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Track Record: Born in Peru to Venezuelan parents, Luzardo will become the first Peruvian-born major leaguer when he debuts. The quality of his stuff ensures that he will be remembered as more than the answer to a trivia question. Luzardo moved with his family to Florida when he was 1 and went on to attend Stoneman Douglas High. He was sidelined for much of his senior season after having Tommy John surgery in March but still ranked as the No. 50 prospect for the 2016 draft. The Nationals selected him in the third round. When Luzardo returned to the mound in 2017, he made just three appearances in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before Washington traded him and two others to the Athletics in a deal for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Luzardo emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in 2018, when he earned an Opening Day assignment to high Class A Stockton, despite having just 12 appearances in short-season ball, then quickly advanced to Double-A Midland and spent August at Triple-A Nashville. Scouting Report: Few pitching prospects combine feel for three plus or better pitches with plus control like Luzardo. He dots both sides of the plate at 92-93 mph and tops out at 97 when he smells a strikeout. His plus fastball is true but features late hop and appears to jump at batters thanks to a high spin rate. Luzardo's mid-80s changeup is one of the best in the minors, and he isn't afraid to throw the 70-grade pitch to same-side batters or throw it twice in a row. The pitch fades and dives dramatically to his arm side, away from the barrel of righthanded hitters. Luzardo has made progress with his low-80s curveball since turning pro, to the point it usually plays above-average and flashes plus. He can land his 1-to-7 downer breaking ball for strikes or alter its shape as needed. A cohesive delivery helps Luzardo control his pitches and gives him a chance to develop plus command to go with a repertoire that missed bats at an elite rate in the minors in 2018. The Future: The A's expect Luzardo to factor in their big league rotation at some point in 2019. He has No. 2 starter potential based on his pitch quality, polished command and confident, competitive mound presence.
Track Record: The Athletics pounced on Puk--the No. 1 prospect on the BA draft board in 2016--when the Florida lefthander fell to No. 6. Wild in college, he streamlined his delivery in 2017 and led all minor league starters with 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings while advancing to Double-A Midland. Puk pitched well at big league camp in 2018 but tore his ulnar collateral ligament and had Tommy John surgery in April. Scouting Report: Puk opened spring training with 10 scoreless innings and would have factored in the 2018 rotation had he not injured his elbow and missed the year. He touched 99 mph in Cactus League games and sat in the mid-90s with a double-plus fastball that batters struggle to square up. He has surrendered just three home runs in 158 pro innings because of the extreme downhill plane, incredible extension and unique angle he creates from his 6-foot-7 frame. Puk throws a vicious mid-80s slider with lateral movement that draws plus-plus grades from some scouts. He has gained confidence with his changeup since turning pro and sells the pitch with improved arm action and deception to the point where it flashes fringe-average. He should be able to develop average major league control. The Future: Puk generates swings and misses with all three of his pitches and profiles as a No. 2 starter, assuming he makes a full recovery from surgery. He and Jesus Luzardo could team to give Oakland a lethal one-two punch at the top of its rotation.
Track Record: Murphy slipped to the Athletics in the third round in 2016 in part because he broke the hamate bone in his left wrist as a Wright State junior. He broke the hamate in his other hand in 2018, costing him a chance to play in the Futures Game and interrupting what had been a standout campaign at Double-A Midland. Scouting Report: Murphy is an exceptional defensive catcher who should hit enough to avoid being relegated to the bottom of the lineup. A high school growth spurt pushed him to 6-foot-3, but he retains the agility of a smaller man and the accompanying chip on his shoulder. Murphy shows at least plus raw power in batting practice and has the bat speed and strength to hit home runs, though he hasn't completely synced his swing in games to the satisfaction of all scouts. He has hit for average in the minors thanks to above-average plate discipline and plate coverage and an all-fields approach. Baserunners don't often test Murphy, whose double-plus arm and consistent sub-2 second pop times draw consistent praise. All he needs is improved throwing accuracy. He blocks and receives well but like most young catchers must add nuance to his game-calling and pitch presentation. The Future: Murphy returned to action at the tail end of 2018 and then added offseason reps in the Dominican League. He will catch every day at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019 until the A's call him up to begin what should be a lengthy career as a first-division catcher.
Track Record: Murray vexed scouts in 2018 because he had major league potential in both baseball and football--with no clear indication which sport he preferred. The Athletics thought his upside in baseball outweighed the downside of losing him to the NFL, so they selected him ninth overall and signed him for a near-slot bonus of $4.66 million. The deal allowed Murray to play quarterback for Oklahoma in 2018, when he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Sooners to the college football playoff. Scouting Report: Despite not playing baseball regularly since he was a high school junior, Murray showed remarkable ability on the diamond as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. More surprising was that it came on the heels of a lackluster 2017, both in Big 12 Conference and Cape Cod League play. He hit for power, recorded high-end exit velocities and showed surprising fluidity in center field. He is a premium athlete who could be a standout defensive center fielder with an at least average arm. He appeared to pace himself in college by not cutting loose on throws or on the bases, and scouts believe he has more in the tank, with a chance for plus power, plus speed and a plus glove. The Future: Murray has not participated in baseball activities since signing but committed to attending Oakland's minicamp in February as he prepares for his first spring training and what could be his first pro season in 2019. But because he has one year of college eligibility left on the gridiron, and because he could be drafted by an NFL team in April, the book is not entirely closed on football.
Track Record: A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee cost Beck time on the showcase circuit as a rising high school senior, but it didn't cost him in the draft. The Athletics drafted him sixth overall in 2017 as the first prep bat off the board. Because he had less track record with wood bats, Beck struggled at the outset of his pro career before finding his footing, but he led the low Class A Midwest League with 146 hits in 2018, his full-season debut. Scouting Report: With a more sound hitting approach and a bit more discipline, Beck could develop into a plus hitter with a strong defensive profile. A tendency to chase up in the zone, put early-count pitches in play and pop the ball up on the infield restricted his hit tool at Beloit, but still he hit .296 as a 19-year-old in a pitcher's league. Beck shows above-average power in batting practice but hasn't accessed it in games because his swing emphasizes line drives rather than loft. Strength and bat speed won't be a barrier to unlocking his power. Beck is a plus runner who can go get the ball in center field with plus range and plus athleticism. He keeps runners honest with a plus arm. The Future: If Beck shows power, he could develop into an impact center fielder, but early in his pro career he is viewed by some scouts as a future second-division starter or extra outfielder. He can begin to alter perceptions with a big year in the high Class A California League in 2019.
Track Record: The Athletics were smitten by Armenteros when they scouted him at the 15U World Cup in 2015. They signed the 17-year-old Cuban outfielder a year later for $3 million, even knowing it would trigger penalties that would diminish their ability to sign international free agents during the 2017 and 2018 periods. Armenteros spent his first full season at low Class A Beloit in 2018, missing April while in extended spring training and most of June with a left quad strain. Scouting Report: Armenteros' double-plus raw power, selective batting eye and major league body attracted attention in the Midwest League. The A's expect his game power to improve as he learns to stop chasing breaking balls and continues to adapt to U.S. culture. He could develop plus power and an average hit tool thanks to an all-fields hitting approach and knack for hard contact. Armenteros runs well for his size and has strong baserunning instincts, but he is limited to left field by a below-average arm and a body type that projects to slow down as he matures. The Future: Armenteros must get to his power regularly to profile as a major league left fielder. He can begin addressing that at high Class A Stockton in 2019.
Track Record: Hannah parlayed a career year as a Dallas Baptist junior into a second-round selection by the Athletics in 2018. Reliever Vic Black is the only DBU player ever to be drafted higher--by one pick. Hannah hit the ground running at short-season Vermont before being sidelined with a left foot sprain that limited him to just 23 games. He continued to rehab in instructional league, appearing in games only near the end. Scouting Report: Hannah packs surprising pull-side punch into a 5-foot-9 frame but is best known for a sweet lefthanded swing paired with plus athleticism and double-plus speed. Scouts express confidence in his ability to hit for average because of his quick, fluid, compact stroke that lives in the hitting zone. Hannah drives the ball to both gaps and keeps infielders honest by dropping down occasional bunts. He is a plus runner out of the box and a 70 underway who is an expert baserunner with an elite success rate on stolen bases. Hannah profiles as a plus center fielder who reads angles well but has an unremarkable arm. The Future: Hannah's attributes give him a high floor and make him a probable big leaguer, if only as an extra or semi-regular outfielder. But if he realizes his offensive potential, he can advance quickly and impact games as a table-setter.
Track Record: Mateo ranked as the Yankees' No. 1 prospect in 2016 and then checked in at No. 3 for the Athletics in 2018 after joining the organization, along with Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian, in the Sonny Gray trade. After a big season at Double-A in 2017, Mateo appeared close to big league ready. Instead he scuffled through a miserable 2018 season at Triple-A Nashville in which nothing went right. Scouting Report: Mateo draws plus grades for his glove, double-plus grades for his arm and some 80 grades for his speed, but he came up short where it counts most--his bat--in the Pacific Coast League. He hit .230 because of poor plate discipline, too many swinging strikes and too many lazy fly balls for a batter with below-average power and a low walk rate. If Mateo can improve his launch angle and swing at more strikes, he has the bat speed and exit velocity to succeed. Even as an elite runner, Mateo stole just 25 bases in Triple-A, calling into question his basestealing instincts. Plus range and quickness gives him a chance to excel at shortstop if he curtail his error rate by improving his throwing accuracy. The Future: Barring an offensive breakthrough, Mateo's clearest path to Oakland will be as a glove-first shortstop or utility player. He has pro experience at second base and center field that could come into play down the line.
Track Record: Neuse led the Big 12 Conference in slugging in 2016, when the Nationals made him a second-round pick. He advanced slowly in pro ball at first--until the Athletics acquired him in the 2017 deal that sent relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Neuse rapidly advanced to high Class A and then Double-A after the trade. A strong showing in the 2017 Arizona Fall League and then at big league camp set the stage for Neuse to open 2018 at Triple-A Nashville. Scouting Report: Neuse lost all his momentum in the first half of the Pacific Coast League season, when he hit .224 with a 37 percent strikeout rate. He chased too many pitches and generally looked overmatched by the rapid ascension. Neuse reclaimed his season by hitting .321 in the second half with a 24 percent strikeout rate, indicating grit and mental toughness to overcome adversity. He drives the ball to the gaps but doesn't loft the ball well enough to produce big home run totals. He is a well below-average runner with heavy feet, but he is more than capable at third base, where his range is average and his arm plus. He touched 95 mph off the mound as a college closer. The Future: The A's have third base locked down with Matt Chapman, necessitating either a position switch or a new organization for Neuse, who has seen time at shortstop and second base in pro ball.
Track Record: The Athletics drafted Deichmann in the second round in 2017 following a powerful year in the Southeastern Conference. He then showed everything scouts could want to see from a corner bat in his pro debut at short-season Vermont. Deichmann played so well in 2018 spring training that the A's repeatedly brought him to big league camp. Everything fell apart after that in a lost 2018 season. Scouting Report: Deichmann dealt with right wrist issues all season that inhibited his swing. An early-season strain gave way to a fractured hamate that wasn't resolved until September surgery. Despite his lost time and offensive downturn, Deichmann still produced above-average power at high Class A Stockton and projects to deliver much more in the future. High-end exit velocities and double-plus raw power should translate to 20-25 homers annually, while a compact swing and knowledge of the strike zone should make him a near-average hitter. Deichmann has a classic right field profile with average range, a strong arm and surprising athleticism. The Future: A return to health in 2019 should restore the luster to Deichmann's prospect status. If things go according to plan, he should spend ample time in Double-A.
Track Record: Eierman cranked 23 home runs as a Missouri State sophomore in 2017 to rank fifth in Division I. For an encore he hit just .287 with 10 homers, on the heels of a poor showing with Team USA. That didn't deter the Athletics, who were intrigued by Eierman's power, speed and defensive chops when they selected him with the first pick of the supplemental second round, making him the third college shortstop drafted in 2018. Scouting Report: Eierman nearly totaled his junior home run output with short-season Vermont, hitting eight in 62 games to rank fifth in the New York-Penn League. He shows plus bat speed and records big exit velocities that produce plus raw power, but critics point to a stiff swing that creates holes for pitchers to exploit. Poor pitch recognition in his debut manifested in a high strikeout total and a low batting average. The A's helped him tweak his hand position and improve the rhythm in his swing at instructional league. Eierman has the raw tools to stick at shortstop, with average range and a plus, accurate arm, but some scouts project him to third base based on his stocky body type. He is an average runner out of the batter's box but plus underway and is a heady baserunner who steals bases occasionally. The Future: Eierman is a well-rounded shortstop who has demonstrated power, speed and a sound glove in the past. His future role depends on how his hit tool and pitch selection develop.
Track Record: Drafted 16th overall by the Yankees in 2015, Kaprielian shined in his pro debut and then again for three starts in 2016 before a strained flexor tendon shut him down. The condition of his elbow didn't improve in 2017, and he had Tommy John surgery in April of that year. His rehab stretched well into 2018 and was interrupted by a July shoulder injury that kept him off the field for a second straight season. While Kaprielian was on the disabled list in 2017, the Yankees traded him and two other players to the Athletics for Sonny Gray. Scouting Report: Kaprielian returned to the mound at the tail end of instructional league in 2018, but after missing nearly three entire seasons he understandably looked rusty. During his lengthy rehab he lowered his arm slot slightly to ease stress on arm. Kaprielian when last healthy sat in the mid 90s and peaked at 97 mph while showing feel for spin. His slider and curveball both flashed plus, and his changeup showed average potential with sinking action, giving him a potential four-pitch repertoire. He draws praise for his competitive makeup but not his high-stress delivery. The Future: At his peak Kaprielian showed a double-plus fastball with two plus breaking pitches, but after a three-year layoff--and just 29 pro innings to his name--it's impossible to forecast what's in store for 2019.
Track Record: The Dodgers drafted Holmes 22nd overall in 2014 and developed him up to high Class A in 2016 before trading him with two other pitching prospects to the Athletics for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. Holmes gathered momentum at Double-A Midland in 2017, when he led the Texas League with 150 strikeouts and addressed his platoon-split issue with lefthanded batters. A rotator cuff injury cost him all but two starts in 2018, however, and clouded his outlook for 2019. Scouting Report: Holmes returned to the mound in 2018 to make one start for high Class A Stockton in the California League playoffs. The A's brought him to instructional league to ready for an assignment to the Arizona Fall League, but that plan was scuttled when he had a setback after one appearance. Holmes' high-spin fastball plays at 92-94 mph up in the zone and peaks at 96. His power curveball draws consistent plus grades from scouts, and the cutter he developed in 2017 shows promise and average potential. He never has shown much feel for a changeup. Below-average control and imprecise fastball command have long hinted at a future in the bullpen. The Future: Holmes showed no durability concerns prior to his 2018 shoulder injury, so he could continue to develop as a starter when he returns. Now that Holmes is a member of the 40-man roster, he could be in line for spot starts in 2019 if he is healthy and effective.
Track Record: Following a four-year college career at Wake Forest, Dunshee tossed 38.1 scoreless innings at short-season Vermont in his pro debut. He continued to limit runs in 2018, when he ranked 15th in the minors with a 2.33 ERA while spending half the season at Double-A Midland. Scouting Report: Dunshee placed eighth in the minors with 163 strikeouts, but he doesn't have a power pitcher's physique or repertoire. He pitches at 87-90 mph and bumps 92 while dotting the black on both sides of the plate. Sometimes he cuts his average fastball to his glove side to get in on lefthanded batters to avoid platoon-split damage. He elevates his fastball as well as any pitcher in the system with late hop on the pitch. Dunshee relies on commanding his fastball and cutter but throws a well-rounded arsenal of average pitches that includes a roundhouse curveball he can drop for strikes, a slider he can manipulate as either short or sweeping and a developing changeup he sells with arm speed. The Future: The A's believe they found a seventh-round gem in Dunshee, who has the pitchability to reach the majors in a swingman role. His big league ETA is late 2019 or 2020.
Track Record: Howard used his 6-foot-9 height to his advantage in four years at Texas Christian--he struck out a batter per inning and recorded a 1.11 WHIP--before signing with the Athletics as an eighth-round senior in 2017. He advanced to Double-A Midland for the second half of 2018 and ranked among the organization's leaders for ERA (2.91) and strikeouts (140). Scouting Report: Howard mixes four average pitches and throws strikes, which has been too much for minor league hitters to handle. He generates plus plane and angle on his 89-92 mph two-seam fastball that sits 91 and peaks at 93. He changes eye levels and upsets opponents' timing with a slow 12-to-6 curveball in the low 70s that is his swing-and-miss weapon. He pairs his curve with a sweepy slider in the high 70s. Howard's above-average mid-80s cutter was a go-to pitch in college and he still uses it to good effect to his glove side. His average changeup shows fade and separation. He could add velocity if he fills out his ultra-lean frame. The Future: Howard's repertoire allows him to operate at various velocity registers, while his control forces batters to be ready for any pitch in any count. He might not have a plus pitch in his repertoire, but his extreme height and pitching style share similarities with Doug Fister. He will be a candidate to pick up major league starts as a No. 5 type.
Track Record: The Athletics shot past their international bonus pool allotment with their 2016 signing class, which was headlined by Cubans Lazaro Armenteros and Norge Ruiz. Brito signed for $1.1 million as part of Oakland's spending spree and has spent his brief pro career as one of the youngest players in his leagues. He was one of seven 18-year-old regular position players in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2018, and his youth showed with a .241/.325/.288 batting line. Scouting Report: A wiry switch-hitter, Brito has readily apparent feel for the strike zone and for the barrel. He probably won't ever develop more than average power, but he can handle the bat and is disciplined enough to take borderline pitches for balls. The ball comes off his bat better from the left side, and his all-fields approach gives him a shot to hit for average with gap power. Brito is an athletic middle infielder and plus runner who looks sharp at second base with plus range and an above-average arm. He recorded the most assists (134) and turned the most double plays (29) among NYPL second basemen. The Future: Brito has several development years ahead of him, but his high-energy style and high skill level at such a young age indicate his major league potential. If he doesn't stick as a regular second baseman, his speed, defensive fluidity and switch-hitting bat would be interesting in a utility role.
Track Record: Dating back to his college days at California, Jefferies has typically been either effective or injured. A shoulder injury as a junior in 2016 cost him mound time but not standing in the draft--the Athletics took him 37th overall. Jefferies hasn't returned to game action since having Tommy John surgery in April 2017, essentially missing two complete seasons and logging just 20 pro innings in three years. Scouting Report: Teams overlooked Jefferies' 6-foot stature in the draft because of his high-level athleticism and track record with Team USA, and had he stayed healthy as a junior he could have been one of the top college pitchers selected. That athleticism helps him find the strike zone with three pitches. His quick arm produced 90-92 mph fastballs with a peak velocity of 96 mph when he was healthy. Jefferies' changeup bottoms out as it nears the plate, and opponents look foolish swinging at his arm speed. It can be a 70-grade pitch. His slider grades as below-average with more horizontal break than vertical. Control is a strong suit for Jefferies, but he used his rehab time to further improve his direction to the plate. The Future: Jefferies and James Kaprielian, former Pacific-12 Conference rivals, both had Tommy John around the same time and have spent 2017 and 2018 rehabbing together. They could both see time at Double-A Midland in 2019--health permitting.
Track Record: Rivas showcased strong plate discipline and hit .326 in three years at Arizona before the Athletics drafted him in the fourth round in 2018. In his pro debut he ranked fourth in the short-season New York-Penn League in walks (36) and on-base percentage (.397). Scouting Report: Rivas homered only once in his pro debut and topped out at seven in a season in college, so hitting for power is the biggest question he faces as a pro. The A's are optimistic he can develop 15-homer power with 30-plus doubles based on his smooth lefthanded swing and advanced strike-zone knowledge. A below-average runner, Rivas would be stretched in left field, but that won't be necessary if his bat develops. That's because he is a sharp defensive first baseman with good hands and plus potential. The Future: The A's express confidence in Rivas reaching his ceiling as a plus hitter with roughly average power. If everything comes together, he could move quickly.
Track Record: Projection more than production got Bolt drafted in the fourth round in 2015 after a spotty career at North Carolina. Three years in pro ball had produced much the same result until Bolt began turning tools into skills in 2018 at high Class A Stockton and then Double-A Midland. He hit 19 home runs and stole 19 bases before showing continued power and speed in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Bolt built his reputation as an amateur in part because of his prototypical frame and hints of five-tool ability, even as scouts questioned his instincts for the game. A switch-hitter with a line-drive swing, Bolt reduced his strikeout rate in 2018 and hit with more authority, particularly batting lefthanded. The increased power is crucial for a player with a fringe-average hit tool, albeit with strong plate discipline. Bolt is the best athlete in the system and also its best defensive outfielder. He is a plus center fielder with a strong, accurate arm. He is an above-average runner but not a prolific basestealer. The Future: If Bolt can build on his 2018 success as he returns to the Texas League in 2019, then he could become a useful outfield piece in the big leagues.
Track Record: The Athletics signed Barrera for $450,000 in 2012. At the time, he was a slender 16-year-old who required two years in the Dominican Summer League before he was ready for the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2015. He has steadily climbed the ladder ever since and began to earn acclaim in 2018, when he hit .297 with 23 stolen bases and finished the season at Double-A Midland. Scouting Report: Barrera has matured physically in recent seasons but hasn't strayed from his roots. He is a line-drive hitter who runs well and applies his plus speed in center field and on the bases, where he is a strong baserunner. He is selective enough to make pitchers throw him strikes. Barrera shows hints of power in batting practice but a low launch angle translates to well below-average power in games. As he has grown stronger, he is finding the gaps more frequently, aided by his double-plus speed. Barrera reads the ball off the bat in center field and always seems to get a good jump. He has an average arm. The Future: As a lefthanded-hitting center fielder with speed--but without a projected impact bat--Barrera's future role will depend a lot on just how well his speed and defense play.
Track Record: Merrell's 80-grade speed has played as advertised in pro ball, but he didn't get to show it off as much as he would have liked at high Class A Stockton in 2018. That's because he missed most of the second half with a second-degree sprain of his left elbow and then had a concussion scare while rehabbing in Arizona. Merrell didn't hit much when healthy. He dealt with nagging injuries and batted just .267 with 13 extra-base hits and five steals in 62 games in the California League. Scouting Report: Merrell hit .384 as a South Florida junior and then .320 in his pro debut at short-season Vermont, and scouts who like him give him a future average hit tool and below-average power. Reaching his ceiling will require Merrell to improve his plate discipline and his bat path so that he can hit to the middle of the field rather than pulling everything. He tends to put a lot of topspin on the ball because of his hand position at contact, hampering his ability to drive the ball. Merrell collects his share of infield hits, though his basestealing aggressiveness and technique need work. He played left field and second base in college but has made strides at shortstop in pro ball to project as average. He has improved his footwork and aggressiveness to the ball, while his arm grades as above-average. The Future: Merrell is something of a throwback player, and if he hits he could develop into a big league table-setter, perhaps in a multi-positional role that would include center field and middle infield.
Track Record: Were he a few inches taller than his listed 5-foot-9, Allen probably would have been a first-round pick in 2017 based on his defensive prowess. Instead he fell to the Athletics in the third round but still signed for $2 million, which is back-of-the-first-round money. Allen has been pushed aggressively in pro ball and spent his first full season at low Class A Beloit. He didn't hit much but did lead Midwest League shortstops in assists (315) and fielding percentage (.965). Scouting Report: Allen is a plus defender with a preternatural feel for taking the right angle to the ball. His above-average arm is enhanced by a quick release and pinpoint accuracy to the degree that he rarely makes throwing errors. He turns in plus run times to first base and is a quality baserunner who swiped 24 bags in the MWL. Allen has hit .242 with one home run in his first two pro seasons, though his fortune improved late in 2018 with Beloit. He hit .330/.368/.423 in his final 24 games. As an amateur, Allen could drive the ball with aluminum bats but hasn't had the same success with wood. The A's worked with him in instructional league to improve his strike-zone awareness, hunt his pitch and not hit so many balls in the air for lazy fly outs. The Future: Allen has work to do to develop an average major league bat, but he has good hand-eye coordination, takes competitive at-bats and could grow into more power as he physically matures.
Track Record: Ramirez hit .301 in three years at North Carolina and has showcased his sweet lefthanded swing in the Athletics' system since turning pro. In a full season at Double-A Midland in 2018 he ranked second in the Texas League in doubles (35), third in walks (62) and fifth in on-base percentage (.370). He also placed third in strikeouts (148), indicating that contact rate is his biggest area for improvement. Scouting Report: The A's view Ramirez as a potential David DeJesus type of player based on his lefthanded bat, on-base-oriented approach and physical stature. Ramirez has plus potential as a hitter based on his short, direct swing path and ability to drive the ball line to line. His below-average power won't produce many home runs, but his sneaky solid-average speed allows him to leg out doubles and triples. Ramirez is patient and will wait for his pitch, and he hangs in against lefthanders. An instinctive defender in left field, he can hold his own in center with average range and an average, accurate arm. The Future: Ramirez is ready for Triple-A, but as a corner player without big power, he faces an uphill climb to a regular big league role. In the right situation, his OBP skills could make him attractive as a table-setter.
Track Record: Varland sliced through Division II competition as a junior, drawing notice from upper Midwest scouts with a 1.04 ERA and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He pitched his way to low Class A Beloit in his pro debut and recorded an 0.95 ERA with 50 strikeouts and eight walks in 38 innings. Scouting Report: Varland's stuff is better than his draft round would indicate. He pitched at 93 mph in his debut and maxed out near 96 and backed it up with crisp breaking stuff and an aggressive pitching style. His fastball features explosive life up in the zone thanks to a high spin rate. His slider has above-average potential and nice tilt in the mid-80s, while his fringe curveball gives him the element of surprise in the high 70s. Varland went to instructional league to develop his changeup and found a grip he likes. The Future: Varland was the breakout star of Oakland's 2018 draft and could reach Double-A by the end of his first full season. Without a knockout pitch, he profiles more as a swingman starter or reliever.
Track Record: Drafted by the Red Sox in 2012, Wendelken has been around long enough to be traded for two players who are now out of baseball: Jake Peavy and Brett Lawrie. Wendelken made his big league debut with Oakland in 2016, got hammered and then had Tommy John surgery that fall. Scouting Report: The key to Wendelken's comeback was reworking his delivery and arm swing with minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson and rehab pitching coordinator Craig Lefferts. As a result, Wendelken added a tick of velocity and rounded out his arsenal. He topped out at 98 mph and averaged 95 in the big leagues and backed up his fastball with a plus breaking ball and now-usable changeup. His fastball gets swings and misses in the zone and his curveball induces chases in and out of the zone. The Future: In his return to Oakland, Wendelken allowed one run in 17 innings and recorded an 0.78 WHIP, hinting at his potential to pitch high-leverage relief innings in 2019.
Track Record: Drafted late in 2017, Feigl returned to Mississippi as a redshirt junior in 2018 and spent his first full college season in the rotation. He missed bats while taking every turn, and that trend continued in a pro debut in which he struck out 34 in 26 innings. Scouting Report: The Athletics like the angle on Feigl's fastball, which ranges from 90-93 mph and scraped 94 in pro ball. The 6-foot-5 righty generates late movement that makes him hard for opponents to barrel. Feigl's power curveball in the low 80s is his go-to out pitch and works in concert with his fastball. Deception in his delivery adds to his overall effectiveness. Feigl throws a changeup but it's a third pitch. The Future: With extensive bullpen time in college, Feigl could jump on a fast track if he assumes that role as a pro. For now, he will continue developing as a starter in 2019.
Track Record: The Athletics signed Diaz for $275,000 out of Colombia on the strength of his bat. In the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2018, he showcased quality bat-to-ball skills and strike-zone awareness by hitting .277 with a .371 on-base percentage with nearly as many walks (19) as strikeouts (22). Scouting Report: Diaz draws attention for his short righthanded swing and line-drive approach with gap power. He hits to all fields and frequently barrels balls for resounding hits. Scouts are mixed on Diaz's power potential because his 5-foot-10 frame is quickly maxing out and offers little in the way of projection. Diaz throws well at third base and has good hands, but his actions can be stiff at times. The Future: Diaz does many things well in the batter's box, and his bat could carry him up the ladder.
Track Record: Blanco was regarded as Cuba's fastest player when he defected to the Dominican Republic. He came to terms with the Athletics in December 2017. Because of a two-year layoff from game action, Blanco began his U.S. career at high Class A Stockton in 2018 even though he turned 25 in April. Scouting Report: Blanco started slowly in the California League but redeemed his season. He hit .323/.360/.462 in his final 48 games with Stockton, appearing on track for a promotion to Double-A before a left hamate injury sidelined him for the season on July 4. He had surgery in August. Blanco is a top-of-the-scale runner who steals bases aggressively and efficiently. He will never have more than fringe power because he doesn't pull the ball well, but he has strength and an all-fields hitting approach, which could equate to a plus hit tool. He has the plus range and below-average arm to excel in left field. The Future: Blanco must keep developing his bat to profile as a major leaguer, but even in the absence of more power he could fill an extra outfielder role. Double-A is the next test.
Track Record: Heim reached Double-A in the second half of 2018. While he scuffled in the Texas League, it marked key progress for the switch-hitting catcher drafted by the Orioles in the fourth round in 2013 out of a suburban Buffalo high school. Baltimore traded Heim to the Rays for Steve Pearce in 2016, then Tampa Bay traded him to the Athletics for Joey Wendle after the 2017 season. Scouting Report: In his first season in the Oakland system, Heim threw out 33 percent of basestealers with average arm strength but above-average pop times. He receives and blocks well with an ease of operation behind the plate and feel for calling a game. Heim makes steady contact and works the middle of the field. He has the raw power for double-digit home runs with a leveraged, strength-oriented swing. The Future: Scouts who like Heim see him developing into a second-division catcher or backup.
Track Record: The Athletics signed Romero in February 2017 as part of the same international signing class as fellow Cubans Lazaro Armenteros and Norge Ruiz. Romero had to wait months for his visa to be approved, but once he reached the U.S. he advanced to high Class A Stockton and participated in the Arizona Fall League in 2017. Scouting Report: Romero returned to the California League as a 24-year-old in 2018. He cruised through 22 relief appearances before a second-half promotion to Double-A Midland, where his command wavered before a strong finish that included 16 strikeouts and three walks in 14.1 innings to go with a 1.88 ERA. Romero throws the best slider in the system and has the potential to be a late-inning reliever with a mid-90s fastball that bumps 98 mph. He threw an above-average changeup in Cuba that the A’s would like to see him use more often to upset the timing of lefthanded batters. The Future: Romero’s performance has improved as his comfort level has grown, and he could factor in the big league bullpen later in the 2019 season if he can ace assignments to Double-A and Triple-A.
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