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Oakland Athletics

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Player Reports

  1. 1. Jesus Luzardo | LHP
    Jesus Luzardo
    Born: Sep 30, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 209
    Drafted: HS--Parkland, Fla., 2016 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Alex Morales (Nationals).

    BA Grade: 70. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 70. Control: 60.

    Track Record: Born in Peru, Luzardo was raised in Florida and attended Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. He was on track to be a potential first-round pick in 2016 until he needed Tommy John surgery two months before the draft. He fell to the third round, where the Nationals picked him No. 94 overall and signed him for an above-slot $1.4 million. Luzardo made a full recovery and flashed big stuff when he returned, leading the Athletics to acquire him at the 2017 trade deadline with Blake Treinen and Sheldon Neuse in the trade that sent Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Nationals. With the A’s, Luzardo bounded three levels up to Triple-A and started the Futures Game in a breakout 2018 and appeared on the precipice of the big leagues in 2019. Instead he suffered a rotator cuff strain in March and a lat strain in July, but he still managed to make his big debut in September and was so dominant that the A’s carried him on their postseason roster. Including a scoreless three-inning relief appearance in the American League Wild Card Game, Luzardo allowed just two runs in 15 innings and struck out 20 batters in his first big league action.

    Scouting Report: Luzardo was able to tap back into his fastball post-surgery, flirting with easy velocity up to 97 mph and impressive natural sink. Luzardo confidently works his heater to both sides of the plate, generating weak contact and plenty of swings and misses. His mid-80s changeup complements his fastball and demands attention of its own as a plus offering. Luzardo’s changeup features deceptive fade, and he has the ability to play his changeup off his fastball to both sides of the plate and keep hitters guessing. His low-80s curveball is his decided third pitch, but it still projects as a future above-average offering. Luzardo is still gaining feel and confidence for his curve, but at its best he can land it for strikes with 1-to-7 downward action and alter its shape as needed. A sturdy 6-foot, 209 pounds, Luzardo understands his body to allow him a repeatable delivery and above-average control.

    The Future: Luzardo’s maturity, poise, confidence and steady development have him tracking to only become stronger with an already-dangerous arsenal. Health has been his only red flag. With nothing left to prove in the minors, Luzardo should be a full-fledged member of Oakland’s rotation in 2020. He has the ingredients to become a front-of-the-rotation starter.
  2. 2. A.J. Puk | LHP
    A.J. Puk
    Born: Apr 25, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 238
    Drafted: Florida, 2016 (1st round).
    Signed By: Trevor Schaffer.

    BA Grade: 65. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 70. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: Puk missed the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery, but he returned in 2019 and showed the same stuff that made him arguably the top player in the 2016 draft class. The Athletics called him up in August after he threw just 25 innings in the minors, and he earned a spot on the American League Wild Card Game roster.

    Scouting Report: Puk returned from surgery with his premium stuff intact, headlined by a 70-grade fastball that tips the scales at 95-99 mph from the left side. Puk’s upper-80s slider gives him another plus power offering he can bury in on righthanders and away from lefties, and his changeup continues to progress into a usable, if unspectacular, offering. Puk has never been known for pinpoint location, but makes up for it with an ability to elevate or drive in on both sides of the plate as needed. His sizzling velocity, combined with the natural downhill plane from his 6-foot-7 frame, makes for difficult, uncomfortable at-bats.

    The Future: Puk still needs to log innings and may begin 2020 at Triple-A Las Vegas in order to do so. As long as he stays healthy, he should ascend to Oakland’s rotation before long and could emerge as a front-of-the-rotation starter.
  3. 3. Sean Murphy | C
    Sean Murphy
    Born: Oct 4, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 232
    Drafted: Wright State, 2016 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Rich Sparks.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Medium
    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 55. Run: 30. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70.

    Track Record: Murphy began his career at Wright State as a walk-on and ended it as the program’s highest-drafted player in 10 years when the Athletics selected him in the third round in 2016. He battled a long list of injuries, including breaking both hamate bones and a torn left meniscus that knocked him out for three months in 2019, but he still made his major league debut in September and emerged as the club’s primary catcher down the stretch.

    Scouting Report: Despite his injuries, Murphy has maintained his status as an elite defensive catcher thanks to his athleticism and agility. His maturity as a game-caller, blocking and framing all receive plus grades, and his plus-plus arm was one of the strongest in the minors. At the plate, Murphy works the middle of the field with a compact swing and has the strength to produce 20-plus home run power. He isn’t afraid to work deep counts and draw walks and shows a good understanding of his strengths. In addition to his work ethic, Murphy’s leadership with his pitching staff draws rave reviews.

    The Future: Murphy had a second surgery on his left knee in October. He is expected to be ready for spring training and is in prime position to be Oakland’s Opening Day catcher.
  4. 4. Daulton Jefferies | RHP
    Daulton Jefferies
    Born: Aug 2, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 182
    Drafted: California, 2016 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Jermaine Clark.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 55. Curveball: 50. Slider: 60. Control: 70.

    Track Record: The Athletics drafted Jefferies from nearby Cal with the 37th overall pick in 2016, but Tommy John surgery limited him to just three appearances combined in 2017 and 2018. Jefferies returned to full health in 2019 and showed the A’s exactly what they hoped to see. He logged a 3.42 ERA while advancing to Double-A Midland, with an eye-popping 93 strikeouts against just nine walks in 79 innings.

    Scouting Report: Jefferies has one of the most potent arsenals in the system with three quality pitches and the ability to command them. His fastball sits at 92-95 mph with cut life and plays up with his ability to precisely locate it. He pairs his fastball with a potentially plus changeup in the upper 80s with two-seam dive and fade, and his tilting, upper-80s slider varies in length to take on cutter action and keep hitters unsure of how much it will break. Jefferies throws everything for strikes with a repeatable delivery and has borderline elite control. His arm action, however, has rival evaluators concerned for his long-term health.

    The Future: Jefferies will continue to log innings and build durability in 2020. He’ll begin at Triple-A Las Vegas and has a chance to see Oakland if his workload allows.
  5. 5. Austin Beck | OF
    Austin Beck
    Born: Nov 21, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 200
    Drafted: HS--Lexington, N.C., 2017 (1st round).
    Signed By: Neil Avent.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 55. Run: 60. Fielding: 60, Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Beck suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee prior to his senior season and had a limited track record against good competition at his small North Carolina high school, but the Athletics couldn’t say no to his dripping athleticism and drafted him sixth overall in 2017. After a decent first full season, Beck battled a recurring quad strain that limited him to 85 games in 2019 and suffered through a difficult year at high Class A Stockton that included a 34 percent strikeout rate.

    Scouting Report: Beck’s athleticism stands out among the best of his peers. He is a plus runner, has plus arm strength and draws consistent reviews as an above-average to plus defender in center field. His bat, however, is a question mark. He flashes above-average raw power but is a below-average hitter who struggles to get to it. He frequently over-swings while chasing fastballs up and breaking balls low and away, producing strikeouts and poor quality contact when he connects. Beck has plenty of bat speed, leaving some evaluators hopeful he’ll hit once he refines his approach and improves his natural feel at the plate.

    The Future: Beck will be 21 all of next year and still has time to figure out his swing. He may repeat high Class A Stockton before moving on to Double-A.
  6. 6. Robert Puason | SS
    Robert Puason
    Born: Sep 11, 2002
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 165
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Amauris Reyes.

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Run: 55. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70.

    Track Record: Considered one of the top players in the Dominican Republic years before he was 16, Puason agreed to sign with the Braves when he was 14. But he went back on the open market after Major League Baseball banned the Braves from signing international players for two years after finding numerous international signing violations. The Athletics jumped in and signed Puason for $5.1 million on July 2, tied for the largest signing bonus awarded to any player in the 2019-20 international class.

    Scouting Report: Puason has a wiry, projectable frame and loads of tools to dream on. A switch-hitter with plus speed, Puason produces hard contact from both sides of the plate and shows a mature feel for controlling the barrel. As he refines his swing mechanics and adds muscle, Puason could grow into above-average power and be at least an average hitter. Puason’s long swing and shoddy pitch recognition give others pause, however, about how much he’ll hit. Puason is a sleek athlete with the athleticism and instincts to stick at shortstop. He has good footwork, clean hands and a plus arm that could still tick up as his body develops.

    The Future: Puason played simulated games in Arizona after signing. He is set to open his pro career in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2020.
  7. 7. Sheldon Neuse | 3B
    Sheldon Neuse
    Born: Dec 10, 1994
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 218
    Drafted: Oklahoma, 2016 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Ed Gustafson (Nationals).

    BA Grade: 45. Risk: Medium
    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 50. Run: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: The Athletics long liked Neuse’s power and made sure to acquire him from the Nationals with Jesus Luzardo and Blake Treinen in exchange for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle at the 2017 trade deadline. Neuse scuffled with his first taste of Triple-A in 2018, but he cut his strikeout rate by 8 percent while repeating the Pacific Coast League in 2019 and earned his first big league callup in August.

    Scouting Report: Neuse generates his power from the combination of a stocky frame and advanced barrel control. He drives the ball to the gaps and increased his loft in 2019 to hit a career-high 27 home runs. Neuse is an aggressive hitter who often expands the strike zone early in seasons, especially chasing elevated fastballs, but he tends to rein in his approach and cut down on his strikeouts as the year progresses. Neuse is bulky but sneaky athletic for his size with a quick first step, good instincts, and natural actions at both second and third base. He can also fill in at shortstop and left field, and his plus arm fits anywhere on the diamond.

    The Future: Neuse primarily played second base at the big league level. With Matt Chapman entrenched at third base, versatility will be Neuse’s path to an everyday role in 2020.
  8. 8. Jorge Mateo | SS
    Jorge Mateo
    Born: Jun 23, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 192
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2012.
    Signed By: Juan Rosario (Yankees).

    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 40. Run: 80. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Viewed as one of the top prospects the A’s received in the Sonny Gray trade with the Yankees, Mateo remains a head-scratcher who flashes big tools but struggles to produce consistently. He repeated the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2019 and took encouraging steps, cutting his strikeout rate while increasing his power output—but he also suffered a massive second-half dropoff.

    Scouting Report: Mateo’s biggest tool is his 80-grade speed. He stole 82 bases in 2015 and 52 in 2017, though his stolen base totals have been more modest with Oakland. For Mateo to be at his sharpest, he needs to be on the basepaths, which has been a problem. Some days, he is on time in the box, stays within the strike zone and uses the whole field with a quick, direct swing. Other times he is tentative against velocity, swings from his heels and shows zero pitch recognition. Evaluators don’t know what to make of Mateo’s offensive potential, but most see .250 with 15 home runs as the best possible outcome. Mateo is similarly inconsistent at shortstop, sometimes playing too aggressively and other times too passively. He has the athleticism and plus arm to play multiple positions.

    The Future: Mateo needs to find some semblance of consistency. He’ll return to Triple-A in 2020.
  9. 9. Logan Davidson | SS
    Logan Davidson
    Born: Dec 26, 1997
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted: Drafted: Clemson, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Neil Avent.

    BA Grade: 50. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 55. Run: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: The Phillies drafted Davidson in the 30th round out of high school, but he chose to follow his father Mark’s footsteps and play baseball at Clemson. Davidson grew into a power hitter with 42 home runs and 142 RBIs over three collegiate seasons. The A’s made him the 29th overall pick in 2019 and signed him for $2,424,600.

    Scouting Report: Davidson never hit .300 in college and hit just .239 at short-season Vermont after signing, continuing longstanding concerns about his overall hitting ability. Opinions vary on Davidson’s consistency at the plate. His supporters praise his natural feel for squaring up pitches, while detractors point to a long swing that results in too many swings and misses. He flashes above-average power when he connects. While the 6-foot-3 Davidson registers tall for a shortstop, he has the quick hands and natural athleticism to project to stick there. His plus arm strength allows him to profile at both shortstop or third base, if he has to move. Davidson has the bloodlines and a good role model in his corner. His father played six years in the majors with the Astros and Twins.

    The Future: Davidson has work to do at the plate. His Opening Day 2020 assignment will largely depend on how he looks in spring training.
  10. 10. Nick Allen | SS
    Nick Allen
    Born: Oct 8, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 166
    Drafted: HS--San Diego, 2017 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Anthony Aloisi.

    BA Grade: 45. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 30. Run: 60. Fielding: 70. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: The 5-foot-9 Allen long held a reputation as a spectacular defender with a light bat, but he began changing that perception in 2019. Allen got stronger and adjusted his approach to use the whole field at high Class A Stockton, and he tied for the California League lead in doubles before suffering a season-ending sprained ankle on June 27.

    Scouting Report: Allen’s coaches at Stockton nicknamed him “Magic Man” for his defensive wizardry. He is a twitchy, instinctive defender who moves well in every direction with plus speed. He makes both the highlight-reel plays and the routine ones, and he almost never makes a fielding error with his clean hands. Allen’s arm ticked up to plus as he got stronger, burnishing his reputation as a potential Gold Glove shortstop. Scouts like Allen’s swing and hand-eye coordination at the plate, but his compact frame limits his projection and caps most of his evaluations at an average hitter with well below-average power.

    The Future: Allen’s defense will earn him playing time, and he has started hitting just enough to profile as a potential starter rather than a pure backup. He’ll try to keep it going at Double-A Midland in 2020.

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