Updated Top 10 Prospects (2016): Oakland A’s: There Are Power Bats, But What Else?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The A’s are a team flush with intriguing prospects, a lot of it acquired via trades over the past few seasons (though they used one of those prospects, Jacob Nottingham, to get immediate help in the form of Khris Davis).  Throw in some players who bring power potential and there could be a bright future for Oakland in the not-to-distant future.  Who has the best outlook?  Who may others be overvaluing?  Let’s take a look:

1) Franklin Barreto – Shortstop
ETA – 2017
Grade – A-

Acquired in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto, Barreto showed ample power (13 HR, as well as 22 doubles and 3 triples over 338 AB) at High-A last season.  Throw in 8 SB and a .302 average and it shows just how good he possibly could be.  It would be easy to point to an over-aggressive approach (4.1% walk rate), but the underlying metrics are all strong:

  • BABIP – .337
  • Strikeout Rate – 18.4%

In fact he’s actually improved his strikeout rate at each level (19.5% at Single-A in ’14), further adding to his appeal.  That said there are two concerns that fantasy owners need to monitor:

  1. A wrist injury that limited him to 90 games in ‘15
  2. His ability to stick at shortstop long-term

The second one could impact his value, but his bat seems primed to play anywhere around the diamond if he proves that he has made a full recovery from the injury.

2) Sean Manaea – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2016
Grade – B+

Another acquisition, the A’s obtained Manaea as part of the Ben Zobrist trade.  Pitching for four different teams last season (74.1 IP) he posted a 3.51 ERA courtesy of 90 K and 26 BB.  The southpaw is big (6’5”, 235 lbs.) and throws hard, though we’ll have to watch his secondary offerings and see how they develop.  The stuff is clearly there, though, which is why he’s looking dominant and was at one point in the conversation for the top pick in the 2013 draft (a shoulder injury helped contribute to his fall to #34).  He could be an ace in the making, if things continue to develop.

3) Renato Nunez – First Baseman/Third Baseman
ETA – 2016
Grade – B

He spent the season at Double-A, hitting .278 with 18 HR over 381 AB.  You can argue that he doesn’t have the raw power of some others in the A’s system, but he also shown a much better ability to make contact (15.9%) and there’s more than enough power (23 doubles in ’15 after hitting 29 HR with 28 doubles/3 triples in ’14).  Whether he settles in as a first baseman or third baseman, the bat is going to be more than enough.

4) Matt Olson – First Baseman
ETA – 2016
Grade – B

Is he the next Chris Carter type player?  He hit .249 with 17 HR (he hit 37 HR at High-A in ’14), but it came along with 139 K (23.8%).  With the potential for that number to continue to rise as he moves up against more advanced pitching, it’s possible that he’s never a good source of average.  The power will keep him on all radars, just know what you are buying.

5) Richie Martin – Shortstop
ETA – 2018
Grade – B

The team’s first round pick in 2015, his speed is going to be his best asset though he’s hardly elite in that regard. He struggled making contact in his first taste of professional baseball (20.8% strikeout rate), though that’s not expected to be an issue moving forward. That said, there’s not an extremely high ceiling with Martin and he certainly wasn’t a “sexy” first round pick.

The Next Five:

6) Chad Pinder – Shortstop
7) Matt Chapman – Third Baseman
8) Casey Meisner – Right-Handed Pitcher
9) Yairo Munoz – Shortstop
10) Dakota Chalmers – Right-Handed Pitcher

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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