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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (25) | 2012 (26) | 2011 (28) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (3)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [96-66] AL West
AAA:  [79-65] Pacific Coast League — Sacramento
AA:  [62-78] Texas League — Midland
A+:  [69-71] California League — Stockton
A:  [77-62] Midwest League — Beloit
A(ss):  [33-43] New York-Penn League — Vermont

Arizona Fall League PlayersMesa Solar Sox
Ryan Dull (RHP); Omar Duran (LHP); Seth Frankoff (RHP); Bruce Maxwell (C); Max Muncy (1B); Addison Russell (SS)

Graduated Prospects
Nate Freiman (1B); Stephen Vogt (C); Dan Straily (RHP); Sonny Gray (RHP)

The Run Down
The first rule of Oakland Athletics prospecting is to never write off a pitcher.  These guys are going to be spending the bulk of their time pitching in the cavernous O.co Coliseum, so any starting pitching prospect who’s pushing through the Athletics system is probably worth consideration in fantasy leagues.  That said, the list that follows is a little light on the pitching side of things — with arms like Sonny Gray and Dan Straily graduating their prospect status, there aren’t many high-impact starters left in this group.  Michael Ynoa can certainly fill that void with a healthy year, but for now, the bulk of the fantasy excitement is focused around Addison Russell and Michael Choice.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Addison Russell, SS:
  Drafted 11th overall in 2012, Russell exploded onto the pro-ball scene that year, hitting .369/.432/.594 through 244 PA across three levels.  Coming into 2013, prospect enthusiasts — myself included — were giddy at the idea of Russell playing in the hitter-friendly environment of the California League.  We had big expectations for the 19-year-old, and while his year-end numbers weren’t quite eye-popping (.275/.377/.508, 17 HR, 21 SB), it’s still fair to say that Russell lived up to the hype in his first year of full-season baseball.  This is a 20/20 shortstop who should be MLB-ready before his 21st birthday.  In other words, this is a top 15 overall fantasy baseball prospect, and a guy you want in every dynasty league.  ETA:  Late 2014

2.  Michael Choice, OF:  At age 24, there’s not much left for Choice to prove in the minors.  A consistent producer with 20 HR potential and enough stick to hit north of .300, Choice is ready for an extended look with the big club.  He’ll have to compete for playing time in a crowded Oakland outfield, but he should begin the season on the major league roster.  ETA:  2014

3.  Renato Nunez, 3B:  Renato spent all of 2013 at Low-A Beloit, hitting .258/.301/.423 with 19 homers in his first year of full-season baseball.  His power is legit, and there’s more to come in that department, but the 19-year-old has struggled to minimize swing-and-miss problems, which have left him prone to sustained cold stretches.  Nunez will likely step up to High-A in 2014 where he’ll look to tighten up his approach and find more consistency.  ETA:  2016

4.  Michael Ynoa, RHP:  Ynoa’s outlook is mostly fueled by potential upside rather than by the work he’s done on the field.  After paying huge money for him in 2008, Oakland is anxious to see some return on their investment.  Ynoa has battled injuries since signing — including TJ surgery in 2010 — but the 6-7 righty still features a front-of-the-rotation repertoire.  As soon as Oakland is ready to trust his arm strength and durability, they’ll look to push the 22-year-old through the remaining levels in a hurry.  ETA:  2015

5.  Billy McKinney, OF:  The Athletics drafted McKinney 24th overall last June.  The 19-year-old features plus raw power and superb hand-eye, which is a skill set that will surely garner attention in the fantasy game.  He’ll be a fun one to keep an eye on in Beloit next year.  ETA:  2017

6.  Matt Olson, 1B:  Olson’s best assets are power and approach, which are useful characteristics in a 1B, but he’ll need to maximize those strengths going forward because there is zero defensive flexibility here.  The 19-year-old hit .225/.326/.435 with 23 homers in 134 games with Beloit last season.  Olson will bring his considerable offensive tools to the California League next spring, where he’s a prime candidate to post a 30+ HR year.  ETA:  2016

7.  Raul Alcantara, RHP:  Alcantara generates easy velocity and his fastball has always been graded as a plus weapon.  His secondary stuff, which dragged behind in previous years, took a big leap forward in 2013 as he posted a 3.11 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and a K/9 of 7.1 in 156 IP between Low-A and High-A.  The 20-year-old will enter the upper levels in 2014, allowing us to better gauge his overall upside.  For now he looks like potential #3 starter, but there could be more here.  ETA:  2015

8.  Chris Bostick, 2B:  From a fantasy perspective, you gotta love a bat-first 2B, and with Bostick, that’s precisely what we have.  The 20-year-old hit .282/.354/.452 with 14 HR and 25 SB through 129 games at Low-A Beloit in 2013.  Drafted in the 44th round in 2011 after signability concerns, Bostick has blown away expectations at every stop, delivering tremendous late-round value for the Athletics.  He’ll step up to High-A in 2014.  ETA:  2016

9.  Max Muncy, 1B:  Muncy had himself a bit of a breakout year in 2013, hitting .273/.381/.476 with 25 HR, and 100 RBI in 140 games between High-A and Double-A.  The bulk of that damage came in the hitter-friendly Cal League, which needs to be noted — the 23-year-old drilled 21 homers in 93 games with Stockton, but he’s hit only 8 home runs in 111 career games outside of that league.  Don’t get me wrong here, Muncy can hit, but I’m gonna hold off in dynasty leagues until he shows he has some pop in the upper levels.  ETA:  2015

10.  Daniel Robertson, SS:  With average power and an above average hit tool, Robertson’s fantasy appeal hinges on his ability to stick at shortstop.  At this point in his career, most see him ending up at third before he reaches the bigs.  The 19-year-old will have to significantly exceed offensive expectations if he’s going to be a viable fantasy 3B.  ETA:  2016

  1. Count de Monetball says:
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    Great work as always Scott. I really never knew how much fun it was knowing about the minor leagues. Outside of my favorite team of course. Who is up next?

  2. the rock says:
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    scott. who are your top ten pitching prospects in the whole league that will make the biggest impact this season?
    bradley from arizona has to be top 3? Thanks

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @the rock: Lists of this nature will be up sometime in February… T Walker is the likely #1 with Bradley not far behind… still need much more clarity on rotations & depth charts before I can accurately forecast 2014 prospect impact…

  3. Coco says:
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    Disagree with the assessment on Choice. His power seems to have disappeared and there’s no way of hitting .300+ with that K rate. I’d say .245 with 15 HR is far more likely.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Coco: .300 AVG is probably an aggressive projection for Choice, but he does bring an advanced approach & with that there’s potential to cut down on the the whiffs… Still big time raw power though… 20 HR is probably a modest outlook, IMO. And obviously number I’m using here are peak projections — I’m not saying he’ll post these figures next season.

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