Top 33 Prospects: Oakland Athletics by Eric Longenhagen June 18, 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 my own observations. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been meaningfully altered begin by telling you so. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside of a given org than those within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there, and the context of that data, in my opinion, reduces how meaningful it is. Lastly, in an effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both on my lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value. All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2021 2020 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Athletics Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Tyler Soderstrom 19.6 A 1B 2025 50 2 A.J. Puk 26.1 MLB SP 2021 50 3 Pedro Pineda 17.8 R RF 2025 45+ 4 Daulton Jefferies 25.9 MLB SP 2021 45 5 Nick Allen 22.7 AA SS 2022 45 6 Brayan Buelvas 19.0 A CF 2024 45 7 Jeff Criswell 22.3 A+ SP 2023 40+ 8 Greg Deichmann 26.1 AAA RF 2021 40+ 9 James Kaprielian 27.3 MLB SP 2021 40+ 10 Drew Millas 23.4 A+ C 2023 40+ 11 Colin Peluse 23.0 A+ MIRP 2023 40+ 12 Daniel Palencia 21.4 R SP 2024 40+ 13 Logan Davidson 23.5 AA SS 2023 40 14 Brian Howard 26.1 AAA SP 2021 40 15 Robert Puason 18.8 A SS 2025 40 16 Brady Feigl 25.6 AA SP 2022 40 17 Stevie Emanuels 22.4 A+ SP 2024 40 18 Luis Barrera 25.6 MLB CF 2021 40 19 Kyle McCann 23.5 AA 1B 2023 40 20 Grant Holmes 25.2 AAA SIRP 2021 40 21 Tyler Baum 23.4 A- MIRP 2023 40 22 Jack Weisenburger 23.7 AA SIRP 2023 40 23 Michael Guldberg 22.0 A+ CF 2024 40 24 Parker Dunshee 26.4 AAA SP 2021 40 25 Aiden McIntyre 25.8 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 26 Jorge Juan 22.3 R SP 2023 35+ 27 Junior Perez 20.0 A RF 2022 35+ 28 Jordan Diaz 20.8 A+ 1B 2022 35+ 29 Jhoan Paulino 20.0 R 3B 2024 35+ 30 Buddy Reed 26.1 AAA CF 2021 35+ 31 Wandisson Charles 24.8 AA SIRP 2021 35+ 32 Jeremy Eierman 24.8 AA SS 2023 35+ 33 Jose Mora 23.7 A SIRP 2023 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 Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Turlock HS (CA) (OAK) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 50/60 20/55 40/40 30/45 45 Soderstrom is the best prospect I saw during big league and minor league spring training, and that was the case for many scouts, as well. 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 rip the ball 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. I think we’ve only seen the tip of his defensive iceberg, but 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. He took a foul ball off the shoulder this spring, collapsed into a heap, and was removed. Stuff like that happens to catchers once in a while but it’s also the sort of thing that might cause him to play through pain and not hit as well for long stretches. Some teams wanted to run him out as a corner outfielder or third baseman in pro ball, and he’s also played a bunch of first base so far this year. I think 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. This is a plus bat likely to amass 40 annual doubles. 2. A.J. Puk, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florida (OAK) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 60/60 50/55 55/60 40/45 94-97 / 99 Puk has now missed the better part of the last three seasons due to a Tommy John surgery (2018), subsequent rehab (most of ’19), and persistent shoulder problems (’20) that culminated in a September 2020 surgery. He pitched during the back half of spring training with diminished velocity and was shut down with a mild shoulder strain. He’s been pitching relief in 2021. Long a softer-bodied guy, Puk spent the offseason training at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida and now looks lean and cut. A return to form would mean Puk is sitting 94-97 (harder out of the bullpen, if that’s how he’s used) with a plus slider, above-average changeup, and a curveball that was re-introduced to his repertoire in pro ball after it had been shelved in college. In his early 2021 outings, Puk was more 92-93 with his typical impact array of secondary stuff. Likely an impact arm when healthy, Puk generally hasn’t been. 45+ FV Prospects 3. Pedro Pineda, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 17.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/45 50/70 25/60 60/50 40/50 60 Pineda has looked electric during my spring and Extended looks, and has as much power-hitting potential as anyone in this system, including Soderstrom. His swing has lift but isn’t long, and his high-effort cuts generate huge bat speed. He’s currently a plus runner with a big, projectable frame. He’s probably going to fill out and slow down at least a little bit. I’ve only seen him DH and play an outfield corner because of Brayan Buelvas’ presence during the spring, so I don’t have great in-person feel for his ability to play center, but it’s worth trying to start Pineda’s career. Obviously we’ll know more about the bat to ball skills as Pineda generates a year of data, but right now he looks like he has everyday ability and no contact red flags that might undo things. 45 FV Prospects 4. Daulton Jefferies, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Cal (OAK) Age 25.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 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 After a slew of injuries, Jefferies finally had something resembling a full season in 2019 and then couldn’t build on it last year. He spent more time on the IL with biceps tendinitis in 2021, but when healthy he looks like a big league-ready No. 4/5 starter who rarely walks anyone. Plus command of a solid four-pitch mix (he sits 92-94, his power, upper-80s changeup is plus, and his cutter and curveball are about average) has enabled Jefferies to walk about one batter every 10 innings, but of course the fact that he has fewer than 200 affiliated innings since 2016 is pretty damning. Given the current frequency of injuries across baseball, it’s likely that Jefferies will factor into yet another A’s postseason race at some point this year and I expect him to perform when called upon. 5. Nick Allen, SS Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Francis Parker HS (CA) (OAK) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 9″ 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 50/50 70/70 60 One of the best high school shortstop defenders many scouts have ever seen, Allen’s size, or lack thereof, is why he fell to the draft’s third round, as there was concern he would not have the requisite physicality to hit big league pitching. After a few years of pro ball, Allen’s wrists and forearms have become strong enough to put viable contact in play (and he makes plenty of it), though probably not with enough force to truly profile as an everyday shortstop. He’s quite similar to fellow punchless leatherwizard José Iglesias, and could be a 1.5-ish WAR everyday player like Iglesias has been, but Allen started seeing time at second base and third base in 2019, and could also be an elite defensive utility infielder if he isn’t just a low-end shortstop regular. 6. Brayan Buelvas, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Colombia (OAK) Age 19.0 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 Buelvas doesn’t have monster tools right now. Instead, he’s got an advanced, well-rounded game and hit .300/.392/.506 in the 2019 AZL despite being two and a half years younger than the average player in that league. Yes, two and a half years younger than the average AZL player. His skillset is going to be augmented by how he physically matures. This isn’t a player with overt, striking physical projection like Kristian Robinson or other 6-foot-3 prospects of his ilk. Buelvas is an angular 5-foot-11, certainly likely to get bigger and stronger but probably not grow into huge power. He might hit 15 to 20 homers via consistent, quality contact, though right now he has below-average raw power. He’s fast and instinctive enough to stay in center field, so he doesn’t need big power to play every day. Buelvas currently has a skillset similar to many of the high school outfielders who typically go toward the back of a draft’s first round except without their usual physical projection and power potential. 40+ FV Prospects 7. Jeff Criswell, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Michigan (OAK) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 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 even though he walked a batter every other inning and looked relievery during the Wolverines brief 2020 pre-pandemic month of play. The A’s still popped him in the second round, and Criswell’s fall look — he went from sitting 92-93 and touching 96 to sitting 94-97 — was that of a steal. He was working with four pitches (he was very heavily reliant on the heater in college) that all flashed viable big league utility, especially the two breaking balls. Criswell was again up to 97 in his first 2021 spring outing but was quickly shut down with elbow inflammation, which again popped up in his first outing of the season. The combined elbow trouble and mechanical violence definitely create relief risk but there’s starter upside here if Criswell stays healthy. 8. Greg Deichmann, RF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from LSU (OAK) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 70/70 45/50 45/45 40/45 55 There’s a rift between Deichmann’s obvious raw power and his in-game power production. He hit nearly as many home runs during his six-week 2019 Fall League stint as he did during his entire season that year at Double-A Midland, where his statline may have been compromised by an injured shoulder. It was the latest of several weird injuries that have limited Deichmann’s playing time. He was hit in the face by a pitch in 2017 and required surgery, then broke a hamate in ’18, the shoulder in ’19, and then there was the pandemic. We’re still talking about a 26-year-old corner outfielder who has struck out in excess of 30% of the time at his last couple stops, and that’s scary, but Deichmann crushes righties and is pretty likely to play some sort of part-time role, at least. His walk rates exploded early in 2021 and it only took him a couple of weeks to accumulate nearly as many walks as he did in all of ’19. This may be a small sample blip or an indication of a change that could enable Deichmann to fit in as more than just a corner platoon bat, but he’s most likely that. 9. James Kaprielian, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from UCLA (NYY) Age 27.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 60/60 50/50 55/55 45/50 92-94 / 95 Now 27, Kaprielian is finally healthy and pitching regularly in the big leagues four years after he was the center piece in the 2017 Sonny Gray trade. He touched 96 during a 2020 relief outing but has been mostly 91-95 as a starter in 2021, including the starts he’s made on normal rest. While that’s not where Kap’s heater was at peak (94-97, touch 99), it’s an encouraging sign for someone whose injury track record is as long as anyone’s in baseball. He missed nearly all of 2016 due to a flexor-tendon strain, blew out his UCL during ’17 spring training and needed Tommy John, then was shut back down with shoulder soreness in ’18 during rehab, and finally had more shoulder soreness early in ’19. Healthy Kaprielian has starter’s command of four viable pitches. His delivery has always been a stiff-looking version of the UCLA style of mechanics and it adds some deception, especially to Kap’s parachuting changeup, which he’ll throw to hitters of either handedness. His mid-80s slider has average length but bites late, and you’ll occasionally see a slower, more vertical curveball that’s close to 80 mph. He’s a plug-and-play 45 with an injury history that forces one to round down on the FV grade. 10. Drew Millas, C Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from Missouri State (OAK) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 45/45 30/30 50/45 50/60 60 Millas is a fantastic defensive catcher. He’s an athletic catch-and-throw guy with terrific lateral agility and hands. He also has a pretty looking swing and his athleticism is evident in the batter’s box, with his cut geared more for low-ball contact from both sides. There’s not likely to be impact power here, but Millas has a pretty good mix of patience and feel for contact, especially for a catcher. He’s a high-probability backup with some traits — the switch-hitting, the early-career peripherals, the visual evaluation of his athleticism and frame, both of which are rare for the position — that make me want to round up and indicate that there’s more upside here. 11. Colin Peluse, MIRP Drafted: 9th Round, 2019 from Wake Forest (OAK) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 45/55 30/45 93-96 / 97 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, he was sitting 94-98 during 2020 instructs. He’s held that velo into the 2021 season and his changeup has flashed better now than in the past. Peluse throws exclusively from the stretch, his fastball/slider combo gives him a relief floor, and the changeup progression gives him a shot to start. 12. Daniel Palencia, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (OAK) Age 21.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 30/45 96-98 / 99 Palencia was signed in February of 2020, so it was technically the 2019 signing period, and of course we had no season in which to evaluate him. He came out in 2021 Extended throwing huge heat in just an outing or two before he was sent to Stockton not long before list publication. He was 97-99 in those outings. Palencia is a squat young man with a longer arm action, but he has feel for creating bat-missing breaking ball depth, and he obviously has a huge arm. There is less track record here than is typical for most 21-year-old prospects but Palencia has a long developmental runway because he only just signed. He’s an exciting prospect because of his arm strength and breaking ball, but the rest is still out of focus because industry exposure has been limited to just a few innings. 40 FV Prospects 13. Logan Davidson, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Clemson (OAK) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 55/55 30/40 50/50 50/50 60 Teams had seven-figure valuations on Davidson coming out of high school but he opted to go to Clemson, where he hit and hit for power for three consecutive years before getting $2.5 million as Oakland’s first rounder in 2019. He’s a big, switch-hitting 6-foot-3 shortstop (who’s likely to stay there) with above-average raw power from both sides of the plate. He hasn’t hit for that sort of power in games with wood bats; he slugged just .266 both years on the Cape and .330 in pro ball. Even though Davidson will hit the occasional oppo tank, his swing only has lift in certain parts of the zone, which upper-level arms should be able to work around. Davidson’s actions are a little slow but everything else about his shortstop defense is sound. He has good feet, soft hands, and a plus arm — he just doesn’t always turn the ball around swiftly. His ability to play shortstop gives him significant margin for error on the offensive side but on paper so far in pro ball, Davidson has a walk-reliant profile and has shown no signs of meaningful feel for contact or in-game power. 14. Brian Howard, SP Drafted: 8th Round, 2017 from TCU (OAK) Age 26.1 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 spent half of 2018 pitching well at Double-A. His stuff is pretty generic — 89-93 with an average cutter and curveball — but Howard’s size (he’s 6-foot-9) creates a unique angle on his pitches that hitters clearly aren’t comfortable with. He also has remarkable control of his body for a pitcher of this size. It’s fifth or sixth starter stuff, which would already be a great outcome for a high-priority senior sign, and I’m inclined to round to the top of that range based on the weirdness created by Howard’s height and his purported competitiveness. 15. Robert Puason, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/60 20/45 50/50 45/55 60 Puason, he of the $5 million bonus in 2019, does not look very good. His defensive performance has been mixed (he made some fantastic plays this spring while also botching some of the routine ones), but where he’s really lagging right now is on offense. He’s been very, very late on fastballs in my looks, even below-average ones in the 90-92 range. This is occurring from both sides of the plate and even when Puason chokes up with two strikes. Puason is still a big-framed switch-hitter who flashes defensive excellence, and I understand why he was sought after on the amateur market, but I don’t think we’re looking at a future star here, at least not one who’s going to come along quickly. 16. Brady Feigl, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (OAK) Age 25.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/50 45/50 50/50 90-93 / 95 Feigl is a high-probability 40-man piece with average control of three average pitches — a low-90s sinker, upper-70s curveball, and low-80s changeup. He gets groundballs at a 53% career rate and has a consistent strike-throwing track record dating back to the start of his pro career. He’s almost certain to pitch in the big leagues at some point in 2022. 17. Stevie Emanuels, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Washington (OAK) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 50/55 40/50 30/55 87-92 / 94 Emanuels is a slim 6-foot-5 righty with an easy delivery and good slider command. He sat in the upper-80s during the brief 2020 college season but certainly has the frame and athleticism to come into more velo late, and his command gives him a shot to start. Emanuels has very little experience as a starter; he pitched out of the Huskies bullpen as an underclassman and his starting tenure lasted all of four games in 2020 before the shutdown. He has lots of late-bloomer traits and could end up pitching toward the back of a rotation. 18. Luis Barrera, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 25.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 50/50 30/35 70/70 45/45 70 Barrera slugged over .500 during an injury-shortened 2019 (right shoulder surgery) at Double-A Midland, but his approach and swing path aren’t really conducive to him hitting for power going forward. I have him projected as a bench outfielder, albeit an uncommonly toolsy one because of his impact speed and throwing arm. He can play center field in a pinch and definitely has the long speed for it, but his instincts and feel are below average out there. 19. Kyle McCann, 1B Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Georgia Tech (OAK) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 217 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 35/50 30/30 40/45 40 McCann is a three true outcomes hitting prospect who needs to be able to catch some of the time to have big league utility. He’s catching basically every other day right now and playing first base the rest of the time. His size is an impediment to his lateral mobility as a catcher and the general consensus when McCann was an amateur was that he’d need to move to first base. He’s improved as a receiver but still falls short from an arm strength perspective. It’s not out of the question that McCann will be able to catch a couple times a week but his best position is hitter, and he’s more likely to take a late-game at-bat off a righty or make an occasional DH/1B start. 20. Grant Holmes, SIRP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Conway HS (SC) (LAD) Age 25.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 40/40 50/50 30/35 92-94 / 97 Wire-to-wire shoulder issues kept Holmes off the field for nearly all of the 2018 regular season and he was handled with care in ’19, working three to five innings at a time. Holmes was 90-94 in 2019 and came into spring training last season with more juice, sitting 92-95 before the shut down, with his typical slider and what looked like a new cutter. His velocity has continued to climb and he’s been up to 97 in 2021, sitting mostly 93-95 as a starter. Based on the health and command track record, I have Holmes projected in middle relief even though he does have four pitches. His arm action is super long and his command remains well below average, except for that cutter, which Holmes spots to his glove side with frequency. Holmes has one option year remaining. 21. Tyler Baum, MIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from North Carolina (OAK) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/50 30/40 93-95 / 97 For most of his college career, Baum’s stuff was not as electric as it was during his high school peak, but it ticked back up toward the end of his junior year at UNC and he was up to 96 after the draft. Baum’s arm slot wanders a little bit and sometimes his fastball has more run than at others, and his command comes and goes. Part of why he hasn’t pitched at an affiliate in 2021 yet is due to issues throwing strikes, according to a scout not with Oakland. Baum’s changeup has fairly consistent fading action that mirrors the best of those fastballs, but his upper-70s, two-plane curveball is the headline pitch, and flashes plus. He’s on the starter/reliever line depending on how you feel about the delivery and he’s definitely trending toward the latter based on his start to 2021. 22. Jack Weisenburger, SIRP Drafted: 20th Round, 2019 from Michigan (OAK) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 45/45 40/40 93-96 / 97 Another big part of Michigan’s 2019 club, Weisenberger is a pure reliever who has also enjoyed a velo spike in pro ball, now touching 97. His best pitch is a two-planed slider that features good back foot angle versus lefties, and he can also guide an okay changeup to the arm-side part of the plate. He’s a quick-moving middle relief prospect. 23. Michael Guldberg, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Georgia Tech (OAK) Age 22.0 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 wasn’t on last year’s draft board largely due to a lack of power, but having watched him for much of the spring, he belonged toward the back of the list. Guldberg is a solid, well-rounded player with premium speed. He’s been running in the 4.1s for me, as low as 4.00 on a bunt attempt, and he’s squaring up good velocity. He covers the plate well, has taken good at-bats, and sprayed liners all over the field. The lack of power and power projection (he’s a narrow-framed guy) caps his ceiling, and I’d be surprised if he became more than a part-time outfielder, but he’s a potential big league role player. 24. Parker Dunshee, SP Video Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Wake Forest (OAK) Age 26.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 45/45 50/50 55/55 55/60 89-92 / 94 I’m not sweating Dunshee’s Triple-A ERA. Las Vegas is not a favorable environment for pitchers in general, and especially not for ones who take an approach like Dunshee’s, which results in lots of fly balls and for which the Las Vegas elevation is particularly punishing. Dunshee started nibbling and gave up way more homers in Vegas than he has for his entire career. I still view him as a deceptive, strike-throwing fifth starter or swingman. 35+ FV Prospects 25. Aiden McIntyre, SIRP Drafted: 22th Round, 2018 from Holy Names University (OAK) Age 25.8 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. Now he’s in the bullpen and more consistently in the mid-90s. Based on his size, athleticism, late physical growth and meandering developmental trajectory, I think McIntyre is a candidate for continued velocity growth and could eventually have a dominant big league heater. He has some feel for creating action on his changeup but there’s not a knockout secondary pitch here yet. He’s going to be an interesting 40-man candidate for the A’s during the offseason. 26. Jorge Juan, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 40/45 40/45 40/50 30/50 93-97 / 98 Juan stands out because he’s a gigantic 6-foot-9, but his velocity has slowly climbed from the 88-92 range and now resides in the mid-to-upper-90s. He and the A’s are still searching for an impact secondary offering but they need only find one for Juan to end up pitching in relief now that his fastball velocity has exploded. He’s pretty smooth for someone his size and has a puncher’s chance to start, but unlike fellow Extended breakout guy Daniel Palencia, the 40-man timeline here is pushing Juan toward relief. 27. Junior Perez, RF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (SDP) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 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 sent from San Diego to Oakland for Jorge Mateo. He had tremendous 2019 AZL output, 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 has dominated his 2021, in both a more concerning statistical way and in 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 a result of the ultra-long layoff. 28. Jordan Diaz, 1B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Colombia (OAK) Age 20.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 45/50 30/35 30/30 40/55 40 Diaz has fantastic natural feel for the barrel and hand-eye coordination but his approach, defensive fit (hopefully third base, maybe first), and lack of power make him more of a hit tool flier than a likely role-playing stick. His arm strength is less than is typical at third base. I wonder what he’d look like at second but he’s a 30 runner so a lack of range might be a problem. The A’s haven’t been inclined to try that yet and instead Diaz has played some first, where he’s a good feet and hands athlete for that position. But because we’re talking about a relatively free-swinging first baseman with below-average power, it’s tough to see Diaz profiling even as some kind of pre-arb bandaid. I do think he’s a reverse projection candidate, and you can’t teach his feel for the barrel, so he remains on the main section of the list. 29. Jhoan Paulino, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 50/55 30/45 40/40 40/45 55 Paulino’s size already suggests he’s not a long-term fit at shortstop, but he does have infield actions and arm strength and could be quite good at third or perhaps even shoehorned in at second. He’s been a more filled out, softer-bodied guy for a couple of years now and came to 2021 Extended looking the same. For now, he simply has an intriguing combination of power and defensive profile, with very little still actually in focus. It’s perhaps concerning he didn’t get sent to an affiliate and began the year in Extended. 30. Buddy Reed, CF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Florida (SDP) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/35 50/50 30/35 70/70 70/70 60 Reed was a lightly-scouted multi-sport high school athlete in Maryland who also played hockey before he arrived at the University of Florida. Soon after he stepped on campus, scouts saw and become enamored with his enormous athletic potential. He has 70 speed and defensive ability in the outfield, along with a 60 arm and average raw power. As a 6-foot-4, 210 pound athletic marvel, he’ll probably play forever as a depth outfielder in the Jake Marisnick mold, but the hit tool is not playable in the big leagues. 31. Wandisson Charles, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops 70/70 50/55 55/55 30/35 94-98 / 99 Catch Charles on the right night and he’ll show you three 55 or better pitches. Other nights, though, he’ll walk three or four guys just trying to get through an inning or two of work. I have him in up/down relief right now because the control is too erratic to trust Charles as a core part of your bullpen day in and day out, but if he ever starts throwing strikes (and finds a more consistent release for his splitter), he’ll be an absolute monster. He’s on the 40-man but began 2021 on the IL. 32. Jeremy Eierman, SS Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Missouri State (OAK) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 35/45 40/40 40/40 60 Eierman’s older brother Johnny was a third round pick of the Rays in 2011 and his father, John, played A-ball for the Red Sox in the mid-90s. Jeremy was a solid prep prospect, but not the type who gets a big bonus and signs out of high school, so he ended up at Missouri State, where he had a breakout sophomore year. He was often seen by high-level decision makers during that breakout because he was playing alongside first round third baseman Jake Burger, and he had 2018 first round buzz by the end of the college postseason because scouts thought he could be a passable shortstop with all-fields power, and analytics folks liked his huge season and higher-than-you’d-expect exit velos. Then Eierman had an inconsistent summer with Team USA and his draft spring was a bit of a letdown. He plateaued, arguably had a worse statistical season, and suddenly there were doubts about his approach and ultimate defensive home, which have continued in pro ball. There’s definitely power here, just not the kind of bat-to-ball utility that can get to enough of it in games. 33. Jose Mora, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (OAK) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/60 30/35 90-93 / 94 The A’s have slow played Mora, but he has a great bat-missing track record since moving to the bullpen and I think his arm slot helps his slider play in a meaningful way, so I’m staying on him as a potential relief piece. Mora has a well-balanced lower half but he lacks tactile feel for release, which impacts his command. His upper body rotates in unison like a tilt-a-whirl, and his low three-quarters arm slot generates mediocre angle on his fastball but nasty, two-plane movement on his slider. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Fun Org Guys Cobie Vance, 3B Sahid Valenzuela, SS Vance is a stocky, tough-nosed infielder who is tough to strike out. Valenzuela is more of a glove-first, switch-hitting utility infield type who has an all-out style of play. Pitching Depth Seth Shuman, RHP Brady Basso, LHP Dalton Sawyer, LHP Eric Mariñez, RHP Miguel Romero, RHP Osvaldo Berrios, RHP Shuman, 23 and at High-A, is a pitchability righty up to 94, with command of four serviceable pitches. Basso is another 23-year-old in A-ball. He’s a hard-throwing lefty with a curveball and a cutter. Sawyer is a lower slot lefty who has had a little bit of a velo bump since moving to the bullpen, touching 94 this spring. He was a depth starter type before surgery but he’s missing a lot of bats out of the bullpen now. Mariñez is a conversion arm who was instantly 93-96 with breaking ball and changeup feel upon the move. His on-mound athleticism has regressed. Romero, a Cuban reliever who would peak in the 95-97 range and show an average slider and “critter” knuckle changeup, has regressed as a strike-thrower. Berrios is a young, athletic righty with advanced command and a changeup. He’s 21. Developmental Projects Jalen Greer, 2B Jose Dicochea, RHP Lawrence Butler, 1B T.J. Schofield-Sam, 3B Three of these players were 2019 high school draftees. Greer was Oakland’s fifth rounder in 2019 and really struggled in the AZL but he’s a cold weather high schooler from the Chicago area, so that’s not immediately disqualifying. Dicochea was their eighth rounder, a high school righty from Tucson who has been up to 96, sitting low-90s, with two distinct breaking balls. He has relief control. Schofield-Sam has quick hitter’s hands and tracks pitches well but struggles to get the head out and do real damage. He puts a lot of awkward contact into play. He’s from Ontario so, like Greer, he’s going to be a slow burn. A slow burn is also likely for Butler, a 2018 draftee, though he’s first base-only. Butler has a big league frame and raw power, as well as a high-risk hit tool. Won’t Hit, IMO Cody Thomas, OF Austin Beck, OF Lazaro Armenteros, OF All three of these guys have big physical tools and have at times electrified scouts. But ultimately, I think all three have issues making contact that torpedo their obvious ability. What Thomas has been able to do, transitioning from football to baseball late and nearly reaching the big leagues, is amazing. The type of big league role he could conceivably have is usually played by hitters who don’t wow you as much with epic bombs, but who have better feel for contact, like Seth Brown. Beck’s downfall is his inability to lay off sliders away from him. Remember he was a spring pop-up guy. The industry lesson to learn here is that it’s hard to evaluate pitch recognition during varsity play. Armenteros’ swing simply isn’t on plane with the baseball for very long, and this was exacerbated by his own epicurean approach, which was also impossible to evaluate in the workout settings that made him famous. System Overview This system is starting to look pretty bare up top but has average depth. Some of that is because of the decision Kyler Murray made. We’re also not far removed from All-Star talents like Sean Murphy and Jesús Luzardo graduating. But A.J. Puk, Daulton Jefferies and James Kaprielian also thicken it artificially since they’re only still on here because they’ve all been hurt a lot. There have been some high-profile whiffs (Franklin Barreto), the college shortstops the org has drafted lately (Richie Martin, Mikey White, Eli White, Kevin Merrell, Davidson) haven’t panned out as impact players, and there wasn’t really any depth to fall back on from the 2019 international class because the A’s used most of their bonus pool to sign Robert Puason. But the club has done well with college pitching, especially on Day Two of the draft, and the org has in-house answers to the injury attrition that befalls big league pitching. The club may have found yet another offensive star in Tyler Soderstrom. The A’s moved him back to their pick by offering a sizable over-slot deal, putting many of their eggs in a high-risk basket (high school catching). He was the best young hitter I saw in Arizona all spring and it wasn’t close. The problem for the A’s is that they may not have the farm ammunition to make the sort of trade that can separate them from the rest of their division. If they want to make a splashy deadline deal, they probably don’t have a trump card to play in pursuit of someone like Trevor Story.