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Oakland’s pitching-friendly park might ding the overall upside of its hitting prospects, but on the flip side the pitching gets a slight boost. The Athletics have a balanced farm with solid prospects both in the box and on the mound. What this organization lacks in blue chip prospects, it makes up for with depth and a slew of players on the verge of joining the show. At the 2015 trade deadline, the A’s turned Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, and Tyler Clippard into three of the prospects listed below. Billy Burns emerged as a table-setter, while fellow graduate Mark Canha was third on the team in both homers and runs batted in. Oakland will pick sixth overall in the 2016 draft.

2015 Graduates
Billy Burns | Kendall Graveman | Mark Canha | Chris Bassitt | Aaron Brooks

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Franklin Barreto, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017| 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats:
364 PA, .302/.333/.500, 13 HR, 8 SB, 4% BB, 18% K

A wrist injury at the end of July cost Barreto the second half of his 2015 season. It’s a shame, because he was on a tear at the time – hitting .375 with six home runs in July alone. The Athletics got their hands on Barreto in the controversial Josh Donaldson trade with Toronto, and we’re about a 1.5/2 years away from seeing the 19-year-old in the majors if he keeps raking. There’s lots of upside at a premium position, although I’d temper power expectations to ~12 homers, especially in Oakland.


Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Matt Olson, 1B/OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
585 PA, .249/.388/.438, 17 HR, 5 SB, 18% BB, 24% K

Olson is one of your typical three-outcome players. He has big power and can find the free pass, but he’ll also have his share of strikeouts. The A’s have added to his versatility by playing him in the outfield and he should surface later this season. We don’t know how his plus power will play in Oakland (and it looks like at least some of his 2014 performance was Cal League driven) but 20 dingers shouldn’t be a long reach.

Chad Pinder, SS | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
522 PA, .317/.361/.486, 15 HR, 7 SB, 5% BB, 20% K

Pinder has now put together two seasons of double-digit homers, and his average actually improved with the move from the Cal League to Double-A. It’s that hit tool that will be the key, as pretty much any middle infielder with a pulse and some pop is going to get noticed in fantasy right now. Personally, I think there’s a lot to like here in deep leagues, and the 2015 Double-A numbers are significant since they came against more advanced pitching.

Renato Nunez, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats:
416 PA, .278/.332/.480, 18 HR, 1 SB, 7% BB, 16% K

Like many prospects, Nunez enjoyed an offensive burst in the Cal League, and he carried some of that success into Double-A during the 2015 season. Against better pitching and in a less hitter-friendly environment, the 21-year-old still hit .278 with 18 homers and 23 doubles. For fantasy, Nunez’s 20-homer ceiling would look better from the hot corner, so hopefully his defense is good enough to stick there and he doesn’t wind up sliding over to first base.

Matt Chapman, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats:
352 PA, .250/.341/.566, 23 HR, 4 SB, 11% BB, 22% K

If Nunez does move off of third base, it won’t be too long before Chapman is ready to take the reins. His plus power was evident this year in the Cal League, and he should spend all of 2016 in the upper levels of the minors. The 22-year-old might even get a cup of coffee towards the end of the year. Chapman is a good name to check in on in dynasty leagues, where a fantasy owner might be convinced that his 2015 numbers were just a product of the Cal League. I like the power upside if that’s how he gears his approach and there should be a relatively high floor even if he doesn’t.

Jacob Nottingham, C/1B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats:
511 PA, .316/.372/.505, 17 HR, 2 SB, 6% BB, 19% K

Nottingham became a household name after the Scott Kazmir trade with Houston. He’s more of an offensive-minded catcher, which makes him the type we want for fantasy leagues. The downside is that it means he takes a little longer to develop. He had reps at first base prior to the trade, so there are other ways to get his bat in the lineup if Oakland doesn’t think he can be an everyday backstop. 2017 might be an aggressive ETA, but if he continues to have success in Double-A, I don’t see why he wouldn’t continue to chug along towards Oakland.

Sean Manaea, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats:
74.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 10.9 K/9

Manaea came to Oakland in the Ben Zobrist trade with Kansas City. The 23-year-old lefty’s arsenal is built around a double-plus fastball, but also features a slider and change. Manaea missed the first half of the season with an ab issue, limiting him to just 74 innings. There’s #3 starter upside and enough strikeout potential to make him a good target in fantasy.

Joey Wendle, 2B | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats:
618 PA, .289/.323/.442, 10 HR, 12 SB, 4% BB, 18% K

Wendle fits this tier perfectly. He’s close to the majors – with average tools across the board that might be a better fit in a utility role. Now 25, Wendle should get a good look in 2016 and his middle infield eligibility might be useful in deeper formats. With enough at-bats, he could kiss double-digit homers and steals.

Dillon Overton, LHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats:
126 IP, 3.43 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 7.6 K/9

Overton was still coming off Tommy John surgery to start 2015, so his numbers should probably be taken with a grain of salt. He has good control, and while none of his pitches are well above average, his feel for them should help him succeed as a starter. Right now he projects more as a back-end guy who doesn’t hurt your ratios, but once he’s another year away from surgery that projection might seem conservative.

Sean Nolin, LHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats:
47.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Nolin had the injury bug in 2015, but could start the 2016 season in the Oakland rotation. Another piece in the Donaldson trade, Nolin has average stuff that fits best on a deep league roster. Like Overton, he won’t help you a ton in strikeouts, but won’t kill your ratios either. In that park, I’d take a gamble on pretty much any Oakland starter with a job.

Casey Meisner, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A/A+ 
2015 Stats:
143.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

If Meisner reaches his mid-rotation ceiling, the Clippard trade is going to end up being a nice deal for Oakland. The 20-year-old split 2015 between Single and High-A, keeping his ERA and walk rates in check at both stops. Meisner is tall, skinny, and what scouts call “projectable” so there’s a chance he just keeps getting better. He’s already shown a velocity bump.

Rangel Ravelo, 1B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats:
246 PA, .304/.377/.439, 3 HR, 1 SB, 9% BB, 17% K

Wrist surgery sidelined Ravelo to start the 2015 season. He didn’t project for a ton of power to begin with, but obviously that wasn’t good news for his development. He got back on track in the second half, and should split this season between Triple-A and the majors. While Ravelo is a decent hitter with good plate discipline, the power just isn’t there to make him a prime fantasy target at first base.

Others: Jaycob Brugman, Ryon Healy, Raul Alcantara, Bruce Maxwell, B.J. Boyd


Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.

Yairo Munoz, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats:
565 PA, .260/.306/.397, 13 HR, 11 SB, 6% BB, 15% K

Munoz spent the majority of 2015 in Single-A, where he hit nine of his 13 homers. The added pop was another step forward for the 20-year-old, who could be a power/speed threat at shortstop down the road. He should be facing Double-A pitching by mid-2016 if not sooner.

Richie Martin, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A(ss)
2015 Stats:
226 PA, .237/.353/.342, 2 HR, 7 SB, 11% BB, 21% K

The A’s selected Martin in the first round of the 2015 draft (20th overall). He’s more of an on-base/speed profile, and there’s probably never going to be more than 8-10 homers in his bat. He’d be a good fit at the top of a lineup though, and one day contribute average, runs, and steals in fantasy. He could move pretty quickly through the minors.

Sandber Pimentel, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats:
471 PA, .243/.335/.380, 13 HR, 1 SB, 11% BB, 22% K

Pimentel has some swing-and-miss in his game that makes him a project, but he also has plus power. 2015 was his first full season of pro ball, so at the moment this is a name that you don’t really need to know unless you play in one of those massive sim-style leagues.

Others: Skye Bolt, Mikey White, Dakota Chalmers, Jesus Lopez, Jose Chavez


2016 Minor League Preview Index

   
  1. J-FOH says:
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    Overton, that walk rate post Tommy John is very nice….very very nice.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      for sure

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Mike: one of the last things to.come back post Tommy John is control

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          yup

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Mike: not even a yuptcha or a yuppers? Mike, what I’m trying to say is his control is real impressive coming off TJ.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              haha yeah I understand what you’re saying

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Mike: no but he has good control like a cheaper closer

  2. Ah Oak. The big farm team.

    Damn good write up. Which top 2 or 3 are you most interested in watching as the year develops? Wendle? Pinder?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks! Pinder, yeah…I’m also curious about Chapman’s power in Double-A, and then I think Munoz is one to watch too

  3. Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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    Great job as always Mike! If you were going into a first time dynasty league draft with 40 man roster’s and potential to keep players forever, what would be some of your favorite resources for ranking players, determining player mix of (ex. high-end talent versus close to the majors, minor league Prichard/batters, etc), it’s a standard 5×5 roto leagues 12 teams.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks!

      razzball.com ;)

      but if you have to stray, I’d look up Bret Sayre’s work

      • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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        @Mike: of course reservoir is my first and primary source, as you guys do amazing work and it’s more like art. As I really haven’t followed much of dynasty work on here does anybody put together expanded dynasty rankings seasonally on here?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          haha thanks, I was just having fun with ya

          J-FOH is actually going to be working on dynasty ranks this offseason, so stay tuned for that :)

          in the past we’ve done keeper ranks…last year’s top 100 are here:

          http://razzball.com/top-100-keepers-2015-beyond/

        • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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          @Gray’s Sports Almanac: what the hell is reservoir.com I’m meant razzball of course

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            lol I got the gist of it :)

            • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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              @Mike: J-FOH is pretty razznasty isn’t he!

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                haha yup

    • james says:
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      @Gray’s Sports Almanac:

      Fangraphs.com has good prospect stuff, but their head prospect guru got snatched up by a MLB team (I believe the braves) recently, so I do not know how good the new guy is (he has been around the site, so it will not be terrible, but may not be as amazing as the archives would suggest).

      Dynasty Guru is a solid place that, like here, actually has people who develop their own opinions instead of following every other industry list.

      mlb.com through their milb stuff is actually better than you would think. it has a top 100 and top 30 for each team, along with a scouting report (short but gives pretty decent grades) and ETA. Good place to double check if a guy is high on lists for baseball for defense since they give tool grades (so a FV 55 guy with a rocket arm and great range may really only put up meh numbers- Kevin Keirmyer sp? comes to mind).

      baseball America does a really really great top 100 list that a lot of people view as the best prospect rankings out there, but it is a real life list, and everything else they do is behind a pay wall (as far as sites behind a paywall for this, baseball America is one of the best for in depth stuff, so it could be worth it depending how far down the rabbit hole you are going).

      And last but really first is here, Razzball. Mike gives out great advice and it is written for fantasy baseball first and real life a mile down the road. You will not get a top 100 with a guy who has a high floor but a ceiling of a meh everyday regular. the goal is to find the guys who can actually help on a fantasy team (yes Wendel has value, but at best in fantasy he does what semien did last year, the floor is really utility infielder though)

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        thanks for the kind words James :)

      • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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        @james: Thanks James, that is a lot of good resources….

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Pretty cool to see Superintendent Chalmers’s kid move up the rankings

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Super Nintendo Chalmers!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Ralphie!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          I’m learnding!

  5. Jason says:
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    In the middle of the inaugural minor league draft for a 20 team league. Coming up on pick 120..I’ve narrowed the list to five: M. Fulmer, verdugo, Randolph, Aiken, or chapman.

    Could you rank them? Of course any other advice is always appreciated. Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go Randolph, Chapman, Verdugo

    • Jason says:
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      all tier two athletics are available minus manea as well.

  6. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    I know that Oak-town is Nor-Cal and all but are they trying to stockpile talent with hippie names?

    Skye, Dakota, Sandber, and Rangel sound like kids raised on a commune.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      haha, yeah I really enjoyed Skye Bolt

  7. Malicious Phenom says:
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    Hey prospect Mike, hope your off-season is going well..

    Here is my keep forever team..I traded Zack Wheeler for Wil Myers, thoughts?

    C – Travis D’arnaud NYM – C
    1B – Miguel Cabrera DET – 1B
    2B – Addison Russell CHC – 2B,SS
    3B- Todd Frazier CIN– 1B,3B
    SS – Starlin Castro CHC – 2B,SS
    CI – Miguel Sano MIN – 3B
    MI – Ian Desmond WAS – SS
    OF – Justin Upton SD – OF
    OF – Yoenis Céspedes NYM – OF
    OF – Matt Kemp SD – OF
    U- Jay Bruce CIN – OF
    U – Gregory Polanco PITT – OF

    BENCH:
    Jurickson Profar TX – 2B/SS
    Javier Báez CHC – 2B,SS,3B
    Jorge Soler CHC – OF
    Wil Myers SD – 1B/OF
    José Reyes COL– SS
    Albert Pujols LAA – 1B (DL)

    STARTING PITCHERS:
    Félix Hernández SEA – SP
    Stephen Strasburg WAS – SP
    Johnny Cueto KC – SP
    Masahiro Tanaka NYY – SP
    Kenley Jansen LAD – RP
    David Robertson CWS – RP
    Scott Kazmir HOU– P
    Michael Pineda NYY – P
    Carlos Rodon CWS – P
    Luis Severino NYY – P

    BENCH:
    Trevor Bauer CLE – SP
    Taijaun Walker SEA – SP
    Lance McCullers HOU – SP
    Alex Wood LA – SP
    Lucas Giolito WAS – SP (NA)
    Julio Urias LA – SP (NA)

    Also would appreciate your thoughts on the Braves – Halos trade.

    Cheers mate

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      you too MP :)

      I’m in favor of getting hitters for pitchers 99% of the time, so I like the deal for you.

      If the arms the Braves got reach their ceilings, I like it for them. Not sure they will, and Angels got a great shortstop, so I’d give the Halos the points on this one.

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