scouting Report: It seems like every year Oakland’s player development operation identifies an older, productive college performer to exceed expectations. Brett Harris and Max Schuemann are two examples presently in Oakland’s big league lineup. Mann may be next. He doesn’t have a standout carrying tool, but Mann has shown some contact ability paired with strength-based pullside power from the left side. Defensively, he has played exclusively at third base for Lansing. He’s shown encouraging actions despite limited range and has a strong, accurate throwing arm. 

The Future: Mann is a bit older and has some clear limitations. He’ll either need to hit for a bit more impact or add some positional versatility down the road. But his hot start has at least put him on a few more radars within the organization. 

Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45

Significant Injuries

Jacob Wilson, SS

Injury is the only thing that has slowed Wilson down this year. He missed six weeks with knee tendinitis and returned on June 26. 

Max Muncy, SS

Muncy held his own in his Triple-A debut. The 22-year-old hit .274/.379/.438 over his first 22 games and, perhaps more importantly, kept his strikeouts in check. But the infielder has hardly played since late April due to a hand injury. 

Joe Boyle, RHP

Boyle’s big league debut at the end of 2023 teased his upside when he consistently found the zone. But Boyle’s strike-throwing woes returned in 2024. He walked 17.8% of hitters in seven starts to open the year, then went on the IL with a back strain on May 6. Boyle has since returned and was optioned to Triple-A, where he still isn’t throwing enough viable starter strikes. 

Darell Hernaiz, SS

Hernaiz sustained a significant ankle sprain running through the first base bag in early May. The A’s transferred him to the 60-day IL on May 15. He hit .182 with 16 strikeouts in his first 29 big league games. 

Jack Perkins, RHP

A lat injury delayed the start of Perkins’ season until late May.

Royber Salinas, RHP

Salinas pitched with diminished velocity in his first start with Triple-A Las Vegas and was subsequently placed on the IL. It’s unclear when he’ll get back on the mound. 

Cole Miller, RHP

The A’s gave 2023 fourth-rounder a $1 million bonus to forgo his UCLA commitment and turn pro. Miller underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the start of the season, though, delaying his likely pro debut until some point in 2025.  

Nathan Dettmer, RHP

Oakland’s 2023 fifth-rounder hasn’t pitched since being placed on the IL with bone chips in his elbow late April. 

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