Oakland Athletics Top 10 Prospects

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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

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Jim Shonerd
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1. Grant Green, ss
2. Chris Carter, 1b/of
3. Michael Choice, of
4. Tyson Ross, rhp
5. Jemile Weeks, 2b
6. Max Stassi, c
7. Aaron Shipman, of
8. Yordy Cabrera, ss
9. Ian Krol, lhp
10. Michael Taylor, of
Best Hitter for Average Grant Green
Best Power Hitter Chris Carter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Conner Crumbliss
Fastest Baserunner Tyreace House
Best Athlete Aaron Shipman
Best Fastball Fautino de los Santos
Best Curveball Ian Krol
Best Slider Tyson Ross
Best Changeup Clay Mortensen
Best Control Ian Krol
Best Defensive Catcher Max Stassi
Best Defensive Infielder Tyler Ladendorf
Best Infield Arm Yordy Cabrera
Best Defensive Outfielder Tyreace House
Best Outfield Arm Jeremy Barfield
Catcher Max Stassi
First Base Daric Barton
Second Base Jemile Weeks
Third Base Yordy Cabrera
Shortstop Grant Green
Left Field David DeJesus
Center Field Aaron Shipman
Right Field Michael Choice
Designated Hitter Chris Carter
No. 1 Starter Brett Anderson
No. 2 Starter Trevor Cahill
No. 3 Starter Gio Gonzalez
No. 4 Starter Tyson Ross
No. 5 Starter Ian Krol
Closer Andrew Bailey
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Jose Ortiz, 3b Fukuoka
2002 Carlos Pena, 1b Rays
2003 Rich Harden, rhp Rangers
2004 Bobby Crosby, ss Diamondbacks
2005 Nick Swisher, of Yankees
2006 Daric Barton, 1b Athletics
2007 Travis Buck, of Athletics
2008 Daric Barton, 1b Athletics
2009 Brett Anderson, lhp Athletics
2010 Chris Carter, 1b/of Athletics
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Bobby Crosby, ss Diamondbacks
2002 Nick Swisher, of Yankees
2003 Brad Sullivan, rhp Out of baseball
2004 Landon Powell, c Athletics
2005 Cliff Pennington, ss Athletics
2006 Trevor Cahill, rhp
(2nd round)
2007 James Simmons, rhp Athletics
2008 Jemile Weeks, 2b Athletics
2009 Grant Green, ss Athletics
2010 Michael Choice, of Athletics
Michael Ynoa, 2008 $4,250,000
Mark Mulder, 1998 $3,200,000
Grant Green, 2009 $2,750,000
Renato Nunez, 2010 $2,200,000
Michael Choice, 2010 $2,000,000
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Oakland Athletics

The Athletics offered their fans some reasons for hope in 2010. The club finished at 81-81 for its first non-losing season since 2006 and managed to beat out the struggling Angels for second place in the American League West.

But in other ways the season was more of the same, as Oakland failed to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season and relied heavily on its pitching staff to try to carry an underpowered offense.

The A's led the AL with a 3.58 ERA and had the league's youngest pitching staff, with Ben Sheets the only regular rotation member older than 26. Brett Anderson continued to dominate when he wasn't battling elbow issues, and all-star Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez blossomed in their second full big league seasons.

The highlight of Oakland's year came on May 9, when Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against the Rays. The bullpen was solid, too, with Andrew Bailey posting a 1.47 ERA and 25 saves while fighting through ribcage and elbow problems.

While the A's have the pitching to return to contention, their offense continues to hold them back. Oakland ranked 11th in the AL in scoring and 13th in homers. Hope that the farm system would bolster the lineup turned out to be in vain.

The A's lost one of their top offensive prospects in January, when outfielder Grant Desme decided to leave baseball and enter the priesthood. He recorded the only 30-30 season in the minors in 2009, then won the Arizona Fall League home run title and MVP award before retiring.

First baseman/outfielder Chris Carter and outfielder Michael Taylor were supposed to be on the verge of contributing in Oakland after tearing up the minors in 2009, but both struggled in Triple-A. Carter recovered enough to get promoted in August, only to open his big league career on a 0-for-33 skid. Outfielder Sean Doolittle hasn't played since May 2009 and continues to recover from two surgeries on his left knee.

The A's difficulties in developing hitters have led to more aggressive spending in the draft. They went over slot to sign shortstop Grant Green ($2.75 million) and catcher Max Stassi ($1.5 million) in 2009, and again to land outfielder Michael Choice ($2 million), shortstop Yordy Cabrera ($1.25 million), outfielder Aaron Shipman ($500,000) and third baseman Chad Lewis ($300,000) in 2010. Green ranks No. 1 on this list, with Choice, Stassi, Shipman and Cabrera also cracking the Top 10.

Oakland also has been more active than ever on the international market, in spite of a potentially epic failure. Righthander Michael Ynoa, who received a franchise- and Latin American-record $4.25 million bonus in 2008, had Tommy John surgery last summer and has pitched a total of nine innings since signing. Undaunted, the A's signed Venezuelan third baseman Renato Nunez for $2.2 million in July. In November, they bid a reported $19.1 million for the rights to Japanese righthander Hisashi Iwakuma.

Iwakuma would have ranked No. 1 on this list had he come to terms with Oakland by press time. Negotiations reportedly were breaking down in late November, amid reports that the two sides were far apart in contract talks. The A's had until Dec. 7 to sign him, and would recoup the posting fee if they don't, while Iwakuma would have to return to Japan.

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