Dynasty: Oakland Athletics 2020 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Hunter Denson ranks the Top 50 prospects in the Oakland Athletics farm system for dynasty formats.

The Oakland A’s have a top-heavy farm system that ranks anywhere from mid-tier to bottom of the barrel depending on who you read. The two Matt’s (Chapman and Olson) easily lead the way as examples of drafted homegrown talent that paid dividends at the highest level for the A’s recently, though the pool dries up quickly after that (Chad Pinder, Lou Trivino, and Daniel Gossett would be next in line). The A’s have not drafted well over the last several seasons and have especially struggled with their first-round selections.

Since 2015, two A’s first-round selections have made the big leagues: Richie Martin (2015, -1.3 career WAR) and AJ Puk (2016, 0.2 career WAR). Others have been traded (Kevin Merrell), injured (Daulton Jefferies), or gone on to become superstar NFL QB’s (Kyler Murray). That 9th overall selection of Murray really hurt the A’s, especially considering the talent that went after that selection (Travis Swaggerty, Grayson Rodriguez, Jordan Groshans, etc.).

Despite their issues in the draft and with international signings, the A’s still boast three high-end, MLB-ready talents in Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, and Sean Murphy. While the rest of the system’s prospects may lack some of the branding others enjoy, I think the A’s have some interesting pieces that could surprise and become better known once 2020 gets underway.

 

1. Jesus Luzardo, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

While Luzardo does boast three strong offerings and the high strikeout rates (34.8% K% MLB, 26% K% AAA) you like to see from a top-tier pitching prospect, his control is what sets him apart from similarly talented arms. The 22-year-old walked only 6.1% of batters faced in AAA this season and posted similar results in his brief taste of the big leagues (6.5% BB%). Luzardo did well enough in September to warrant inclusion on the A’s postseason roster and had the opportunity to showcase his stuff over three scoreless innings. Shoulder issues limited Luzardo’s availability in 2019 but should not be an issue this season given his offseason approach:

“I’ve been doing the basic conditioning and lifting, some upper- and lower-body days,” Luzardo said. “Definitely focusing on my shoulder and rotator cuff, getting all that 100 percent. My body feels great right now, and, hopefully, that continues.”

Manager Bob Melvin tabbed Luzardo as a member of the 2020 rotation before spring training even began and Luzardo did nothing to change that approach (3.68 ERA with 11 K in 7.1 IP) before spring training was canceled. There will be some growing pains as Luzardo adjusts to consistently facing MLB hitters but the talent is there for him to be an upper-tier arm once he settles into his role.

ETA: 2020

 

2. A.J. Puk, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

A.J. Puk is the owner of a last name made for post-game daily newspaper headlines (What the Puk?, Puk Off!, etc.) and four offerings that currently rate as at least MLB-average. While the last name will provide endless opportunities for sportswriters, his arsenal holds more value for our purposes. The 6’7″ lefty worked his way back from Tommy John last season and showed he hadn’t lost any of the promise that made him the 6th overall pick in the 2016 draft. He even got his first taste of the big leagues, fanning 13 batters in 11.1 IP (all relief appearances). That was enough for A’s manager Bob Melvin to pencil Puk into his 2020 rotation before spring training even started:

Given his recent return from Tommy John, Puk was likely to have some sort of innings limit this season, even before being shut down in spring training due to a shoulder sprain. The delayed start to the season gives him more time to recover and should allow him to pitch without much restriction once things finally get underway. Walks will be an issue for him at first and there will be times when he struggles with command. Despite that, he offers top-tier strikeout production and has all of the tools to develop into an ace if everything falls into place.

ETA: 2020

 

3. Sean Murphy, C

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Getting excited about a catcher (and especially a catching prospect) is generally bad for your health. They love to lure you in with their potential or one solid performance and then dance merrily on your crushed bones when they inevitably fail. Do I have a problem with catchers? Perhaps. But I stand by the dancing merrily on your crushed bones comment…at least mostly.

Despite the fact that Murphy is a catcher, he is one you should be excited about if you are into that kind of thing. First of all, he can actually hit (.321 ISO, .370 wOBA, 135 wRC+ in MLB; .317 ISO, .409 wOBA, .136 wRC+ in AAA). Second, he has a rocket arm (70/70 Throws) and is incredibly valuable behind the plate, eliciting this review from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota regarding his defense as a college player compared to today:

“He was everything then that you see now,” Kubota said. “We thought he would be a plus defender, but catching is the hardest position to evaluate. He has certainly exceeded our expectations.”

Third (if you even need more), he is open to taking a walk (10% BB% MLB, 10.7% AAA) and has solid plate discipline (7.5% SwStr% in AAA, 22.1% K% in AAA). Murphy is the A’s catcher heading into 2020 and should provide good value for the position. I like (hypothetically – if I were one to ‘like’ catching prospects) Murphy better than Joey Bart and would target him above his Bay Area rival.

ETA: 2020

 

4. Robert Puason, SS

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

After being released from an illegal agreement with the Atlanta Braves, Robert Puason was one of over 10 international players to sign with the A’s during the 2019 period and easily stands out as their best asset from that group. The 17-year-old Dominican shortstop ranked as the 2nd overall prospect in his class (behind only Jasson Dominguez), drawing a $5.1 million signing bonus and this rave review from A’s Assistant General Manager Dan Feinstein:

“We believe he has the ability to impact the game in a number of ways,” Feinstein said. “He’s a dynamic, athletic, wiry, strong, switch-hitting shortstop who plays with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm.”

As with many international signees, Puason is a long-term project who could yield big returns in a few years when his offensive game starts to mature. He plays a premium position and should be one of the first names off the board in your league’s first-year player drafts.

ETA: 2026

 

5. Daulton Jefferies, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

Tommy John surgery (April of 2017) cost Jefferies almost two seasons of play and limited him to only 20.1 IP from 2016-2018. The A’s were very careful with him this season, only allowing him to go over 3 IP twice in his 21 appearances at AA. He pitched very well in those outings, striking out 27.5% of batter faced (14% SwStr%) and posting the 5th lowest BB% in AA (2.7%).

Jefferies projects to have above-average control and at least three, maybe four pitches that project to be average or better MLB offerings. He should stretch out further in 2020, allowing the A’s to see how he fares when going through lineups more than twice. Provided he stays healthy, Jefferies could get a taste of the show at the end of 2020 (he was optioned to AAA in early March) and has a future in the middle to back end of a rotation if all goes well.

ETA: 2020

 

6. Jorge Mateo, 2B/SS

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

Like Puason, Mateo started his career as an international free agent, signing for $250,000 eight years ago with the New York Yankees. The now 24-year-old came to Oakland as part of the return for Sonny Gray in 2017 and hopes to parlay a strong showing at AAA last season into a full-time role at the Coliseum in 2020. After a rough introduction to the PCL in 2018, Mateo joined in on the high octane fun last season, slashing .289/.330/.504 and displaying an impressive power/speed combination (19 HR/24 SB). That power production was a huge jump compared to his AAA numbers in 2018 (+11.7% HR/FB%, +.091 ISO) but likely fueled by the league more than any actual breakout.

While those numbers look pretty, that was still a below-average performance per wRC+ (96 wRC+ in AAA). His production also came with some alarming plate discipline issues (25.6% K%, 16.2% SwStr%) and an allergy to taking a walk (29 BB’s, 5.1% BB%). 80-grade speed is an exciting thing to behold but less useful if you struggle to get on base. Mateo is out of options and entered spring training as a contender for time at 2B (.231/.375/.231 with 4 SB in spring training). He is not a lock to make the club once things resume, however, and enough red flags exist for me to doubt his viability as a major league contributor. Improving his plate discipline would go a long way in raising his probability for success but without that Mateo is too volatile to be anything close to a sure thing. Buyer Beware.

ETA: 2020

 

7. Sheldon Neuse, 2B/3B

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

So…Sheldon Neuse hit a few more home runs than usual in 2019. 27 of them to be exact. As his previous high was 9 back in A ball, this is an interesting development for a prospect with his proximity to the show. However, these home runs did occur in the PCL, so some skepticism is warranted. Though crazy offensive performances are not outside the norm in that league (case in point: his 27 HR ranked 17th in the PCL), Neuse’s offensive production still ranked 26% better than league average (wRC+ 126).

A call-up to the Athletics at the end of the season did not yield much (.250/.295/.304, 0 HR) and a ceiling of 15 home runs is more achievable than 27, especially at the big league level. Neuse showed enough defensively to be a candidate for playing time at the keystone in 2020 but will need to work on his plate discipline (12.5% SwStr%, 23.6% K% in AAA) if he is going to carve out a role with the A’s.

ETA: 2020

 

8. Marcus Smith, OF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Smith had no problem in his first professional assignment, slashing .361/.466/.443 with a 156 wRC+. He ranked 8th among players his age or younger in wRC+ (at least 100 PA’s) and posted the 7th best BB% for that same group (16.8% BB%). Elite speed (70/70 grade) and a strong hit tool currently project as his strongest offensive weapons, giving him an interesting profile considering the patience he flashed at the plate last season. He is far away but could climb fast up industry lists if the patience and projected hit tool are legitimate.

ETA: 2024

 

9. Nick Allen, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

A+ was no problem for Allen. The slick-fielding shortstop had a strong year at the plate (122 wRC+, .361 wOBA) and finally showcased some power as well (3 HR, .142 ISO). He continued to perform well on the bases (13/18 SB/SBA) and generally looked ready to try his luck at a higher level in 2020. His glove is already above average and has the chance to be near-elite at the apex of his development. Teams love that kind of defensive value on its own, so the fact that Allen should develop into at least an average hitter at the plate makes him a low-risk fantasy investment. The power will never matter but he should be good for a solid average and some SBs.

ETA: 2022

 

10. Luis Barrera, OF

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

A second go-round in AA saw Barrera improve in some areas (+.070 ISO, -8.9% GB%, +.011 wOBA) and fall back in others (+7.5% K%, -1.3% BB%, 9/16 SBA). A shoulder injury ended his season in July, shortening what could have been a true breakout season for the young outfielder. Barrera ranked 3rd in wOBA (.382) and 5th in wRC+ (139) for players his age in AA and did a lot to increase his stock heading into 2020. Barrera also caught the eye of A’s manager Bob Melvin with his work in their abbreviated spring training, causing Melvin to comment that “It looks like he played winter ball the way he’s swinging the bat well.” He has the chance to jump up lists next season and is worth investing in now before more people become familiar with his work.

ETA: 2021

 

11. Logan Davidson, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A-

Oakland selected Davidson with the 29th pick in last year’s draft and assigned him to the Vermont Lake Monsters (A-) for his first taste of professional pitching. He did well in his debut, showing some power (4 HR) and speed (5 SB) while turning in an above-average performance (wRC+ 112) for the level. At Clemson, Davidson consistently posted double-digit home runs and stolen bases and displayed a good eye at the plate. He has the chance to be an average MI option with the potential for more if he fully reaches his potential. Interesting college bat to buy into early as he could surprise down the road.

ETA: 2022

 

12. Austin Beck, OF

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

When I see a 34.3% K% in A+, I get worried. When it comes in tandem with a 16.9% SwStr% and 6.5% BB%, worry becomes something more. Beck is still only 21 (average age in A+: 22.4 years old), so some of his plate discipline issues are likely tied to that and hopefully not a sign that of a bigger issue that cannot be corrected. He is one of the few prospects in any system who garners the coveted ‘5-tool-prospect’ label and has the potential to grow into an exciting offensive profile if he can get those plate discipline woes under control. 2019 saw his best power production to date (9 HR, .160 ISO, 9% HR/FB%) but less development on the bases (2/4 SB). There’s a lot to dream on with Beck but also a lot of maturing that still needs to happen in his game.

ETA: 2023

 

13. James Kaprielian, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: AAA

Kaprielian tossed his first professional innings since 2016 last season, finally entering a season healthy after battling a myriad of injuries (including Tommy John) over the past few seasons. When healthy, the righty’s arsenal is dangerous (24.3% K%, 13.1% SwStr% in AA; 28.3% K%, 15% SwStr% in A+) and lead by an above-average slider and changeup. He finished the season at AAA and could be another candidate for some innings in Oakland this season if he performs well and stays healthy. At almost 26, the window is closing on his prospect status but he has enough talent to be a valuable arm if he can avoid future injuries.

ETA: 2020

 

14. Seth Brown, 1B/OF

 

Age: 27

Highest Level: MLB

Brown has two 30+ home run seasons under his belt, including 37 last year in the PCL. Usual PCL-skepticism applies here (also because of Brown’s age) but he did post the 12th best wOBA (.394) and tied for the 11th best wRC+ (126) in the league as well. He also hit enough (.293/.361/.453) in his 20 game audition with the A’s to be interesting despite leaving all that power in Nevada. Brown nailed his audition for a roster spot before spring training was halted (.343/.361/.629 with 1 HR, 8 RBI) and has a great shot to open 2020 with the A’s.

ETA: 2020

 

15. Grant Holmes, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AAA

Though he has been a starter for the majority of his professional appearances, Holmes is more of a bullpen piece at the highest level given his lack of a consistent third offering. He generated a good amount of ground balls in AA (50.7% GB%) but posted below-average strikeout metrics (22.5% K%, 9.5% SwStr%). Those could tick up a bit in a relief-only role where his slider is featured as his main offering. AAA is his likely destination for 2020 but he could figure into the Oakland bullpen at some point, especially if he can further improve his command.

ETA: 2021

 

16. Brayan Buelvas, OF

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: Rookie

The 17-year-old struggled to begin the year, posting a wRC+ of 91 in the Dominican Summer League before receiving a new assignment to the Arizona League in July. Buelvas erupted from that point on, generating a .409 wOBA and 140 wRC+ over 44 games. He led his team in both HR (3) and SB (12) as well. Buelvas is very raw (30.9% SwStr% in AZL) but is a name you should keep track of over the next couple of years. He has the potential to mature into a hitter with several above-average tools and could be a quick riser in system rankings.

ETA: 2025

 

17. Tyler Baum, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

Oakland’s top two picks in last year’s draft both hail from Carolina schools: Logan Davidson from Clemson and Tyler Baum from UNC. Baum whiffed 99 batters in 93 IP during his junior season, posting a 3.87 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in his outings. He impressed in 30.1 IP in A-, walking 5.5% of batters faced while striking out 26.6% (11.5% SwStr%). He has two pitches currently rating as league average offerings (fastball, curveball) that have the potential to be above average ones. A third pitch (changeup) is still a work in progress. Baum has the potential to develop into a back of the rotation option but could flourish as a late-inning reliever if that does not work out.

ETA: 2022

 

18. Greg Deichmann, OF

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

Deichmann’s regular-season production in AA (90 wRC+), while not outstanding, was an improvement over his showing in A+ (77 wRC+) the year before. He pared down his strikeouts slightly (-3.8%), walked a bit more (+0.8%), and swiped a career-high 19 bases (previous high 4). He also managed to knock 11 home runs despite seeing his ISO dip at the new level (.156 in 2019, .193 ISO in 2018) and missing time with a shoulder injury.

All in all, not bad, though still indicative that more maturation is needed in his game. His performance in the fall league, though, could be a sign that he has more together than we saw in Midland. In 23 games, Deichmann led the AFL with nine home runs and slashed .256/.347/.634 overall. He also notched two home runs in spring training before things closed down. Deichmann still needs to clean up his approach at the plate but if he can do that and avoid injury, he could turn into one of the better offensive prospects in the system.

ETA: 2021

 

19. Hogan Harris, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

Posted solid strikeout rates in A+ (26.6% K%) albeit without an impressive SwStr% (10%). Like many young arms, he needs to improve his control (9.2% BB% in A+) if he is going to be anything more than a relief arm down the road. According to his college coach, solid command was one of the main reasons he was a third-round selection in 2018:

“His command was what got him that high. His velocity was always there, and his spin rate was always very high.”

If he can continue to improve both his command and control he has the chance to find a spot in a big-league rotation, though he would have value in the bullpen as well.

ETA: 2022

 

20. Jordan Diaz, 3B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: A-

Diaz posted the highest power production of his short career this past season, setting career marks in ISO (.166), HR (9), and HR/FB% (12%). He needs to clean up his plate discipline (11.8% SwStr%) and would do well to regain some of the walks (-4.2% BB%) he lost moving up to A-. Solid offensive potential if he reaches his ceiling, especially if he continues to grow in power.

ETA: 2023

 

21. Buddy Reed, OF

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

Oakland acquired Reed as a PTBNL in the Jurickson Profar trade, taking a flier with the hopes that he can replicate the promise he showed during his 2018 season at A+ (.399 wOBA, 145 wRC+, 12 HR, 33 SB). That stretch in 2018 remains the only time Reed has posted a +100 wRC+ at any level in his career. Issues making contact (28.6% K%, 16.7% SwStr%) undercut his solid power/speed production (.160 ISO, 23/31 SB’s) in 2019 and keeps him from having consistent success at the plate. Reed has some exciting tools that may go to waste if Oakland cannot help him develop a better approach at the dish.

ETA: 2022

 

22. Lazaro Armenteros, OF

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

I really want Lazaro to succeed because he has a perfect moniker to join Ichiro, etc. in the ‘only first name’ club if he ever has continued success at the MLB level. 2019 was a series of highs and lows for ‘Lazarito’. He popped 17 home runs (.181 ISO) and swiped 22 bases (6 CS), flashing the kind of tools that made him such a hot commodity when he defected in 2016. He also hit way too many ground balls (48.7% GB%) and not enough line drives (12.5% LD%).

Chief among the areas of concern for Armenteros and the A’s are his plate discipline woes. Lazaro struck out an incredible 42.2% of the time last season and backed that up with a hefty 18.1% SwStr%. Only four other players posted higher strikeout rates in A+. A solid walk rate takes some of the sting away (in the same way putting a band-aid on sunburn helps) but I am not a huge proponent of investing in Armenteros until he shows he can rein it in at the plate.

ETA: 2024

 

23. Parker Dunshee, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

Dunshee struggled in the PCL, giving up buckets of HR’s (21 HRA, 17.9% HR/FB%) and producing an unflattering 5.38 ERA (6.21 FIP, 5.89 xFIP) in his 20 appearances. His walks were high (9.3% BB%) and though his strikeout rate (22.6% K%) seems muted, it came with a 13.1% SwStr% (7th among pitchers with at least 90 IP). His stuff would play in the pen and he has the potential for more if he can regain the control he showed in previous levels.

ETA: 2020

 

24. Dustin Fowler, OF

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Fowler did not receive a call to the show last season despite a solid, though slightly underwhelming (only by PCL standards – wRC+ 93) showing in Las Vegas. He swiped 12 bases, smacked 25 home runs (.200 ISO), and posted a solid wOBA (.341) as well. The A’s gave him a shot to compete with Seth Brown and others for time in the outfield this spring but Fowler did little to move the needle there (2/25 in spring training) before being demoted to AAA.  I still believe Fowler can be a solid outfielder but his fantasy value is negligible at this point unless he is dealt or one of Oakland’s outfielders gets injured.

ETA: 2020

 

25. Jeremy Eierman, SS/2B

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A+

Power (13 HR) and speed (11 SB) continued to be a part of Eierman’s game in 2019 but he suffered through disappointing year otherwise. His plate discipline left a lot to be desired (+5.9% K%, 16.3% SwStr%) and his 71 wRC+ displayed just how bad he was compared to his competition. He needs to adjust his fly-ball heavy approach (53.3% FB%) to hit more line drives (9.5% LD%) and must find a way to lower his IFFB% (25.3%) as well.

ETA: 2022

 

26. Austin Allen, C

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

Oakland acquired Allen in the Jurickson Profar deal, adding some solid catching depth to an already stout receiving core. Allen has mashed 20+ HR each of the last three seasons in the minors and has generally posted above-average offensive production at all stops (.419 wOBA and 143 wRC+ in AAA). He does not have the same defensive value as Sean Murphy but should back him up with the potential for some interesting offensive potential if he gets enough playing time.

ETA: 2020

 

27. Zack Erwin, RP

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: AA

Shifting to full-time relief did wonders for Erwin’s strikeout production (+9.1% K%, +2.2% SwStr%), helping him produce a 3.22 ERA (3.06 xFIP) in 58.2 IP. His walk rate stayed flat (6% BB%) and he was able to generate more ground balls (+6.7% GB%) and fewer fly balls (-15.5% FB%). Could get a shot in the pen at some point.

ETA: 2021

 

28. Colin Peluse, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A-

Peluse generated a 5.74 ERA in his final season at Wake Forest, posting mediocre strikeout numbers (71 K in 80 IP) and struggling with the longball (12 HRA in 80 IP). His time in A- went much better. With the Lake Monsters, Peluse had a 2.25 ERA (3.14 xFIP) and avoided some of the pain points that hurt him in college (5.8% BB%, 1 HRA in 24 IP). He gave up a lot of ground balls (49.2% GB%) and could rise quickly through the system as a back-end arm if things go right.

ETA: 2022

 

29. Skye Bolt, OF

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: MLB

Bolt is another in a line of aging (at least for prospects) outfield bats hoping to find consistent playing time in Oakland this season. He offers good speed but has limited power and struggles a bit with strikeouts (27.1% K% in AAA). As mentioned throughout this article, competition for outfield playing time will be high and Bolt does not offer the same upside as others fighting for the same PA’s (he was demoted to AAA in early March). Might build a career as a defensive replacement but does not have much value in fantasy.

ETA: 2020

 

30. Richard Morban, RP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

Morban logged 70.1 IP in A- this season, striking out 23.7% of batters faced and generating the 16th best SwStr% (15.8%) for the level. He pitched well overall (3.38 xFIP) but could cut back his walks a bit (8.9% BB%). Morban leans on a fastball/changeup mix and may be ticketed for a long-relief or other bullpen role if he makes the show.

ETA: 2022

 

31. Jose Colina, C

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Rookie

Even I struggle to overlook a catcher who posts the numbers Colina did in Rookie ball this year. The backstop swatted eight home runs and generated an absurd .522 wOBA and 206 wRC+ in 29 games with Cleveland’s affiliate. Oakland nabbed him in the minor-league portion of the Rule V draft in the hopes that he can continue that type of production in 2020. It bears mentioning that this was Colina’s 5th season in Rookie ball, so this may be nothing more than a 21-year-old beating up on younger pitchers.

ETA: 2024

 

32. Kyle McCann, C/1B

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

McCann has prodigious power… and equally impressive issues making contact (36% K% in A-, 16.3% SwStr%). The 2019 4th round pick struggled overall in A- (94 wRC+, .303 wOBA) and equally split his time between C and 1B. The contact issues are real and could keep him from having any real fantasy impact moving forward. Combine that with a doubtful future behind the plate and you have a bat with several obstacles likely to keep him in check barring further development.

ETA: 2023

 

33. Jesus Zambrano, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

Touched two levels in 2019 though he spent most of his time in AA. He whiffed 28.2% of batters faced in A+ (15.5% SwStr%) and though that rate went down (17.7% K%) upon his promotion to Modesto, he still posted a strong SwStr% (11.9%). The righty also kept the ball on the ground (56.7% GB%) which helped him limit home runs (3.1% HR/FB% in AA, 6.1% HR/FB% in A+). Interesting bullpen piece who could touch AAA in 2020.

ETA: 2021

 

34. Wandisson Charles, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

The 6’6″ righty whiffed batters at an elite pace in all three (AA, A+, A) of his 2019 stops (29.8% K% in AA, 35.8% K% in A+, 37.4% K% in A) and generally left hitters guessing at the plate (12.95 SwStr%, 14.7% SwStr%, 15.4% SwStr%). The hitters were not the only ones guessing. Most of the time, Charles had no idea where his pitches were going (8.8% BB%, 16.5% BB%, 20.2% BB%). Could be a late-inning arm if he ever gains command/control but that is no sure thing.

ETA: 2022

 

35. Devin Foyle, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: A

Foyle has interesting speed (16/24 SBA’s) and has walked at a good rate in both of his minor league stops (13.2% BB% in 2019, 12.4% BB% in 2018). The power is limited (.119 ISO, 6 HR, 5.6% HR/FB%) but the overall offensive gains he showed (+52 wRC+, +.084 wOBA) keep him interesting, though the fantasy outlook right now is limited barring further development in 2020.

ETA: 2022

 

36. Richard Guasch, P

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

While the Cuban import’s control issues were very evident last season (14% BB%), his high strikeout rate (29.2% K%) and ability to make batters miss (13.6% SwStr%) also stood out. A few other things about Guasch stand out. He only allowed one home run in 59.2 IP, did a great job keeping the ball on the ground (46.1% GB%), and possesses a strong slider that should be his main weapon moving forward. While he obviously needs to improve his control/command (6 HBP and 12 WP in 2019) if he is going to remain a rotation candidate, he could do very well in the bullpen if he ends up on that path.

ETA: 2022

 

37. Vimael Machín, SS

 

Age: 26

Highest Level: AAA

Machin had a wild ride in the recent Rule 5 draft, becoming a Philadelphia Phillie for a brief moment before he was dealt to Oakland. The infielder was very selective in AA, walking more than he struck out and posting a minuscule 5.6% SwStr%. He has limited power and a small amount of speed but will have an opportunity to make his mark as a utility infielder for the A’s in 2020. Not much fantasy value here.

ETA: 2020

 

38. Seth Shuman, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

Shuman struck out 114 batters in 91 2/3 IP during his final season at Georgia Southern. Despite those numbers, eliciting ground balls is his calling card and he is unlikely to strike batters out at a high rate as he matures. His first taste of professional ball reflected just that (13.9% K%, 6.7% SwStr%, 46.6% GB%) and overall he enjoyed a successful transition to the A’s system (2.39 ERA, 3.86 xFIP). Should not be on your fantasy radar at this point.

ETA: 2022

 

39. Jhenderson Hurtado, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

Whiffed a lot of batters in most of his innings last season (37.8% K% in A-; 28.4% K% in A) and managed to finish the year in AA. He struggles with walks (11.1% BB% in A-; 9.7% BB% in A) but creates a lot of problems for opposing hitters with his stuff (17.3% SwStr% in A-; 16.2% SwStr% in A). If he can continue to strike out batters at similar rates in AA and above he could be an interesting relief arm, though his control will need to improve.

ETA: 2022

 

40. Jalen Greer, 2B/SS

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

The A’s selected Greer in the 5th round of the 2019 draft and assigned him to Rookie ball after he signed. At 18, he is understandably raw (47.3% K%) and did not flash too much apart from a solid 14.4% BB% in his 42 games. He has several tools that could become interesting as he develops but for now is someone you can ignore in almost all formats.

ETA: 2024

 

41. Jhoan Paulino, SS

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: Rookie

Paulino’s stateside debut saw him notch the first home runs of his professional career but highlighted the work that needs to be done for him to mature into an MLB player. He regressed on the bases (2/8 SBA in 2019, 11/13 SBA in 2018) and struggled mightily with strikeouts (28.5% K%). He has an above-average arm and solid power but will not be fantasy relevant for awhile unless he takes some major steps forward in 2020.

ETA: 2024

 

42. Patrick McColl, 1B

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

After a disappointing junior season at Harvard (.263/.351/.383 with 3 HR), McColl regained the offensive potential he showcased as a sophomore, slashing .387/.448/.707 with 12 home runs in 2019. 31 of his 70 hits went for extra bases and was enough for the A’s to select him in the 10th round of last years’ draft. McColl does not have any professional stats as of yet but could be an interesting bat to track this season.

ETA: 2023

 

43. Jonah Bride, 3B

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: A+

The A’s assigned Bride to A+ in 2019 and he responded by producing an almost identical copy of his 2018 effort in A-. His offensive metrics (.139 ISO, .362 wOBA, 122 wRC+ in 2019; .133 ISO, .373 wOBA, 136 wRC+) were constant, though he did see a rise in his strikeouts (+5.5% K%). How he produces in AA will provide more information on his outlook as he was quite old (24) compared to his competition in A+.

ETA: 2021

 

44. Brady Feigl, RP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: A-

Feigl logged 134.1 IP in Stockton this past season, starting in all by two of his 27 appearances. He yielded a high number of ground balls (55.4% GB%) and did a better job limiting home runs than he did last season (9.8% HR/FB% in 2019, 20% HR/FB% in 2018). His strikeout rate (20.7% K%) was nothing special (11.2% SwStr%) and his walks ticked up a bit with the new level (+1.9% BB%). Feigl has some bullpen potential given the spin rate on his fastball and the potential he has shown with his slider. He also has a doppelganger who was selected by the San Diego Padres in the Rule V draft this season.

ETA: 2023

 

45. Brian Howard, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: AAA

Howard was solid in 23 AA starts last season, limiting HR (5.3% HR/FB%) and posting a 3.25 ERA (3.33 FIP, 4.06 xFIP) overall. His strikeout production was middling (21.7%, 9.6% SwStr%) and he did a solid job limiting walks (7.2% in AA). His brief taste of AAA was less successful though not surprising given it was his first taste of the level. The 6’9″ hurler is a back-end starter at best but could be more productive in the pen should he reach the show.

ETA: 2021

 

46. Dustin Harris, 1B

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A-

Harris has consistently put up above-average production in both of his professional stops, coming in over 30% better than peers at his level in both 2018 (133 wRC+) and 2019 (135 wRC+). He has only one home run to his name so far and was thwarted in all three of his steal attempts this season after successfully taking 9/13 in 2018. Power is key at 1B but more information is needed before we can truly know what to expect from Harris.

ETA: 2024

 

47. Alexander Campos, SS

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Campos was a lottery ticket picked up when Oakland dealt Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners. Injuries kept him from playing in 2019 though he should be healthy heading into 2020. He flashed some interesting potential in Rookie ball two years ago (16.1% BB%, 15.4% K%, 136 wRC+) but the lack of production and health makes him an enigma for the moment.

ETA: 2024

 

48. Kevin Richards, OF

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: A-

Richards finally flashed some power in 2019, mashing the first four home runs of a professional career that began in 2017. He continued to struggle overall (83 wRC+, .286 wOBA), struck out 27.5% of the time, and was unable to display much of his celebrated speed (1/2 SBA). Cutting his ground ball production (-11.3% GB%) is a good sign but Richards remains far away from fantasy relevance at this point in his development.

ETA: 2024

 

49. Shohei Tomioka, SP

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: N/A

After finishing his college career, Tomioka was not selected in the NPB draft and had little promise of a future professional career, until a November tryout landed him a minor-league deal with the Oakland Athletics a few weeks ago. You can read more about him at Call to the Pen. He might not have much fantasy value moving forward but is an interesting story to follow when the 2020 season begins.

ETA: 2023

 

50. Joshwan Wright, 3B

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Rookie

Wright is very young but had a great sophomore effort in Rookie ball this past season, posting a 122 wRC+ as an 18-year-old. He has not shown any power at this point and does not have much potential there given his small stature (5’8″ 170 lbs). No real fantasy relevance at this point unless he continues to develop at higher levels of competition.

ETA: 2025

Photo A.J. Puk by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Zach Ennis (@zachennis on Twitter and Instagram)

Hunter Denson

Hunter currently writes for PitcherList. He once fouled off a pitch against former big-leaguer Jon Lieber, only to strike out spectacularly on the next pitch. Representing the Red Sox Nation out in the Pacific Northwest

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