Oakland Athletics Top 32 Prospects

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Oakland Athletics. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Athletics Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Mason Miller 25.7 MLB SIRP 2024 50
2 Jacob Wilson 22.1 AA SS 2026 50
3 Luis Morales 21.6 A+ SP 2027 50
4 Joe Boyle 24.7 MLB SIRP 2024 45
5 Royber Salinas 23.1 AA SP 2024 45
6 Steven Echavarria 18.8 A SP 2028 45
7 Darell Hernaiz 22.8 MLB SS 2024 40+
8 Max Muncy 21.7 AAA SS 2025 40+
9 Grant Holman 23.9 AA SIRP 2025 40+
10 Denzel Clarke 24.0 AA CF 2025 40+
11 Carlos Pacheco 19.5 R CF 2028 40+
12 Mitch Spence 26.0 MLB MIRP 2024 40
13 Brady Basso 26.6 AA SP 2025 40
14 Joey Estes 22.6 MLB SP 2024 40
15 J.T. Ginn 25.0 AA SP 2024 40
16 Freddy Tarnok 25.5 MLB MIRP 2024 40
17 Daniel Susac 23.0 AA C 2027 40
18 Ryan Lasko 21.9 A CF 2026 40
19 Jose Ramos 17.6 R CF 2030 40
20 Cole Miller 19.0 R SP 2028 40
21 Myles Naylor 19.1 A 3B 2028 40
22 Brett Harris 25.9 MLB 3B 2024 40
23 Edgar Montero 17.5 R 3B 2030 40
24 Alex Speas 26.2 MLB SIRP 2024 40
25 Richard Fernandez 21.6 R SIRP 2027 40
26 Stevie Emanuels 25.3 AAA SIRP 2025 35+
27 Kyle McCann 26.4 MLB 1B 2024 35+
28 Will Simpson 22.7 A+ 1B 2027 35+
29 Erick Matos 17.3 R SP 2030 35+
30 Ryan Cusick 24.5 AAA SIRP 2025 35+
31 Jackson Finley 23.6 A SP 2027 35+
32 Will Johnston 23.4 A+ SP 2027 35+
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50 FV Prospects

1. Mason Miller, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Gardner-Webb (OAK)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
80/80 70/70 60/60 45/50 99-101 / 104

Miller has been so dominant early in 2024 that as of list publication, he has a negative FIP. While you might justifiably wonder why he’s “only” ranked where he is on the Top 100 as he reaches graduation, please recall that Miller’s injury history is lengthy and severe. He’s been a Top 100 guy at the site for each of the last couple of years because of his monster stuff but has been relegated to the back of the list due to concerns around his health, which were relevant as recently as last season, when Miller was shelved for most of the year with a UCL sprain. He was shifted to the bullpen upon his return and has been maybe the nastiest reliever in baseball so far this season, but that health history is an inextricable part of his profile, and it wasn’t so long ago that he and Daniel Espino were birds of a feather in this regard. Miller has somehow had a velo spike and is averaging 100 mph with his fastball early in 2024. He’s has pared down his repertoire (cutter scrapped, changeup de-emphasized) and is now almost exclusively a fastball/slider guy. Miller’s slider has crazy vertical depth for an 89 mph pitch. He has elite closer stuff and should be among the more dominant relievers in baseball for as long he he can stay healthy.

2. Jacob Wilson, SS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Grand Canyon (OAK)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/70 30/35 20/30 55/55 45/60 60

It will take quite a career for Wilson to surpass Tim Salmon as the best player in Grand Canyon University baseball history, but last year, the son of former slick-fielding shortstop Jack Wilson became the highest-drafted prospect in the history of the Phoenix school. As a sophomore, Wilson had the lowest strikeout rate among qualified college hitters at a microscopic 2.8%, and only swung and missed a total of 18 times as a junior. He posted a whopping 10-to-1 ball-in-play-to-whiff ratio during the 2023 season, ended his college career hitting .361/.419/.558, and became the sixth pick in a loaded draft. Despite his collegiate success, Wilson was a fairly divisive amateur prospect. He was rail thin, and an overwhelming majority of his contact was incredibly light and on the ground. The concerns about his ultimate ceiling were similar to doubts about Nick Madrigal‘s ability to get to meaningful power. Wilson is a better defensive player than Madrigal and arguably has room for strength on his frame, which he appeared to be actualizing when he reported to camp this spring.

Wilson’s has incredible barrel accuracy, flattening his path to impact pitches at the top of the zone and dipping to scoop low ones, which he often drives the other way. He can poke pitches on the outer edge to the opposite field, but he does most of his extra-base damage (which is rare) to his pull side. Even though he looks visibly stronger, Wilson’s 2024 contact is still pretty light. He may only ever have a one-note offensive profile, but it’s the most important note, and a very loud note. One wrinkle that has cropped up here is that Wilson has become ridiculously aggressive in the box and is walking at a 1.1% clip as of list publication. Small walk rates are common among players who make high-end rates of contact; guys like Luis Arraez, Madrigal, David Fletcher, Martín Prado, and countless others have had varying degrees of big league success despite not walking very much. What separates Wilson from many players of this ilk is that he’s a quality shortstop defender, and he has better long-term athletic projection than many of them because of his lanky build. Erick Aybar and Andrelton Simmons (Wilson’s defense isn’t nearly that good) are more precise performance comps for what I expect from Wilson’s arc. He should stabilize Oakland’s shortstop situation within the next couple of years but he doesn’t have monstrous ceiling.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Cuba (OAK)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 35/55 30/45 96-98 / 100

The A’s frequently have late-market bonus pool space left to target Asian and Cuban players in the international amateur space, and that enabled them to sign Morales, who they inked for a whopping $3 million last year. Morales began his A’s career in the DSL, but he was so dominant that he was sent to Arizona after just four outings. He didn’t spend long there, nor in Stockton, and ended the 2023 season at High-A Lansing having pitched across four different levels. In total, Morales threw 44 innings, surrendered just 49 baserunners, and struck out 53. He began 2024 in extended spring training with a shoulder impingement before he was sent out at the very end of April. The linked video of Morales shows one of his extended outings. He looks the same as he did in 2023, which is equal parts encouraging (because he’s coming off a shoulder issue) and disappointing (because he’s still more a thrower than pitcher).

The raw material Morales brings to the table is exceptional. He has an ideal pitcher’s frame: a broad-shouldered 6-foot-3, tapered at the waist, with oodles of physical projection like a young Zack Wheeler. His arm speed looks like it should break the sound barrier and produces easy upper-90s cheese. Morales also has a hellacious two-plane curveball in the 81-84 mph range, and you can go wild projecting on his changeup because of his athleticism and arm speed.

But Morales’ pitchability and on-mound poise need to improve. He works at a breakneck pace that often feels counter productive. He gets the sign from his catcher and lets it rip, doesn’t seem to be executing any kind of plan or competent sequencing, and his command is pretty scattered. In his last start prior to list publication, there was an awkward exchange when, during a third inning mound visit, Morales held the baseball out to pitching coach Don Schulze as if Schulze (who, again, is the pitching coach) was there to remove him. Instead, Schulze said something to Morales, who nodded; Schulze gave him an attaboy pat on the shoulder before returning to the dugout. Three pitches later Morales was removed in the middle of the at-bat, seemingly because of his pitch count, which he appeared confused and surprised by. It was a bizarre exchange emblematic of Morales’ somewhat spacey on-field presence. He and the A’s have plenty of time to develop his feel for these things, as his 40-man timeline doesn’t start until after the 2026 season.

Morales has this grade and Top 100 ranking because of his upside, which is considerable. He looks and moves like a top-of-the-rotation starter, and his stuff gives him a late-inning relief floor if he only barely develops as a strike-thrower. Were he a college prospect, Morales would be a top five pick (give or take) in most drafts because of his raw ability. Oakland’s track record of optimizing pitchers isn’t the best, but scouting and predicting aren’t the same thing. Morales isn’t racing to the big leagues and is definitely more of a Las Vegas A’s prospect than an Oakland A’s prospect, one who will probably spend most of the next three years trying to grow and improve as a craftsman.

45 FV Prospects

4. Joe Boyle, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Notre Dame (CIN)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/70 60/60 60/60 20/30 96-99 / 100

Boyle has had huge stuff for his entire life as a prospect, but he’s also been very wild. He pitched exclusively as a reliever at Notre Dame and walked well over a batter per inning there, at times so wild he was benched. The Reds moved him to the rotation in pro ball and dramatically altered Boyle’s arm slot, which is now much more vertical. But Boyle still walked around eight batters per 9 IP during his time in the Reds system before he was traded to Oakland for lefty specialist Sam Moll at the 2023 deadline. He mostly pitched at Double-A in 2023 but broke 2024 camp with the big league club.

Boyle will sit 96-97 and touch 100 as a starter, and will flash three plus breaking balls — a low-90s slider and an 80-85 mph curveball — which both have vicious movement. He is often nowhere close to the zone with any of them, and is probably going to lead the majors in walks in 2024, but his size and flexibility are both typical of a big league starter. It makes a ton of sense for the A’s to let Boyle try to start for as long as possible. The opportunity costs are relatively low, and a long-term attempt gives them the best shot at capturing Boyle’s peak upside down the road by dealing with his horrendous strike throwing now. Big pitchers who throw really hard tend to develop a little later, and so even though the A’s haven’t typically been great at developing arms lately, Boyle’s shot to become a starter is arguably greater in Oakland/Vegas than other places where he would have already been put in the bullpen. He’s too crude for me to forecast that things will actually click, which is why I have Boyle listed as a single-inning reliever, but I still think Oakland’s line of play is correct here.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (ATL)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 60/60 45/50 40/45 93-97 / 98

Salinas came to Oakland in the Sean Murphy trade. He dealt with a 2023 elbow injury that was sandwiched between dominant stretches with a nearly 40% strikeout rate and 7% walk rate, capped by a great Fall League showing. Early in 2024, Salinas’ walk rate has again been elevated, but I still believe in his athleticism and pitch utility enough to consider him a potential no. 4 starter.

The physique of the barrel-chested Salinas (who looks a little more svelte early in 2024) belies his athleticism somewhat. He gets way down the mound and generates pretty ridiculous hip/shoulder separation for a huskier guy, but he doesn’t demonstrate that athleticism in other keys ways, such as how he moves off the mound to play defense. He often looks imbalanced and not well-connected to the ground as he completes his delivery, which impacts his release consistency; some of his errant fastball control might be due to how much effort Salinas requires to get as far down the mound as he does. As a pretty athletic 23-year-old, this might still improve, and I think aspects of his repertoire will allow him to work more efficiently than he has to this point.

For instance, Salinas could throw either of his excellent breaking balls for early-count strikes more often. Both of Royber’s breakers (a late-moving 85-88 mph SOB slider and a low-80s rainbow curveball) have generated absurd miss rates north of 50% combined between 2023 and 2024, and have enough movement to play in the strike zone even when they’re anticipated. Salinas also showed both four-seamer (sometimes with natural cut) and one-seam sinker fastball variants in the fall, and mixing those should help him generate weak early-count contact. I saw good changeups in the Fall League, but they’ve barely been part of Salinas’ mix early in 2024. This guy is on the 40-man roster now and has a chance to debut this year if he can curb his walks. I’d greatly prefer Salinas to stay limber and loose rather than become tightly wound like some baseball athletes tend to as they drop weight. This visual detail is important to monitor if Salinas continues to slim, as it appears he recently has. A balanced and flexible lower body is integral to my command projection here.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2023 from Millburn HS (NJ) (OAK)
Age 18.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 55/60 45/55 20/50 90-94 / 96

This lanky righty from Jersey had a velo spike during his senior spring, and after sitting 90-93 mph during his pre-draft summer, he was touching 95-96 en route to state Player of the Year as a senior. Even though aspects of his fastball plane and shape were clearly not optimal, Echavarria’s breaking ball quality made him one of the more exciting high school pitchers in the 2023 draft, and he signed for $3 million rather than go to Florida. He pitched during 2023 instructs (that’s where the linked video is from) and in 2024 extended spring training before making his affiliate debut at Stockton a few days before list publication.

Echavarria’s breaking ball is nasty. His arm slot makes it so that pitch is only ever descending; it doesn’t float up out of his hand in an identifiable way. Last year, it was a plus curveball in the upper-70s; this spring, it’s had more of a slider look in the 84-86 mph range. The latter was deployed in a shorter outing as Echavarria got going in Arizona, and he may well have two breaking balls now. I thought he flashed plus mid-80s changeups on the showcase circuit in 2022, but he’s barely thrown the pitch during my scout sources’ looks this spring. His fastball strikes are inconsistent, and sometimes he spins on the heel of his front foot as it catches his motion and he loses his line to the plate. It’s pretty typical for pitchers with levers this long to scatter their fastballs at this age, and Echavarria’s control is fine enough and his delivery smooth enough to project him as a starter. His frame is projectable on paper, but I’m inclined to round down on his fastball growth a little bit. This isn’t a broadly built 6-foot-4 guy; he’s 6-foot-1 with narrow, rounded shoulders. If he can simply maintain the mid-90s heat he’s shown so far (he was 92-96 in his first Low-A outing) under a pro load of innings, it will be a win. He’s still quite a long way from having proven he can do that, but there’s a mid-rotation future here if he can.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Americas HS (TX) (BAL)
Age 22.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 45/55 35/45 50/45 45/45 55

Hernaiz was drafted at 17, but his pro career didn’t really get underway until he was 19 because the pandemic squashed what would have been his first full season. Considering that and how hastily Hernaiz has been promoted by Baltimore (who traded him for Cole Irvin) and Oakland, his .290/.356/.418 career line in the minors is quite impressive. Hernaiz spent 2023 split between Double- and Triple-A and performed very well (133 wRC+ at Midland, 97 wRC+ in Vegas) considering he was the age of a college prospect. He has had a consistent and impressive bat-to-ball performance through the minors, with strikeout rates in the 15-17% range at every level.

Hernaiz’s best swings are electrifying. He’s an explosive rotational athlete with impressive power for a 22-year-old infielder. So why not a bigger evaluation here? Hernaiz is fairly chase-prone and his bat path takes forever to get into the hitting zone. He tends to be late against velocity and either drive the ball the other way or swing through it entirely, and a lot of his contact comes on the ground. Combine this with a fairly high chase rate, and Hernaiz will have to make some adjustments in order to hit like an impact big leaguer. On defense, he has the speed and range to play shortstop, but his hands are inconsistent and he has a non-traditional throwing stroke. Most shortstops get on top of the baseball when they throw, especially on throws from the hole, while Hernaiz’s arm stroke tends to be long and low.

There’s a ton of physical ability here (led by the bat speed and plate coverage) and Hernaiz is still very young. The situation in Oakland is such that he’ll be given a ton of runway to develop at the big league level. He’s effectively being asked to re-learn third base (where he last played regularly while he was an Orioles prospect) and deal with major league-quality pitching after just one whole season above A-ball. Things are probably going to be ugly for a little while (he’s hitting .194/.261/.194 with a 41 wRC+ as of list publication), but Hernaiz could turn into an Ezequiel Duran type whose versatility and power drive an impactful profile despite his other flaws.

8. Max Muncy, SS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Thousand Oaks HS (OAK)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 30/45 50/50 50/55 60

Things stabilized for Muncy late in 2023 after he was striking out a ton at the start of the season. Below-average rates of contact will probably always be part of his game, and ultimately will be what funnels him into more of a utilityman role than an everyday one. Muncy has good lateral plate coverage but struggles with well-executed stuff at the top and bottom of the zone. He should hit enough to get to some of his average power, which he has worked hard to develop since entering pro ball as a pretty skinny, lighter-hitting guy.

Muncy is also a lock to stay at shortstop. The quickness of his exchange and Muncy’s arm strength are especially notable. Right now it’s important for Muncy to improve his defensive versatility. Aside from two games at second base in 2022, he has only ever played shortstop in pro ball until early this year, when he’s played some second and third. He looked pretty uncomfortable in his first game at the hot corner, but the physical ability to play all over the infield is here. He’s tracking for a late-2025 debut.

9. Grant Holman, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Cal (OAK)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 55/60 50/55 93-95 / 97

A two-way player as an underclassman at Cal, Holman transitioned to pitching (as a starter) full-time in his junior year. He enjoyed a velo spike as he was moved to the bullpen in pro ball and is currently presiding as the closer at Double-A Midland. Holman is a three-pitch reliever. He sits 93-95 and hurls his gigantic frame directly at the plate, enabling him to bully the zone with average velocity but plus extension. Both of his secondary pitches are capable of missing bats, and at times, his slider has very impressive two-plane movement for a pitch that bends in around 87 mph. Still, his changeup is his most consistent and dangerous offering. It has bat-missing sink, and Holman tends to command it to enticing locations. His ability to attack hitters of either handedness separates Holman from the generic middle relief group in the 40 FV tier. He has a shot to be a more important bullpen cog.

10. Denzel Clarke, CF

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Cal State Northridge (OAK)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 60/70 40/50 70/70 50/60 45

Clarke, whose mother was a Canadian Olympian, was perhaps the first ever athlete to blow up at the MLB Draft Combine, as he wowed during BP and athletic testing in 2021. A small school college prospect, Clarke is your quintessential athletic developmental project, even now at age 24. He has an XL NFL wide receiver’s frame at a lean 6-foot-4, 220 pounds; it takes him just a handful of strides to glide from base to base, and he has plus raw power. Where Clarke has developed most as a pro is in center field. He tends to have awkward interactions with the corner defenders, but he’s otherwise grown into a solidly average big league center fielder. His feel for hitting has not really progressed, with many of his swings still looking poorly timed and mechanically awkward. His tools are so loud, and his career profile is so rich with late-bloomer qualities, that I think there’s still a chance things will click enough for Clarke to have a meaningful peak, even if it’s for just a couple of years. Whether it’s through developmental instruction or simply developing better feel for his body as he matures, Clarke is built in such a way that he should have a long physical prime that gives him chance after chance to find it. The center field defense will help ensure that.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Venezuela (OAK)
Age 19.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 35/45 20/40 60/60 40/50 50

The standout of the A’s 2024 extended spring training group was Pacheco, who had two relatively pedestrian seasons of DSL statistical performance coming into the year. He’s a compact speedster with a big time motor and super athletic swing. The springy, tightly-wound Pacheco uses the ground well in the box. He’s on the smaller side, and there are a lot of young Randy Arozarena similarities to Pacheco’s build and style of play. He is going to wreak havoc on the lower minors with spray, speed, and the way he presses the action on the bases. His speed gives him a shot to develop in center field, and Pacheco probably has a better shot to stay there than he does of adding big power, but that was once also true of Arozarena. This is a well-rounded prospect with catalytic qualities primed for an effective summer in Arizona.

40 FV Prospects

12. Mitch Spence, MIRP

Drafted: 10th Round, 2019 from South Carolina-Aiken (NYY)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 50/50 30/45 90-94 / 95

Spence started in college, began his pro career as a reliever, then moved back into the rotation in 2021. Blocked by the Yankees’ starter depth ahead of him, he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft in 2022 and 2023, and was selected by Oakland in the latter year. A durable righty with odd looking but fairly effective stuff, Spence is a consistent strike-thrower and innings-eater who the A’s have deployed in long relief so far in 2024. In 2023, he worked an incredible 163 innings at Triple-A Scranton, posting a 4.47 ERA, 21.8% K% and 7.5% BB%, and it’s plausible he could return to the rotation again, but Spence has had a bit of a velo spike coming out of the bullpen (about two ticks) and is thriving in his current role as a grounder-getting fireman. His fastball features natural cut and sometimes sink, and Spence also has a two-seam version that only sinks. Even though he’s always gotten a pretty good helping of groundballs, Spence gave up a whopping 30 homers in 2023, at a ridiculous 20.5% HR/FB rate. That hasn’t been an issue so far in 2024. In addition to his naturally cutting heater, Spence has two rock solid breaking balls that generate the lion’s share of his swing-and-miss. His low-80s curveball has nearly perfect 12-to-6 shape, while his mid-80s slider (perhaps explicitly a sweeper) has traditional two-plane break. He appears to have scrapped his changeup, but his curveball’s vertical action makes it a viable weapon against lefty batters. So far he looks like a good Rule 5 pick and is slated to play a swingman/backend starter role for the A’s the next several years.

13. Brady Basso, SP

Drafted: 16th Round, 2019 from Oklahoma State (OAK)
Age 26.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
40/40 55/60 45/55 45/55 91-94 / 96

Two of the first three full seasons of Basso’s pro career were totally wiped out by the pandemic and a 2021 Tommy John. He had a 2023 breakout at High-A Lansing, where Basso continued strong peripheral performance (26% K%, 6.4% BB%) and was promoted to Midland down the stretch. He made five good starts there and was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Basso is back at Midland and his strikeout rate has taken a leap early in 2024, though his stuff remains about the same. The vert slot lefty sits about 92 with downhill plane, and mixes in a cutter and curveball, with the latter being Basso’s best bat-misser. Basso could use a changeup to give him something with some arm-side movement, but his command (and the way the line on his fastball sets up his other pitches) allows him to sequence effectively and keep hitters off his fairly vulnerable heater. He’s a prospect of the fifth starter/swingman variety.

14. Joey Estes, SP

Drafted: 16th Round, 2019 from Paraclete HS (CA) (ATL)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/40 30/40 45/50 50/60 90-94 / 95

Estes came over from Atlanta as part of the package for Matt Olson. He’s a stable, low-variance starting pitching prospect thanks to his command and fastball life, which helps the heater play like a plus pitch despite it only sitting about 92. Estes has never had especially good secondary stuff. For a while it was feasible that, given his on-mound athleticism and consistent delivery, he might develop a better changeup. That hasn’t really happened, and all of Estes’ secondary pitches generate below-average swing-and-miss. He’ll pepper the top of the zone with his cutter (which plays pretty well with his fastball up there) and show you a 78-82 mph slider that tends to finish on the plate. His secondaries tend to finish in the zone, which helps him avoid walks but hinders his ability to miss bats. Command of a good fastball tends to go a long way, which is why Estes is projected as a low-ceiling fifth starter. He should get enough big league run this year to graduate from rookie status.

15. J.T. Ginn, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Mississippi State (NYM)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/50 45/45 40/50 55/60 92-94 / 95

Good news here, as Ginn has looked healthy for the first time in a while during the spring of 2024. He has had a litany of arm issues during his time as a prospect. He underwent Tommy John surgery just before the shutdown in 2020, though that didn’t deter the Mets from selecting him in the second round of that year’s draft. He was traded to Oakland for Chris Bassitt before the 2022 season. Forearm soreness cost him a chunk of that season, and he showed reduced velocity and poor command upon his return, only to be shut down two more times in quick succession with forearm soreness last year. Early on in 2024, Ginn has more often been in the 92-95 mph range and his command has rebounded. He has a drop-and-drive delivery and a vertical arm slot, but he tends to work with sink and not ride, atypical of a delivery like his. The latter part is most important because Ginn needs to have pinpoint command for his modest secondary stuff to play. He has an average 83-85 mph slider, can lob his curveball in the zone for a strike, and has a firm, upper-80s changeup that he doesn’t yet have feel for post-injury. Ginn looks to be in great shape, and the balance, cadence, and consistency of his delivery make me buy that he’ll command the baseball well enough to be a fifth starter.

16. Freddy Tarnok, MIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Riverview HS (FL) (ATL)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 45/45 55/60 40/40 93-95 / 98

Tarnok came to Oakland as part of the return for Sean Murphy and hasn’t pitched much since due to multiple lower body injuries and a shoulder strain. He only threw 36.1 innings in 2023, including five big league appearances, and has yet to pitch in 2024 because he’s on the IL with hip inflammation. A lanky former two-way player (a common theme in Atlanta’s drafts), Tarnok creates an extreme downhill angle with his delivery because of his open stride, tilted spin, and high arm slot. His fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range and was peaking at 98 during his big league outings in 2023, but the downhill nature of that pitch tends to cause it to play down. He pitches off of both breaking balls frequently as a way of mitigating this, peppering the top of the strike zone with sliders that look like high fastballs until they drop into the zone. Tarnok’s plus mid-80s changeup is of the screwball variety and garnered a 47% whiff rate in 2022, the last time we had a large pitch data sample from him. It’s his best swing-and-miss option of his four-pitch arsenal. His health track record suggests Tarnok should be relegated to the bullpen when he’s healthy, though his repertoire depth gives him multi-inning potential.

17. Daniel Susac, C

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Arizona (OAK)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/55 35/45 30/30 40/50 45

Susac is officially in Druw Jones territory, as he’s striking out a whopping 42% of the time at Double-A Midland and is entirely too late on most of the fastballs he sees. Frequent readers of this site will know that I tend to be slower to move off of catching prospects because the physical grind of the position can cause their offense to tank for several weeks at a time. Even during a successful 2023 season at High-A (128 wRC+, .303/.373/.437 with 21.5% K%, 9.5% BB%), none of Susac’s underlying metrics were plus, but they weren’t nearly as bad as his 2024 start. He is concerningly chase prone and his swing lacks lift, which will neuter Susac’s impactful (for a catcher) raw power, but he did show impressive plate-coverage and all-fields contact in 2023.

Susac has improved enough as a receiver to project him as a fine defensive catcher. His pop times and accuracy vary wildly because his exit from his crouch (and whether he leaves it at all) is inconsistent. When he’s getting out of it on time, he tends to pop about 1.95. Here Susac’s offense is projected to rebound enough for him to remain a prospect but not enough for us to consider him a potential primary catcher anymore. His underlying chase was already making his forecast on offense unstable before this hopefully temporary regression in bat speed. He looks more like a backup now, even with a bounce back factored in.

18. Ryan Lasko, CF

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2023 from Rutgers (OAK)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 50/55 30/40 60/60 45/55 50

Lasko is a physical, plus-running outfielder from Rutgers who hit .330/.428/.582 with more walks than strikeouts as a junior. His combination of power, speed, and defense made him the second pick in the 2023 second round. Lasko is having a very difficult time making contact in pro ball. His swing is grooved and he’s chasing sliders nowhere near the plate. Lasko cuts hard through the bottom portion of the zone and is dangerous when he runs into pitches down there, but he doesn’t appear to have actual feel to hit, and the leap from the Big Ten to pro pitching has so far been too much for him. Lasko’s speed and ability in center field aren’t so spectacular that they guarantee him a big league role if he indeed has a 20-grade hit tool, but they certainly help. Without progress in the contact department, Lasko’s ceiling is a bottom of the 40-man type who is rostered for his defense.

19. Jose Ramos, CF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Venezuela (OAK)
Age 17.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 40/50 20/45 70/70 45/55 50

Ramos, who signed for $1.2 million in January, is a plus-plus runner with plus bat speed and very undercooked feel to hit. It’s the sort of toolset typically found on a late first round high school hitter, but with even greater variance. Ramos’ combination of a projected up-the-middle defensive fit (thanks to his speed) and his power potential give him enough upside to value him an FV tier above what is typical for young prospects with this kind of hit tool risk. It’s unusual for Oakland to make early-in-the-calendar seven figure commitments to international prospects; Ramos bucks that trend. He’s the toolsiest of several already notable prospects from the A’s 2024 international class.

20. Cole Miller, SP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2023 from Newbury Park HS (CA) (OAK)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 226 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 45/50 45/60 20/50 90-93 / 94

Miller signed an over-slot $1 million deal as Oakland’s 2023 fourth rounder rather than go to UCLA. He blew out and had Tommy John sometime during 2024 spring training. He’s a projectable 6-foot-6 righty who flashed three viable pitches as a healthy high schooler. Mostly 90-93 mph without a ton of movement, Miller’s size and ease of delivery portend more velocity, but his fastball might always play down a little. He shows inconsistent slider finish, but his best ones are 55s in the 82-84 mph range with traditional slider shape. His changeup has better long-term projection even though it’s not used as often right now. Miller really sells the changeup with his arm speed, and creates tumble and tail on the pitch. It also isn’t consistent due to lack of use, but it has big ceiling down the road as Miller’s touch and feel develops. This is a rock-solid starting pitching prospect, probably one with more of a medium ceiling due to the fastball’s traits.

21. Myles Naylor, 3B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from St. Joan of Arc HS (ON) (OAK)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 20/50 40/40 30/55 70

I was relatively bearish on the youngest Naylor prior to the 2023 draft because I was skeptical of his hit tool, and so far, that has proven prescient as Myles struggles at Stockton. Why the pessimism? Naylor plays with a high center of gravity. His lower half is stiff and his lack of bend is evident on both sides of the baseball. In the batter’s box, it hinders his plate coverage. Naylor’s swing is handsy and he doesn’t have the bat control to live on his hands alone, though his bat speed is exciting. Naylor is playing shortstop right now, but he projects to third base. Again, stiffness in Naylor’s lower body hinders his mobility and range; ideally, he’ll improve in this area while he’s still feasibly young enough to do so. He has the power to profile at third base if it turns out I’m wrong about the hit tool.

22. Brett Harris, 3B

Drafted: 7th Round, 2021 from Gonzaga (OAK)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 45/45 30/40 30/30 60/60 55

Harris is an elegant defender with soft hands and a sweet throwing stroke. His footwork, hands and actions are all smooth and precise, though Harris is not especially rangy. He has played some middle infield in the minors but the majority of his reps have come at third base, where Harris’ lack of range is less often a problem and his other attributes really play. Offensively, Harris makes a lot of low-lying opposite field contact. His downward-cutting swing often drives the baseball into the ground, and though he’s tended to produce above the league average at each of his minor league stops, it has come as Harris has been quite old for the level to which he was assigned. His contact rates from 2023 were very exciting (80% overall, 89% in the zone) but have declined since his promotion to Triple-A (those same stats are 72% and 75% respectively so far in 2024); he made his big league debut just before list publication. The best-case outcome for someone like Harris is a career similar to Matt Duffy’s, where his hit tool holds water in a profound way and he’s able to play a glove- and contact-driven role for many years. More likely, Harris is an above-replacement Emmanuel Rivera type who hops around for a little while.

23. Edgar Montero, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (OAK)
Age 17.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 40/50 20/50 40/40 35/50 50

International scouts generally saw the switch-hitting Montero as having a pretty stable hit/power combination, though they also think he’s a better fit at either second or third base rather than shortstop, where he’ll likely begin his pro career. He signed a $1.2 million deal with Oakland in January and should get under way in the DSL this summer.

24. Alex Speas, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from McEachern HS (GA) (TEX)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 60/60 20/20 96-97 / 100

Speas stepped away from baseball for a year and, frustrated and constantly beset by injury, nearly hung it up at age 23. Now 26, he’s coming off another inconsistent but exciting season after remaking his repertoire and working out at Tread Athletics. The Rangers DFA’d him late last year to make room on the 40-man for a healthy Matt Bush and the White Sox claimed Speas off waivers during the postseason; they DFA’d him in April and he was traded to Oakland for cash. Speas’ fastball velocity has keeled off a bit compared to last year, when he was sitting 98-99 and touching 102. He’s down about two ticks so far in 2024, but he has continued to utilize a cutter-heavy approach because his feel for throwing that pitch for strikes is much better than any other. Those cutters tilt in anywhere from 89-95 mph with variable shape, and it can be tough to discern some of them from his 85-89 mph sliders, which he throws on occasion. It’s plausible Speas could find more consistent release as big league hitters force him to sharpen his control, and a low-stakes environment in Oakland and Sacramento gives him the best shot at doing so. Hopefully he gets an extended opportunity to iron things out at the major league level while the A’s rebuild and prep for Las Vegas.

25. Richard Fernandez, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (OAK)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/60 45/55 30/40 94-96 / 97

He’s a little older than the typical complex-level prospect, but Fernandez, who appears to be in the midst of a velo spike, is an athletic righty with the potential for three bat-missing pitches. His style of athleticism is more about explosion than grace. There is considerable relief risk here, not just because he walked a batter every other inning in 2023 (his second season in the DSL) but because his delivery requires a lot of effort. But Fernandez, whose fastball was in the 95-97 mph range this spring after sitting 92-95 in 2023 until he hit the IL just before list publication, suddenly has a big fastball to go with a 2,800 rpm slurve in the 84-86 mph range and a changeup that has shown plus action. When his feel for location is clicking, which really only happens for an inning or two at a time, he is overpowering lower-level foes with a mix of power and unpredictability. Fernandez signed when he was about 19 and a half, which means he’s Rule 5 eligible for the first time after the 2025 season. It would take at least one aggressive promotion to feasibly put him in position to actually be added to the 40-man at that time (if we consider being established at High-A or above to be a prerequisite for addition), and unless the A’s are proactive about moving Fernandez to the bullpen (which I’m not advocating), it’s more likely he’s in range for a spot after 2026. This is an exciting young arm to monitor who could realistically trend into the 40+ FV tier as he gets closer to the majors.

35+ FV Prospects

26. Stevie Emanuels, SIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Washington (OAK)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 45/45 40/45 50/55 35/40 94-96 / 97

Emanuels had a three-tick velo bump in 2023 and has carried his 94-96 mph fastball into the 2024 season, which has also included a quick promotion to Las Vegas. He’s also incorporated a cutter into his repertoire, which now gives Emanuels three different breaking ball shapes to show hitters. He deploys cutters, sliders, and curveballs across a 77-90 mph range, so even though hitters can reliably look for movement to one half of the plate, they can’t anticipate speed and shape. If he can pitch well in Vegas, Emanuels will be a late- or post-season 40-man addition and compete for an Opening Day bullpen spot next year.

27. Kyle McCann, 1B

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Georgia Tech (OAK)
Age 26.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 60/60 45/45 30/30 30/35 35

McCann fell off the A’s prospect list after an anemic 2021, but he rebounded across the last two seasons and made his first big league roster when camp broke in 2024. He’s a power-hitting lefty catcher with all-fields juice, as nearly half of his 2023 home runs were hit to the opposite field. McCann has very good plate discipline and power, but his hit tool and catching defense are fringy, especially his arm strength. It’s a profile more typical of a lefty-hitting bench threat than a true backup catcher, though that will be McCann’s initial big league role.

28. Will Simpson, 1B

Drafted: 15th Round, 2023 from Washington (OAK)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 30/30 40/50 45

Simpson is righty-hitting first base prospect who posted a pretty high strikeout rate (24%) for a fourth-year hitter, and thus fell to the 15th round of last year’s draft despite a career .299/.380/.534 line at Washington. He’s out the gate very hot at Lansing to start 2024, chasing less often than he has throughout his career, albeit across a small sample. Simpson’s carrying tool is his all-fields power. He’s enormous and strong, and able to generate impact pop in a short mechanical distance. Simpson isn’t the most skillful barrel-control guy — he lives off being in the hitting zone for a long time and having the strength to hit the baseball hard even when he’s a little late. Righty-hitting first base profiles are tough, especially when Simpson is likely to have a below-average hit tool at peak (even if his plate discipline improvements are somewhat real). But he has big league thunder in his hands and, because of some of the other good stuff he does at the plate amid all the strikeouts, he seems pretty likely to tap into that power in games. Simpson has just begun to play some third base at Lansing, something he didn’t do at all in college. If that experiment pans out and he can be passable there, it will help make Simpson more rosterable than if he remains a first base-only defender.

29. Erick Matos, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Cuba (OAK)
Age 17.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
35/60 30/45 40/55 20/45 90-92 / 93

International scouts see Matos as one of the more projectable pitchers in the 2024 signing class. He’s already been up to 93 mph and, at 6-foot-4, could grow into big time arm strength over time. Matos is still searching for a good breaking ball. His fans think he’ll eventually have a really hard slider that lives off velo rather than movement. One scout has also seen Matos throw a splitter and thinks he might become a mid-90s fastball/splitter bully like Alex Cobb or Taijuan Walker. Whether the A’s, who signed him $700,000, can tease out a plus secondary pitch remains to be seen; lots of other teams would have loved the chance.

30. Ryan Cusick, SIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Wake Forest (ATL)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/60 30/35 92-93 / 96

Cusick, who was part of the Matt Olson trade, had rebounded a bit after two years of declining velocity and was sitting 95-96 in early April, but he hasn’t pitched for a month due to a core muscle strain. It wasn’t “peak Cusick,” but that velo range is three ticks harder than the 2023 version. Cusick’s delivery is quite violent looking, and he’s dealt with either strike-throwing or health issues rather often during his career. He was starting at Midland prior to the most recent injury, but he projects in relief here because of those issues. Cusick has added a cutter to his mix, and his ability to locate both his slider and cutter is better than that of his fastball. It looks like pretty standard middle inning stuff, with Cusick’s command and health track record forcing me to round down on that projection.

31. Jackson Finley, SP

Drafted: 15th Round, 2023 from Georgia Tech (OAK)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 222 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/55 45/50 30/40 93-96 / 97

Finely had only pitched 21 combined innings at Georgia Tech entering his draft year because of the pandemic and a mid-2021 Tommy John. He’s had a bit of a velo bump in pro ball; Finley is sitting in the 94-96 mph range early in starts so far in 2024, dipping back down to his usual 93-94 later in games. He hides the ball well and can sneak heaters past you at the letters. There are times when Finley’s changeup has bat-missing sink but it isn’t consistent. That was his most used secondary pitch at Tech and it has been again in 2024, but his sweeper has a new shape and crisper movement than his college curveballs. He’s been walk-prone as a starter in Stockton and his delivery looks like that of a reliever. He’s an older developmental project, but Finley is a pretty good relief prospect who should continue to develop as a starter to give his secondary stuff a better shot to improve.

32. Will Johnston, SP

Drafted: 13th Round, 2023 from Texas A&M (OAK)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 30/45 30/50 90-93 / 95

Johnston moved from Texas A&M’s bullpen into their rotation in the middle of his draft year and the A’s have continued to stretch him out in pro ball. So far it’s working, as he blew his rising low-90s fastball past Low-A hitters early in 2024; he has already been promoted to Lansing. Johnston hides the ball forever and has a due north arm slot that imparts ride on his fastball. He has a pretty generic vertical breaking ball that plays off of that; it has good finish and depth when it’s buried, but not enough bite to miss bats in the zone. It’s possible his changeup will take a step forward, or that he’ll find a second breaking ball, and both are more likely to occur if he continues to start, which would enable multi-inning reps and a chance to work on that stuff more. If he ends up shifting back to the bullpen later on, hopefully it would come with a velocity spike that would make his fastball impactful enough on its own to drive a Colin Poche or Jalen Beeks type of profile.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Enormous Pitchers
Pedro Santos, RHP
Eduardo Rivera, LHP
Franck De La Rosa, RHP
Yunior Tur, RHP

Santos, 24, is a 6-foot-4 Cuban righty who sits 95-98 but struggles to find the zone. He’s closing at Midland right now. Rivera, 20, is a 6-foot-7 Puerto Rican lefty with average arm strength but a shot to develop three good pitches. De La Rosa, 23, is a 6-foot-8 Dominican righty who sits 95-97 and is off to a better strike-throwing start than at any other time in his career, albeit at Low-A. Tur, 24, is a 6-foot-6 Cuban righty whose low-90s fastball routinely has 20 inches of induced vertical break; the rest of his repertoire is suspect.

Other Hard Throwers
Shohei Tomioka, RHP
Danis Correa, RHP
Jack Perkins, RHP
Jacob Watters, RHP
Felix Castro, RHP

Tomioka, 28, played ball at Toyo University and then in the Industrial League in Japan while he held down a job packing medical supplies. He responded to an A’s tryout call and touched 95 there. He’s been up to 96 this year, and has a cutter and a slow, 3,000 rpm curveball. Correa was a longtime “bottom of the list” prospect with the Cubs. There have been stretches when he has shown cutting upper-90s heat and a plus changeup, but he’s never been able to throw strikes or stay healthy for very long. At times, Perkins and Watters have looked like fastball/slider middle relief guys, but Perkins has been hurt frequently and Watters’ results have been unspectacular. Castro is an ACL arm to watch, a reliever-y righty with 93-95 mph fastballs, a promising cutter and a changeup.

Pitchability Depth
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
Blake Beers, RHP
Chen Zhong-Ao Zhuang, RHP

Hoglund, a former first round pick and mid-rotation starter prospect, hasn’t quite had a velocity rebound since his Tommy John. He’s having more success so far this year at Double-A Midland, where he’s sitting 92 with below-average secondary stuff. A 2021 19th rounder out of Michigan, Beers is a Double-A kitchen sink righty with starter-quality control, though he lacks a swing-and-miss weapon. Zhuang is a 23-year-old Taiwanese righty who sits 92 with ride and run. He has a decent mid-70s curveball and busts out a splitter and cutter against lefties. His 2024 is off to a great start.

Tough Profiles
Henry Bolte, RF
Clark Elliott, LF
Brayan Buelvas, CF
Colby Thomas, LF
Brennan Milone, 1B/3B

Bolte, 20, is a former second round pick who I have tended to be lower on than consensus. He is currently striking out nearly 40% of the time and struggling on defense. I have long been apprehensive about his hit tool, which that has been prescient so far. Elliott is currently on the IL. He lacks the well-rounded offensive game to profile in left field, his best defensive fit. To get to power, he has to swing with a ton of effort. Buelvas is a classic tweener upper-level depth guy. He could still become Jose Azocar or something like that, I suppose. Thomas is an older, physical outfielder at Double-A Midland. He has above-average bat speed but doesn’t track pitches especially well, and it’s going to be a tough left field profile with a 40 hit tool and 50 power. Milone is a pretty well-rounded hitter who has trended from 3B/2B to 1B/3B, where his power is a bit short.

Pet Projects
Max Schuemann, UTIL
Yeniel Laboy, 3B
Tom Reisinger, RHP

Schuemann is a super versatile defender in the Andrew Velazquez mold. Laboy is a well-built 19-year-old infielder (1B/2B/3B) with above average bat speed and a sweet lefty swing. Reisinger is a small school (East Stroudsburg, PA) prospect with a naturally cutting upper-80s fastball and plus breaking ball.

System Overview

This system is in rough shape, with below-average depth and slightly below-average impact up top. Oakland’s recent rebuild trades haven’t gone especially well. Of all the players they acquired, only Shea Langeliers has really established himself a long-term build-around player. JJ Bleday (who came back from Miami for A.J. Puk) is having a fair start to his 2024 and JP Sears looks like the inning-eating backend starter he was projected to be, but the system lacks high-end impact in general, and considering how much talent was traded away in 2021-2023, that’s disappointing. The Sean Murphy trade, which the Brewers somehow stuck their nose in, only to escape with by far the best departing Brave, is probably the worst deal of the lot.

I did film study on Tyler Soderstrom while I was working on this list and I still believe he’ll eventually be a middle-of-the-order big league thumper. He’d be first on this list were he still eligible. He’s slowly improving behind the plate (the A’s have plenty of time to let him keep developing back there), but mostly, he just has ridiculous lefty bat speed and a body built to last. He is going to have so much power that he’ll be an impact hitter despite elevated chase and strikeouts. He was up enough last year to lose rookie status, but he’s effectively still a prospect.

The A’s are still playing catch-up in the realm of technology implementation and use. Just a couple weeks ago on their backfields in Mesa, a TrackMan unit was installed on a second of their four fields, with several domed cameras that provide video feeds of the action on that field from a variety of angles also freshly installed. These are the sorts of things that most other teams have had in place for a while (some other teams’ camera set-ups and usage is way more advanced than this), but John Fischer’s budgetary shortcomings extend beyond the team’s payroll to other aspects of the club’s infrastructure. It’s as if the baseball ops crew has to fight with one hand behind their back and several fingers cut off of the other. This has no doubt contributed to the A’s struggles across the entire org, from scouting to player dev, but it isn’t the sole reason they’ve had difficulty doing either of those things well for the last five years.

As a guy who came to care about the Arizona Coyotes during my decade of living in Phoenix and is bummed that the young players I’ve grown to like will now enjoy their prime years in Salt Lake City, I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a team that has been part of your city and culture for more than half a century. (The ghost of my dead grandfather, who had the A’s ripped away from him when they moved from Philly to Kansas City in the 1950s, might find it darkly funny that this is somehow happening yet again.) It’s odd writing about prospects who are more likely to be Sacramento and Las Vegas A’s than they are Oakland A’s, and it’s unfortunate that A’s fans who have suffered through rebuilding and tanking won’t reap the benefits of it on the back end.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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24 days ago

This system is bleak.

They have to take advantage of the “hot” start and move some of the older players who have started well for system depth if they can.

24 days ago
Reply to  booond

It’s bad at least partly because the A’s insisted on getting pitching back for their previous deals, but nobody wants to trade good pitching prospects anymore.

Between the guys who flamed out last year and this list here, I see a lot of future relievers and only one starter (Sears).

It doesn’t work to trade for pitching if the pitching is bad. If they haven’t learned that, then trading Stripling and Blackburn won’t solve much.

23 days ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Iriarte, Thorpe, and Roby are 3 Top-100 pitching prospects that were traded in the last year. Is that an indication that “nobody wants to trade good pitching prospects anymore?” Were there a lot more of the top-100 traded in the past?

23 days ago
Reply to  Shalesh

I am pretty sure the answer to this is “yes”, teams used to be more willing to trade starting pitching.

If we go back to the 2017 board, Anderson Espinoza, Michael Kopech, Tyler Glasnow (who was basically still a prospect), Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, James Kaprelian, Jose De Leon, Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez, Sandy Alcantara, Luis F. Ortiz, Josh Hader, Max Fried, Luiz Gohara, Justin Dunn, Anthony Banda, and Justus Sheffield were all Top 100 prospects who got traded around the time they were highly regarded prospects. Not all in one offseason, but that’s 17 names from a single list who were traded when they were still highly regarded prospects in that general time frame. Franklin Perez and Luke Weaver and Frankie Montas were also given FV50 grades and were traded in that general time frame (Montas twice, I think). So you could easily extend this to 20.

There are fewer pitchers on the 2024 list, but even so it’s a totally different story here. The only ones on the list who got traded when they were Top 100 prospects are Iriarte, Thorpe, and Roby. River Ryan got traded, but he was a nobody when he was dealt. If you want to stretch it back to 2023 to account for fewer pitchers, the only names we would add are Jake Eder and Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski (technically Waldichuk was at 101 and Wesneski at 120, but if we are going to all FV50 prospects then we should include them).

So I would say: Yes, the fact that over two years of lists (with a lot of overlap, to be fair) we less than half as many FV50 prospects who got traded as those in 2017 I think is an indication that people don’t want to trade pitchers anymore. Although it works if you even just take it as an absolute asymmetry (“teams don’t want to trade pitchers, they want to trade position players. but teams want to trade for pitchers”)

Last edited 23 days ago by sadtrombone
23 days ago
Reply to  Shalesh

Maybe not technically a prospect but Cole Ragans was also traded in 2023

23 days ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

In addition to Iriarte, Thorpe, and Roby; the Royals just got Cole Ragans for a rental reliever. I don’t think we should make sweeping proclamations about the trade market for pitching prospects just because the A’s suck at acquiring good players in trades (and at that, bad at acquiring hitters too).