Oakland Athletics Top 33 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein December 16, 2021 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 our own observations. This is the second 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. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Athletics Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Tyler Soderstrom 20.1 A 1B 2025 50 2 Zack Gelof 21.7 AAA 3B 2025 45+ 3 Pedro Pineda 18.3 R CF 2025 45+ 4 Daulton Jefferies 26.4 MLB SP 2022 45 5 Nick Allen 23.2 AAA SS 2022 45 6 Brayan Buelvas 19.5 A CF 2024 45 7 Max Muncy 18.9 R SS 2026 40+ 8 Jorge Juan 22.8 A+ SP 2023 40+ 9 Colin Peluse 23.5 AA MIRP 2023 40+ 10 Jeff Criswell 22.8 A+ MIRP 2023 40+ 11 Mason Miller 23.3 R SIRP 2025 40+ 12 Lawrence Butler 21.4 A+ 1B 2024 40+ 13 Denzel Clarke 21.2 R CF 2025 40 14 A.J. Puk 26.6 MLB SIRP 2022 40 15 Garrett Acton 23.5 A+ SIRP 2023 40 16 Robert Puason 19.3 A SS 2025 40 17 Jonah Bride 26.0 AA C 2022 40 18 Jordan Diaz 21.3 A+ 1B 2022 40 19 Brent Honeywell Jr. 26.7 MLB SP 2020 40 20 Cody Thomas 27.2 AAA RF 2022 40 21 Jack Weisenburger 24.2 AA SIRP 2023 40 22 Luis Barrera 26.1 MLB CF 2022 40 23 Michael Guldberg 22.5 A+ CF 2024 40 24 Logan Davidson 24.0 AA SS 2023 40 25 Brian Howard 26.6 AAA SP 2022 40 26 Angel Arevalo 18.2 R 2B 2026 35+ 27 Grant Holmes 25.7 AAA SIRP 2021 35+ 28 Junior Perez 20.4 A RF 2022 35+ 29 Eduardo Rivera 18.1 R SIRP 2026 35+ 30 Dany Jiménez 26.0 MLB SIRP 2021 35+ 31 Wandisson Charles 25.3 AA SIRP 2021 35+ 32 Aiden McIntyre 26.3 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 33 Stevie Emanuels 22.9 A+ SP 2024 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 50 FV Prospects 1. Tyler Soderstrom, 1B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Turlock HS (CA) (OAK) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 50/60 30/55 40/30 20/40 45 Soderstrom had an incredible spring training and then slashed .306/.390/.568 at Low-A Stockton during the summer, before his season was cut short due to injury (we have conflicting info as to what the injury was — we’ve heard lower back, lat, or oblique — and will update this blurb if we can confirm which it was). He looked comfortable during his big league spring at-bats and was utterly dominant on the backfields, running deep counts and crushing hard fly balls and line drives to all fields. Even when forced to offer at pitcher’s pitches, he’s strong enough to muscle ugly contact through the right side of the defense. This just adds to a long track record of hitting that dates back to Soderstrom’s amateur days, though he has already become much more physical than he was in high school and stands apart from most other prospects on the field, even in pro ball. Juxtaposing his advanced offense is Soderstrom’s defense. He split time behind the plate on his high school team, then was asked to catch premium stuff from pitchers with whom he had no experience during his showcase summer, so the context for the high-profile looks plus his relative inexperience gave hope for improvement. He’s still pretty rough back there, and while we’re open to the possibility of him eventually becoming viable, working to develop Soderstrom’s glove probably means slowing the development of his bat and exposing him to the brutal grind of catching, which often dilutes offensive production. During Eric’s in-person looks, Soderstrom took a foul ball off the shoulder, collapsed into a heap, and was removed from one game, then took a weird hop off the throat and was removed from another. Stuff like that happens to catchers every night — it’s an occupational hazard that often causes them to play through pain and not hit well for long stretches. Some teams wanted to run Soderstrom out as a corner outfielder or third baseman in pro ball, and he also played a bunch of first base in 2021. The Wil Myers/Bryce Harper approach would make a ton of sense here. It would probably help Soderstrom traverse the minors more quickly and overlap in the big leagues with Sean Murphy, who is a fantastic defender and unlikely to be supplanted by anyone, let alone a fringe defender like Soderstrom. Plus, the A’s will likely have an opening at first base soon anyway. This is a plus bat likely to amass 40 annual doubles, so it’s immaterial where Soderstrom plays, though we think he’s a load-bearing everyday first baseman. 45+ FV Prospects 2. Zack Gelof, 3B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Virginia (OAK) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 50/50 30/45 50/50 30/50 40 Gelof was so good during his two-ish months of pro ball (five weeks at Low-A and then a few weeks of fall Instructional League) that he meaningfully altered our opinion of him, as he looked like the best player in Oakland’s instructs group. His swing isn’t sexy, but it is dynamic and makes Gelof capable of doing all-fields damage. He has almost no load but still finds a way to swing hard, and Gelof is capable of hitting some epic pull-side dingers and is also good at punching doubles contact down the right field line. His swing is eerily reminiscent of David Freese’s: both have the short, downward sloping bat path, the bat colliding with their left shoulder as they finish through contact. Gelof is not the defensive player that Freese was, however. Though he has good range, he may not have the arm strength to stay on the left side of the infield. If he can, he has a shot to be an everyday third baseman. 3. Pedro Pineda, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 18.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 50/60 25/60 60/50 40/50 60 One of the top players in the delayed international class that executed its first contracts in January of 2021, Pineda signed for a $2.5 million bonus and hit the ground running after just a brief stint in his native Dominican Republic, instead spending most of his debut in the Arizona Complex League. He has a well-rounded complement of tools, but impresses the most at the plate, where he has shown a solid approach to go along with tremendous bat speed that projects for power well beyond what he’s displayed in-game to this point. His swing can get out of control at times, leading to some swing-and-miss issues, but he didn’t turn 18 until the end of September, and few see it as a glaring issue. He runs well for his size, has a plus arm, and has played all three outfield positions, but his future physicality is still in the TBD bucket, and there is a significant chance that he grows out of an up-the-middle position long-term. Like any teenage outfielder with 33 games of professional experience, there is a wide range of possibilities for Pineda’s future, but the ceiling is exceptionally high. 45 FV Prospects 4. Daulton Jefferies, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Cal (OAK) Age 26.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/50 60/60 55/55 60/60 91-94 / 95 Jefferies’ 2021 was bookended by two more injuries: biceps tendinitis in April and ulnar neuritis in September. He’s been in pro ball since 2016 and has yet to throw 200 total innings due to persistent arm trouble, but when healthy, he’s been nails, filling the strike zone with four pitches, the best of which is a plus, upper-80s power changeup in the late-career Zack Greinke mold. Jefferies can make his fastball sink and tail, ride and cut, and he occasionally dumps in a slower breaking ball in the 78-81 mph range as a change of pace offering. The whole repertoire, which is pretty vanilla except for the changeup, is bolstered by Jefferies’ surgical east/west command. He’s only walked about one batter every 10 innings he’s pitched in pro ball, and if not for being constantly dinged up, he would have a pretty good case to be a 50 FV pitcher based on the innings workload that strike-throwers like this are typically able to tout (and the resulting WAR boost inning-eaters tend to enjoy). While Jefferies has plug-and-play fourth starter ability, it’d take a town crier with a cartoonishly long scroll to rattle off all his injuries, which affects how the industry views him. 5. Nick Allen, SS Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Francis Parker HS (CA) (OAK) Age 23.2 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 30/30 20/30 60/60 70/70 60 Allen was seen as one of the best defensive players in the 2017 draft; Oakland selected him in the third round and signed him to a $2 million bonus to steer him away from attending Southern California. There were concerns around his lack of size and offensive upside, and while the defense has been every bit as good as expected, if not better, he also made great strides with the bat in 2021. Allen is one of the better defensive players in all of the minors. He’s a plus runner with outstanding instincts, quick first steps, smooth actions and more than enough arm to make plays from multiple angles. He’s seen considerable time at second base in his career, which has served to prepare him for the possibility of a future utility role as a big leaguer. Allen straightened up his stance in 2021, allowing his above-average ability to make contact to play better. He’s a bit of a free swinger, and while he’s found some occasional power, his overall pop remains well below average. His overall numbers are solid, but he’s also spent the last two years looking like an All-Star against lefties and a nine-hole hitter against righties, so he’ll need to improve against same-sided pitching. A valuable multi-positional role is the most likely outcome for Allen, but there’s the possibility he becomes an everyday player with enough bat for the bottom of the order to go with the stellar glove work. 6. Brayan Buelvas, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Colombia (OAK) Age 19.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 40/45 20/40 60/55 45/55 55 Colombia has become an important destination for the international scouting community, as it’s frequently where scouts go to see Venezuelan players in an environment that is safer for everyone involved. That has led to greater exposure for players native to the country, including Buelvas, who Oakland signed in 2018. An impressive showing in the Complex League led Oakland to challenge him with a full-season assignment as a teenager in 2021, and while his numbers failed to impress on the surface, there were still plenty of steps in the right direction. Buelvas has an advanced approach for his age, and began to tap into his average power at Stockton, though often to his own detriment, as his focus on trying to hit balls over the fence as opposed to simply hitting them hard led to some strikeout issues. He runs well and plays a solid center field, but some evaluators worry he’ll end up settling into a corner as he matures into his smallish frame. Buelvas may lack a carrying tool, but his skill set, which is solid across the board, gives him a chance to develop into an everyday player if he can stay up the middle and close some of the holes in his swing. 40+ FV Prospects 7. Max Muncy, SS Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Thousand Oaks HS (OAK) Age 18.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 45/55 20/55 50/50 45/50 50 Muncy got plenty of pre-draft attention for his name alone, but his consistent production against and among some of the best high school competition in the country had him attached to multiple teams with late-first round picks; he ultimately went 25th overall. His professional debut was ugly from a performance standpoint but too brief to create any kind of real concern. Muncy’s primary attraction is as an infielder with the potential for plus power. He steps to the plate looking to drive the baseball, and while he shows a consistent ability to generate hard contact, some scouts have concerns about just what the frequency of that contact will be against pro-level pitching. He’s a well-built kid with present strength, but he isn’t especially twitchy, leaving most to project a slide down the defensive spectrum to second or third base before his career progression gets him to the big leagues, though his defensive fundamentals are sound. Even with a power-over-hit profile, a solid defensive infielder who can pop 20-plus home runs over the fence is a nice player on any team. Muncy will make his full-season debut in 2022. 8. Jorge Juan, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 22.8 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 55/60 40/45 30/50 95-97 / 99 The gigantic 6-foot-9 Juan has added nearly six ticks to his fastball over the last few years, going from sitting 89-92 during 2019 Extended to the 95-99 mph range in ’21. His low-90s changeup is now as hard as his heater was a couple of years ago and is sometimes still automatically classified as his fastball by mistake. Juan has also found a better breaking ball, a power slurve in the 81-85 mph range that projects as a plus pitch. Though his grip-and-rip style of attack with the fastball isn’t typical for a starter, he has thrown a fair number of strikes for a young guy his size and will sometimes have stretches when he is locating his heater to the arm side corner of the plate over and over again. With those factors in mind, Juan also has encouraging feel for changeup location, but not for creating consistent action on it yet. There are enough components here to project Juan as a starter, and he has a shot to be a No. 4 if the command/changeup pieces fall into place in his mid-20s, which is feasible considering how big and long he is. He went on the shelf in the middle of 2021 due to an elbow sprain, two starts after a promotion to High-A, but the A’s added him to their 40-man roster anyway. He’s less likely to debut in 2022 than most 40-man occupants and is more likely to percolate in the minors for at least another year. 9. Colin Peluse, MIRP Drafted: 9th Round, 2019 from Wake Forest (OAK) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/70 55/55 40/45 35/45 93-96 / 98 Peluse had TJ toward the end of high school and began his Wake Forest career in the bullpen before transitioning into a weekend starter role as a sophomore. He was a pitchability righty with fringe stuff that played up because Peluse’s delivery screws with hitters’ timing, but after undergoing a bit of a physical transformation during the pandemic shutdown period, he was sitting 94-98 during 2020 instructs. He held that velo to start 2021 before backing down into the 93-95 range later in the year, but it’s still an impact fastball at the top of the zone at those speeds. His changeup has flashed better movement than in the past, though Peluse tends to decelerate his arm when he throws it. His fastball/slider combo gives him a relief floor (his fastball grades are part of the relief forecast, as we think he’d sit in that peak velo band there), and the changeup progression gives him a shot to start. 10. Jeff Criswell, MIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Michigan (OAK) Age 22.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 45/50 40/45 30/40 92-95 / 97 Criswell was a huge part of Michigan’s 2019 College World Series runner up team and was Oakland’s second round pick after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He walked a batter every other inning during his college career, which, combined with recent injury, pushes him toward the bullpen. Criswell had a velo spike almost immediately after entering pro ball, perhaps from the added rest, moving from the 92-94 range into the 94-97 area during 2020 instructs. That spike didn’t hold in 2021. While he was up to 97 again during his first 2021 spring outing, he was quickly shut down with elbow inflammation, which popped up again during his first outing of the regular season. He only pitched 12 innings during the summer and A’s saw fit to include him in their instructs and Fall League contingent, during which Criswell sat mostly 93-94. His repertoire depth gives him a shot to start, specifically his changeup, which is better than our pre-draft assessment. It’s already a viable third pitch (his mid-80s slider is his preferred secondary) and projects as an above-average offering. While he should be developed as a starter and has some chance to grow into the strike-throwing efficiency to become one, for Criswell (touches hand to temple) we see an eventual bulk relief role. 11. Mason Miller, SIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Gardner-Webb (OAK) Age 23.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/65 55/60 40/45 30/40 93-97 / 99 Miller spent four years at Division-III Waynesburg before transferring to Gardner-Webb for the 2021 season. His age (nearly 23 on draft day) and mechanical violence pushed him squarely into the relief bucket as a draft prospect, but Miller’s velocity (up to at least 98 at G-W) made him an early Day 2 selection anyway. He dominated the Complex Level for a handful of innings then came out during instructs sitting 97-99 with two viable breaking balls: a plus mid-80s slider and a fringe low-80s curveball. The latter can be used as a change-of-pace pitch, dumped in for strike one, while the slider has nasty bite and could be a bat-missing weapon at peak. Miller’s delivery (violent, low-ish slot) creates tailing action on his fastball and he’s apt to break a lot of bats, but might not miss as many as you’d guess given his velocity. He projects as a fast-moving reliever with a shot to be a late-inning arm. 12. Lawrence Butler, 1B Video Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Westlake HS (GA) (OAK) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding 30/35 60/70 35/60 50/45 30/40 The A’s knew they’d need to be patient with Butler when they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft prior to his 18th birthday. That patience started to pay off in 2021, as he began to convert his considerable tools into on-field production. Butler certainly looks the part with plenty of size, strength and athleticism on display. He has some of the best raw power in the system, combining bat speed with plenty of leverage and bad intentions. He struck out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances, and while he made significant strides quieting his swing in the second half of the season, big whiff totals will likely always be a part of his game. He moves well for his size, and while he’s played all three outfield positions as well as an impressive first base as a pro, he still shows inconsistency in his reads and routes and will likely end up in a corner with an arm that is neither an asset nor a liability. Butler has already demonstrated a solid approach and additional adjustments at the plate could lead to a breakout, providing enough to dream on him developing into a five-hole hitting corner outfielder capable of 30-plus home runs a year. 40 FV Prospects 13. Denzel Clarke, CF Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Cal State Northridge (OAK) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding 30/40 60/70 30/55 55/50 40/50 Clarke’s athleticism always grabbed scouts’ attention, and a breakout junior year at Cal State Northridge led to a fourth round selection. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Clarke combines an NFL-style frame with exceptionally loud tools. He has plus-plus raw power and has shown an ability to stay within his swing, use all fields, and trust his strength, as opposed to getting overly pull conscious. He has the speed for center field, but played left in his pro debut. That’s likely to be his eventual big league destination, which means he’s going to have to hit, and that’s where the biggest question marks remain. Clarke has some holes in his swing, as he’s beatable up in the zone and can get busted inside as a long-levered player who likes to get his arms extended. A product of Canada, Clark’s baseball experience still lags behind that of his peers, and his development could take longer than your average college draftee’s, with plenty of bumps in the road. This is a player with all sorts of risks but also the kind of ceiling that is very hard to find in the fourth round. 14. A.J. Puk, SIRP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florida (OAK) Age 26.6 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 248 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 60/60 50/55 55/60 40/45 94-97 / 99 When the A’s selected Puk with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 draft, nobody imagined him still being on prospect lists heading into the 2022 season, but elbow and shoulder surgeries have sadly dimmed what was once an exceptionally bright star. More arm problems hampered him in 2021, and while there were flashes of dominance in a bullpen role, the quality of his stuff, as well as his general unavailability to pitch, continued to frustrate. As a 6-foot-7, 250 pound lefty with big stuff, Puk offers plenty to dream on, but those dreams have yet to turn into any kind of big league reality. Even with the history of arm problems, at times he still sat 95-97 mph with both the two- and four-seam version of his fastball in 2021, but his upper-80s slider is now driven far more by velocity than movement or spin, leaving scouts struggling to find a secondary offering they can really hang their hat on. Sub-par command and a bit of a velocity dip late in the year led to even greater concerns. There are still some scenarios where Puk turns into the impact-level arm once projected, but at this point, just being a useful contributor out of the ‘pen would feel like a win for all involved. 15. Garrett Acton, SIRP Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (OAK) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/65 45/50 45/50 30/40 93-95 / 96 After the 2020 draft was reduced to just five rounds, Acton was one of the most sought-after undrafted free agents, but the $20,000 bonus cap and Acton’s desire to attend graduate school left some teams wondering if he’d even entertain a pro career. The A’s ultimately convinced him, and he had one of the more dominant relief years in the minors, posting a nearly-50% strikeout rate at High-A Lansing after earning a late-July promotion. Despite his gaudy whiff numbers, Acton is not a high-octane reliever. He can touch 95 mph with his fastball but generally sits in the 92-94 mph range; the offering plays up due to pitch shape, deception, and the ability to elevate within the zone. He also has a solid 78-82 mph down-turning curve, and taken together, it’s the kind of exceptionally vertical attack that still appeals to many teams even as they cast a wider pitch-type net. Acton’s middling velocity for a reliever means that these kind of strikeout totals will be difficult to replicate at the upper levels, but there’s certainly the possibility of a Will Harris-style career at the end of the day. 16. Robert Puason, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/30 45/60 20/45 50/50 45/55 60 Puason is the poster boy for the risks inherent in international scouting. The recipient of a $5 million bonus in 2019 that was universally seen as a good sign, Puason’s bat has been a disappointment and his full-season debut was a borderline disaster, with sub-.300 on-base and slugging percentages. On the plus side, Puason was exceptionally young for the level (he didn’t turn 19 until early September) and he still has an exciting package of tools. He’s a plus runner, and has an athletic frame and the strength for average or better power down the road. He also has good body control in the field to go with a very good arm, but left scouts questioning his clock after he committed 29 errors in 91 games, many of them on seemingly routine plays. With a strikeout rate exceeding 40%, Pauson has significant contact issues and frequently gets beat by good velocity, with even average heaters an issue at times; he’s also prone to chasing. As a switch-hitting shortstop with these kinds of tools, Puason’s ceiling is still considerable, and it’s far too early to call him a bust, but the early returns mean that even if he does work out, it’s not going to happen quickly. 17. Jonah Bride, C Drafted: 23th Round, 2018 from South Carolina (OAK) Age 26.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 198 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding 45/50 40/40 35/40 40/40 30/45 A catcher conversion will likely carry the squat Bride through the threshold of the big leagues and into a very cool bench role as a third catcher who can also play both corner infield spots. Bride walked as much as he struck out at Double-A this year but doesn’t have the raw power to profile at first base, where he’s now spending most of his time. He only began catching in a normal game environment during the fall of 2021, both at instructs and during Fall League, the latter being an absurd assignment for someone new to the position. Bride handled it with aplomb and is likely to improve into a viable big league catcher. We considered Bride for the 40+ tier to indicate that he might track similarly to Austin Nola, who made a similar late conversion and looks like a suitable everyday catcher when healthy, but we didn’t receive a lot of industry support for that potential outcome here. Scouts instead think Bride will be a Swiss Army knife bench player. 18. Jordan Diaz, 1B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Colombia (OAK) Age 21.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 45/50 30/40 30/30 35/55 55 Diaz has the most important skill in baseball: the ability to put the bat on the ball. He’s also a pretty slick defensive third baseman, which is mildly surprising given his build and overall athleticism. His mediocre range, meanwhile, can be masked with proper positioning, allowing his otherwise terrific defensive hands, footwork, and arm accuracy to shine. His free-swinging approach and fringe raw power are both likely to limit Diaz’s in-game power below what would typically enable someone to be an everyday player. Instead, he’s a high-probability corner utility player. 19. Brent Honeywell Jr., SP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Walters State JC (TN) (TBR) Age 26.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 60/60 40/40 60/60 92-95 / 96 A KBO team asked the Rays about Honeywell but he wanted to stay in the US, so Tampa Bay shipped the oft-injured, optionless former top 100 prospect to Oakland, where he’ll receive ample opportunity to pitch on a rebuilding club. Healthy and pitching in affiliated ball for the first time since 2017, Honeywell began the year in the Rays’ Triple-A bullpen before moving into the rotation toward the end of July. He retained his velocity amid the shift and certainly has the command to start, wielding his cutter/slider and changeup with glove- and arm-side precision, respectively. Shape-driven limitations to Honeywell’s fastball utility and a lack of slider length mean that his screwball changeup is his lone swing-and-miss weapon. That the A’s are likely to rebuild and that Honeywell is out of options means he’s very likely to open the 2022 season on their staff, and probably in the rotation. With a more limited repertoire than he had a half-decade ago, Honeywell now looks like a No. 4/5 starter, though the extreme nature of his injury history impacts how he’s lined up here. 20. Cody Thomas, RF Drafted: 13th Round, 2016 from Oklahoma (LAD) Age 27.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 60/60 45/55 55/55 50/55 60 A former Oklahoma quarterback will suit up for the A’s after all, as Thomas was added to the 40-man this offseason after hitting 18 homers in just 59 games before an Achilles injury ended his 2021. The A’s acquired Thomas from the Dodgers prior to the season as part of a four-player swap and Thomas had a career year, albeit as a 26-year-old playing at Las Vegas’ elevation. He crushes hanging breaking balls and is a threat to hit middle/down fastballs out to dead center or into the opposite field gap, but he also swings and misses in the zone quite a bit. There has been a swing change here — the stance is more upright, the leg kick is gone — and his whole operation is simpler now than before, but Thomas hasn’t shown a meaningful batted ball shift or swing-and-miss reduction. His power and speed combination, mixed with optimism that the two-sport Thomas would bloom late, has kept him afloat toward the bottom of our list for the last several years, and now he’ll likely get a big league opportunity in Oakland. 21. Jack Weisenburger, SIRP Drafted: 20th Round, 2019 from Michigan (OAK) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 70/70 30/35 93-96 / 97 Weisenburger sounds like a PG euphemism for “smart-ass,” but in fact it’s the name of a relief prospect with the best individual pitch in this system, a plus-plus slider with fantastic two-plane tilt. Weisenburger sits 93-96 with about average life, and the sudden, violent nature of his delivery makes hitters uncomfortable. It also detracts from his command, which is perhaps the lone impediment to a late-inning future here. 22. Luis Barrera, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 50/50 30/30 70/70 45/45 70 After his breakout 2019 campaign was halted by a shoulder injury, Barrera returned with a solid-but-unspectacular Triple-A showing in 2021 that included a brief MLB debut. Barrera’s best traits are a consistent ability to make contact from the left side coupled with double-plus speed. He doesn’t show much in terms of power, but he’s aggressive on the basepaths, looking to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples when defensive plays develop slowly. An aggressive approach has been a long-standing issue for Barrera, but he had a career-high walk rate at Triple-A last year, which greatly boosts his overall outlook. He is a comfortable defender at any outfield position and has a plus arm, and scouts love the energy he brings to both sides of the ball. At 26, there isn’t a ton of development left in Berrera; his ceiling might be that of a fourth outfielder, but he’s also arguably already there. 23. Michael Guldberg, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Georgia Tech (OAK) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 171 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 40/40 30/40 60/60 45/55 55 Guldberg was a consistent performer at an ACC school, hitting .374/.465/.459 during his three years at Georgia Tech, but a smallish frame and his lack of power limited his draft ceiling to the third round, where Oakland selected him in 2020. He was in the midst of a July breakout when his 2021 season was cut short by injury, but he showed more than enough improvement to make his way onto prospect boards. Guldberg is a plus runner and a solid center fielder who can provide some defensive value despite a fringy arm. He’s an aggressive hitter with significant plate coverage and contact ability, and after slugging just three home runs during his college career, he slugged five in 49 pro games, with more than a third of his hits going for extra bases. A data and analytics student in college, Guldberg has taken an active role in using modern technology to improve his game, and earns good makeup grades. He feels like a charter member of the Future Fourth Outfielders of America Association, but his debut and progress left room for him to potentially exceed that. 24. Logan Davidson, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Clemson (OAK) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 55/55 30/40 50/50 50/50 60 As a 6-foot-3 true shortstop with power and patience, Davidson felt like a dream profile in the 2019 draft, but his three-year career at Clemson — during which he never hit .300 and struck out at an alarming rate — dropped him to 29th overall. He was the kind of player who was going to need considerable reps in the minors to develop, but the lost 2020 season forced Oakland’s hand, and Davidson struggled in his full-season debut at Double-A Midland as an age appropriate 23-year-old. He still has the tools to impress, but his season generated many more questions than answers for evaluators. Davidson remains a shaky hitter and racked up a 30% strikeout rate in the Texas League, with his average or slightly better raw power showing up far more in batting practice than in games. In some ways, his solid approach has actually created more pessimism about his outlook at the plate, as he’s swinging at the right pitches but still not producing much of anything. He’s been especially miserable against lefties, against whom he hit .119 without a home run in more than 100 plate appearances. While he lacks flash at shortstop, he’s a solid defender with good instincts and a plus arm, and he should be able to fill in anywhere on the dirt. At this point, that might be his future big league role: a utility player with on-base skills and occasional pop. 25. Brian Howard, SP Drafted: 8th Round, 2017 from TCU (OAK) Age 26.6 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 45/50 45/50 50/55 50/55 89-91 / 93 Howard was a $40,000 senior sign in the eighth round of the 2017 draft and performed all the way up the minor league ladder until he reached hitter-friendly Las Vegas. His stuff is pretty generic — 89-93 with an average cutter and curveball — but Howard’s size (he’s 6-foot-9) creates an angle on his pitches that hitters clearly aren’t comfortable with. He also has remarkable control of his body for a pitcher of his size. He has spot starter’s stuff, but even though the A’s didn’t put him on the 40-man this offseason, we’re inclined to round up a little bit because of Howard’s combination of size, looseness, and track record of strike throwing. 35+ FV Prospects 26. Angel Arevalo, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (OAK) Age 18.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 30/40 20/30 60/60 40/50 40 Arevalo was among the youngest A’s prospects at 2021 instructs. He’s a compact, fast-twitch athlete with advanced feel for contact. He played all over the field during the fall and could be a multi-positional utility man. 27. Grant Holmes, SIRP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Conway HS (SC) (LAD) Age 25.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 40/40 50/50 30/35 92-94 / 97 Holmes finally moved to the bullpen in the middle of 2021 and had 46 strikeouts in 39.2 IP after the change. He sits about 94 and has an above-average slider, the best of his three secondary pitches. Out of options, Holmes is in line to be given a middle-inning bullpen job in 2022. The A’s often asked him to get four or more outs in 2021 and we anticipate he’ll be put in a similar, lower-leverage role in the big leagues. 28. Junior Perez, RF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (SDP) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 50/55 35/50 45/40 40/50 50 Perez was the PTBNL San Diego sent to Oakland for Jorge Mateo. He posted tremendous output in the 2019 AZL, looking like a prototypical corner outfielder with power during his brightest moments, while showing some underlying swing-and-miss on paper. The swing-and-miss piece dominated his 2021, in both a more concerning statistical way and during in-person looks. Perez just does not appear as explosive as he was in 2019 and has struggled to catch even fringe velocity, though this could be the result of the ultra-long layoff. He’s only 20 and produced among the highest max exit velos in the system this year. As a corner outfield prospect, he’ll need to start producing on paper in 2022, but the raw power he has for his age is keeping his prospectdom afloat for now. 29. Eduardo Rivera, SIRP Drafted: 11th Round, 2021 from Colegio CADEST (PR) (OAK) Age 18.1 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 237 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 20/40 93-96 / 97 Rivera shined in the inaugural Draft League, at least where his pitch data (as opposed to his performance) was concerned, and it earned him an 11th round selection in July. He’s a massive kid at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds despite being just 18 years old, and he can already touch 95 mph with a fastball that features good shape thanks to a vertical arm slot. He also gets solid depth on a curveball that still needs to find greater consistency. Rivera’s upright, uncomfortably unathletic delivery draws comparisons to a left-handed Dellin Betances, and his command and control are well below average, as on most days, you are just lucky to get strikes out of him. His size and stuff make him a prospect, and he’s a great piece of clay to throw into Oakland’s player development system, but the range of outcomes at this point is as wide as the Grand Canyon. 30. Dany Jiménez, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (TOR) Age 26.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 30/30 93-96 / 97 Jiménez was picked by San Francisco in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and by Oakland in 2020, and in both instances he was returned to the Jays, signing again with Oakland on a minor league deal this offseason. He tends to pitch backwards off his inconsistent, plus-flashing curveball. He’s a likely up/down reliever with plus arm strength. 31. Wandisson Charles, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 252 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 70/70 40/45 30/35 94-98 / 99 Charles has been on our radar for a while because of his arm strength and physical presence, which resembles that of an NFL edge rusher. He didn’t pitch all year due to an injury, but looked healthy during 2021 instructs, sitting in the 95-98 range with his fastball. He still lacks consistent feel for location and a good secondary pitch, but his sheer arm strength merits inclusion here. He seems to be fastball/slider only at this point. 32. Aiden McIntyre, SIRP Drafted: 22th Round, 2018 from Holy Names University (OAK) Age 26.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/65 40/45 45/55 30/40 92-95 / 96 McIntyre is a big, athletic righty whose fastball has plus-plus carry and tail. That heater missed a ton of bats in 2019 while sitting in the 89-93 range, and that was while McIntyre was starting. He moved to the bullpen in 2021 and was dominant during the first month of the season (21 K, 3 BB, 13 IP) before his performance backed up and he was merely okay (3.55 ERA in 38 IP) the rest of the summer, often on extended rest. He ended up sitting about 92 mph over the entire season, which was below what he showed during the early portion of his move, but he also improved as a strike-thrower. Based on his size and athleticism, McIntyre is a candidate for continued velocity growth and could eventually have a plus big league heater. 33. Stevie Emanuels, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Washington (OAK) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 50/55 40/50 30/55 87-92 / 94 A fifth-round pick in 2020, Emanuels had an injury-plagued full-season debut, and while he doesn’t throw hard, he has interesting pitch shapes and shows an innate ability to spin a baseball. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Catcher Depth Carlos Franco, C CJ Rodriguez, C Shane McGuire, C Franco, one of the younger players at instructs, is a very advanced defender for his age and has decent feel for contact. He and Rodriguez, who was the steady man in the mask for the Vanderbilt Commodores during three high-profile seasons, are low-variance backup types right now. McGuire split time behind the dish with Padres minor leaguer Adam Kerner while in college at San Diego. He’s a bat-first senior sign who performed on paper despite needing a swing change to tap into more power. Long-term Injury Crew Brady Basso, LHP Chase Cohen, RHP Jose Dicochea, RHP Parker Dunshee, RHP Basso and Dicochea both had Tommy John in July, per sources. Basso was sitting 94 and throwing a hard, upper-80s cutter before he was shut down. We have previous notes that include a curveball for him, but nothing about a curve from 2021, so he may have scrapped it. He’s struck out more than a batter per inning as a pro. Dicochea was a prep pitching prospect drafted out of Tucson. He was sitting 93-95 early in outings before backing into the low-90s during Eric’s spring looks at him, and his breaking balls have good shape and bite. He’s a decent relief prospect when healthy. Cohen was sitting 94-95 and touching 98 as part of a decent four-pitch mix before he went on the 60-day IL in July, though we don’t know the specifics of his injury. Dunshee had Thoracic Outlet surgery. He projected as a junk-balling backend starter pre-injury. Sleeper Arms We’re Watching Wander Guante, RHP Gerald Garcia, LHP Grant Holman, RHP Moises Hernandez, RHP David Leal, LHP Aaron Brown, LHP Guante is just 21 and has a low-minors bat-missing track record. He sits about 93 and has an average low-80s slider. Garcia has a good changeup and breaking ball but only sits about 90 and is physically maxed out at age 20. His peripherals are outstanding and he’ll be an interesting 2022 40-man case if he keeps performing like this. Holman, a two-way guy at Cal, and Hernandez, still 17 at time of publication, are arm strength fliers right now. The hope is Holman can add movement to his fastball. Hernandez is big for his age and sits about 93, but his arm action is very long and it hurts his command and breaking ball consistency. Go check out Leal’s numbers. He’s doing that while sitting 84! He has one hell of a changeup. Brown was a two-way player at Pepperdine and was drafted by Philadelphia as an outfielder. He’s back to pitching and will top out in the mid-90s. A Carrying Tool/Trait Buddy Reed, CF Max Schuemann, UTIL Jhoan Paulino, 3B Dermis Garcia, DH Jeremy Eierman, SS Kyle McCann, 1B Reed can really go get it in center field. Schuemann’s tools don’t stand out but he’s quietly been an average offensive performer at every level and he plays all over the place. Paulino is hanging around because of his size and power projection, but he’s also trending dangerously away from SS/3B and to 1B/3B. Garcia was once a famous Yankees prospect and hit 30 bombs last year, but he and the rest of the names here don’t have the hit tools to support a big league eval. System Overview Let’s be frank here: this isn’t a very good system. While we’ve yet to really put much time into full organizational rankings, it’s fair to say that Oakland will place somewhere in the 20s, and even that might be generous. The good news is that by the time we actually do compile our org rankings, their placement will likely have improved dramatically provided the lockout ends before then. The bad news is that significant improvement will only come at the cost of a serious downturn in the quality of the major league roster. It’s no secret that Oakland is looking to move some big names that are reaching the expensive (at least according to the A’s definition of the word) portion of their arbitration years. That list is headlined by Matt Olson, the second-best first baseman in the game by WAR in 2021, who is projected for a perfectly reasonable salary somewhere around $12 million in 2022 and still has another year of control after that. Sources have indicated that Oakland is looking for two top-100 types to headline a package for Olson and they are likely to get it in the end. Such a deal would transform the Oakland system by itself, but they’ll hardly be done. Sean Manaea is a well above-average starting pitcher entering his final year of control and could net players who considerably improve the system; the same could be said for Chris Bassitt. Frankie Montas is in that group as well, and could net an ever greater return, as he doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2023 season. Somewhere between two and four of those players will likely be dealt for prospects before Opening Day, and the team is also listening on Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman, though rather than sell low now, Oakland might wait until July to move him in hopes of an offensive bounce-back. The A’s system isn’t good, but it’s likely about to get significantly better — just not for the best of reasons.