But I just want to spend a second on the unfortunate passing of comedian Mitch Hedberg. I'm a huge fan of stand-up comedy and Mitch was on of my favorites. I saw him live twice, a great time out. He was only 37.
I hope at least something good can come from this and it serves as a wakeup call to hard drug users -- Sadly though, it likely wont.
"I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that. "
The can't hit Gold Glove calibre outfielder is being made into a pitcher. About time, in my opinion. After hearing about how great his arm is for about 3 years now, I've wanted this to go down for 2 seasons. Mcbeth has a cannon for an arm and has very decent potential on the mound -- Much more than he had in the outfield. I doubt the A's will start Mcbeth in a full season league, so he'll likely be in Vancouver or even Arizona to start out. He may not ever be able to make it to prospect status as he's already 24 and starting in Low A. That doesn't mean though that he can't have a future on the mound. It'll be very interesting to see how he does this season.
Johnson was 2 for 2 today and is hitting .395. Scott Hatteberg was 0 for 3 and is now hitting .186. No matter the pride Hatte has, even if he knows he's done, I can't imagine he'd retire and hand over the 2.5 mil he due in 2005. How long will Hatte be given? I'm not one to look too much into spring training, but after Hatte was terrible to end last season you have to be a little concerned.
Lets try another discussion after the last didn't get too many commecnts -- How long does Hatteberg have to show something before Johnson replaces him?
Dan Johnson this spring is 13 for 35, good for a .371 average. When I saw him in Sacramento he was 4 for 4, all against left handed pitching no less. He reminded me a little of Aubrey Huff.
Johnson seems about as ready as he needs to be before he gets a shot in the big leagues, but there is no date in site where you could expect DJ's debut. Is he deserving of a spot over Scott Hatteberg? How many AB's does he need this season before the A's are comfortable with DJ replacing Durazo/Hatteberg in 2006? Does he need to be traded to a team that can give him the shot he deserves?
What is in store for DJ's future? When will he become a regular? Will he not become one? Should he start now? Should the A's count on him to start in 2006? Let's see if I can get some comments here. Your opinion of Dan Johnson...
Not really a surprise I guess. Johnson has been pretty bad this spring. He's walked people as well as thrown about one wild pitch per inning. I can't imagine it being a loss for this season, but it may very well be for the future. Johnson has very rare stuff for a lefty, it's just that his control is lacking. Here are his stats:
What this does though is opens up a spot for Huston Street. I think it's a pretty safe bet that Street opens 2005 in Oakland.
Check out some of the good offers over to the right as well as telling some friends about my site. My hits every once in a while are very good, then they go back down. I'd like to keep it up so keep coming back every day.
Landon Powell will miss the entire 2005 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. It was initially thought that Powell, who was Oakland's first-round pick in last June's draft, would be ready for the start of the season, but that is no longer the case.Mar. 20 - 8:49 am et
Powell is already 23 years old. Next season he'll be 24 by the start of the year. At 24, your average prospect should be ready to make his MLB debut. Powell may have to start in Low A. This will seriously hinder Powell's prospect status, at his age he may never see the top 30 again. That's not to say he can't still become a very good catcher, the potential is still there, but a knee injury, especially a torn ACL, could possibly cause permanent problems.
5 - Dan Meyer, LHP, Born 7/3/81, Acquired via trade with Atlanta
Meyer was the main Braves prospect targeted by Billy Beane when talking about a Tim Hudson deal. As well as walking away with Juan Cruz and Charles Thomas, Billy Beane was also able to get his guy Dan Meyer. Meyer has very good stuff for a lefty as well as a solid makeup. Meyer has yet to post an ERA above 3 in the minor leagues, but was hit a little bit hard in AAA last season. After a promotion to AAA, Meyer continued to keep runs from scoring, but his WHIP went up to an alarming 1.43 and his BB:9 went up by well over 1. The A's are giving him every chance to open up as the A's #5 starter, but he's responded with a poor spring. Meyer will likely open in AAA-Sacramento, but could be the first option if an A's starter struggles. 4 - Joe Blanton, RHP, Born 12/11/80, Acquired via draft: 2002, 1st round, 24th overall
Most rankings will place Meyer well ahead of Blanton, but I prefer Blanton because he seems more major league ready and is, to me, one of the more underrated prospects in baseball. Blanton has an uncanny ability to throw strikes to go with very solid stuff. His fastball is inconsistant sometimes high 80's, other times low 90's, but a plus slider along with his ability to throw strikes and Blanton to me is about as sure a bet as you'll find from a pitching prospect to end up a solid major league pitcher. Blanton is pitching very well this spring and will likely open as the A's #4 of #5 starter. He should be seen as a top candidate to win ROY if his offense can support him. 3 - Javier Herrera, CF/RF, Born 4/9/85, Signed as an undrafted FA out of Venezuela
Herrera has superstar written all over him but is very very far away. He had a solid 2003 season in Rookie Ball, but he was injured when he ran head first into the CF wall. Herrera actually lost feeling in his legs before returning to Arizona to struggle for the rest of the year. Herrera played only at Short Season-Vancouver this season, but as able to win league MVP at just 19 years of age. Herrera needs to improve his plate discipline a little which should in turn reduce how often he K's. Herrera will likely open up at Low A-Kane County, but he could see a promotion shortly. 2 - Daric Barton, 1B, Born 8/16/85, Acquired via trade with St. Louis
Barton wasn't the most known prospect as a Cardinal, but after being traded to Oakland in the Mark Mulder deal his name became well known. His defense is a question mark as he'll be moving to first base this season. He's also had some elbow trouble already having surgery on it at the start of the 2004 season. What Barton can do though is hit. He is incredibly advanced for someone his age as he doesn't K much and he walks very frequently. He'll likely open up in High A-Stockton, but could be in AA shortly. It's not out that outrageous to imagine Barton as the A's DH or 1B as soon as 2006. 1 - Nick Swisher, RF, Born 11/25/80, Acquired via draft: 2002, 1st round, 16th overall Swisher gets the nod over Barton just because he is currently major league ready. It doesn't hurt that Swisher is a good defender in the OF and gold glove calibre at first. Swisher has extreme power potential and as advanced an eye at the plate as you'll ever seen from a 24 year old. Swisher may not become a .300 hitter, but .280 isn't out of the question as he gets healthy after having a torn thumb ligiment all last season. One thing is for sure though, Swisher will walk often, strike out often, and hit for extra bases often. He'll open the season as the A's right fielder and is a leading candidate for ROY.
10 - Jairo Garcia, RHP, Born 3/7/83, Signed as an undrafted FA out of The Dominican Republic
Garcia was somewhat of a surprise in the 2004 season winning the A's organization "Pitcher of the Year" award. He obviously has a very high ceiling with a plus-plus slider and mid 90's fastball. Garcia has one problem though, he can't throw strikes. His control was fine at the start of the season but it's been terrible since. Taking into account winter ball and 2005 Spring Traning, since leaving Kane County Garcia has walked about 7 batters per 9 innings. BA sites a scout comparing Garcia to Eric Gagne, but until Garcia refines his control, the comparisons should be set quite a bit lower. Garcia will likely start out in AAA-Sacramento and be one of the A's first options if a reliever misses time -- That of course is assuming Garcia remevers how to throw strikes.
9 - Dan Johnson, 1B, Born 8/10/79, Aquired via draft: 2001, 7th round, 221st overall
Johnson was one of the A's top 3 prospects last season, but has fallen quite a bit despite winning PCL MVP. That's not Johnson's fault though, it just shows how much better the A's system is now as opposed to one year ago. Johnson is a little old for a prospect, 25 and 1/2 by April, but he's hit everywhere he's been. It's a shame that the A's don't have room for him right now, but his time should come. If his time doesn't come in Oakland than he'll be fine trade bail come the deadline. For now, he'll begin in AAA-Sacramento.
8 - Richie Robnett, CF, Born 9/17/83, Acquired via draft: 2004, 1st round, 26th overall
Robnett has one of the higher ceilings in the A's system and is one of 2005's breakout candidates. Robnett is one of the more impressive batting practice hitters you'll see, but he hasn't figured out how to transfer it all into game situations. He was somewhat of a surprise pick for the A's and demonstrates just how the A's philosophies are ever changing. Robnett will likely begin in High A-Stockton but may hit his way to AA-Midland before long. If Robnett hits like the A's think he's capable, he may very well be starting in Oakland sometime during 2007.
7 - Omar Quintanilla, 2B, Born 10/24/81, Acquired via draft: 2003, 1st round, 33rd overall
Like Johnson, Quintanilla had a great season but dropped in the A's prospect rankings. Quintanilla got off to a pretty slow start, but finsihed very strong. In 94 AB's after being promoted to AA-Midland, Quintanilla hit .351 with 10 doubles and 2 HR's. He doesn't walk that much, but he doesn't strike out much either. Quintanilla has the potential to be an above average 2B and may very well be the front runner for A's second basemen in 2006. Quintanilla may return to AA-Midland, but he could just as easily start in AAA-Sacramento.
6 - Huston Street, RHP, Born 8/2/83, Acquired via draft: 2004, 1st round, 40th overall
What to say about Huston Street? He dominated for 3 seasons in college, dominated in the minors after being drafted, then dominated in the Arizona Fall League. Oh, and he's currently dominating major league hitters in Spring Training. Street was able to add a couple MPH to his fastball when he showed up to As camp as he was over a groin injury that plagued him throughout his season at Texas. Seen as a two-pitch pitcher (with a slider) there were doubts that Street would be able to dominate in the major leagues. So what Street did was learn a changeup, and reports have it already as a very solid pitch. Street may start in AAA-Sacramento, but if he continues to dominate in ST the A's would be hard pressed to keep him out of Oakland in April. There is little question that Street will be the A's closer in the very near future.
15 - Brad Knox, RHP, Born 5/27/82, Acquired via draft: 2002, 14th round, 428th overall
Knox was one of the systems top sleepers entering the 2004 season and he did nothing but dominate all season long. Knox is from the same Junior College as Rich Harden, but he's a very different pitcher. Knox rarely tops 91 MPH on his fastball. To get hitters out early in his carrer, Knox has relied upton a plus curve ball. The reason why Knox isn't higher on the list is because there are questions as to whether Knox will be able to get hitters out at higher levels with just an average fastball. Knox may miss some of the start of the season with a back injury, but he shouldn't miss too long. When healthy, Knox will likely start in AA-Midland.
14 - Landon Powell, C, Born 3/19/82, Acquired via draft: 2004, 1st round, 24th overall
Powell has as much power potential as pretty much any catcher in the minor leagues, but his ability to hit for average is a question mark. Powell is already 23 years old so he needs to move up the system fast -- Not long ago though Powell went down with a knee injury. At the time it was announced he'd only miss spring training. In the last week though. people have proclaimed he may miss the entire season while others have said he'll miss just the first half. Personally though, I haven't seen anything written about it other than things saying he was only out for ST. I guess we may not know until he plays. When Powell is healthy, which is God knows when, he'll likely start in A-Stockton.
13 - Brian Snyder, 3B, Born 3/17/82, Acquired via draft: 2003, 1st round, 26th overall
Snyder was sort of a surprise pick in the 2003 draft. It was documented that Billy Beane had interest in two home-town players, one of those players being Stanford's Carlos Quentin. When the A's turn came up, the owned picks 25 and 26 and Carlos Quentin was still availible. The A's took Brad Sullivan and...Brian Snyder from Stetson. Quentin then went #29 to Arizona and is now considered one of baseballs top 50 prospects. Snyder has very good plate discipline but his work habits were in question last season. While Snyder had a respectful season (An OPS over .900) he added about 20 pounds over the course of the season. He then attempted a come back from a hip flexor injury but it didn't go so well. Snyder will likely open up in AA-Midland and may go the way of Mark Teahen and be used as trade bait since 3B is blocked by Chavez until next decade.
12 - Danny Putnam, LF, Born 9/17/82, Acquired via draft: 2004, 1st round, 36th overall
Putnam was targeted by the A's entering the 2004 draft and I could only assume that the A's were thrilled to walk away with him. Baseball America though Putnam would go #24 to Oakland. The A's though were able to get Putnam 36th. Putnam was good but not great in Low-A last season but was good enough to start 2005 in A-Stockton. Putnam is limited on defense and will have to hit to rise through the system. Putnam has one of the higher ceilings in the A's system.
11 - Kurt Suzuki, C, Born 10/4/83, Acquired via draft: 2004, 2nd round, 67th overall
Suzuki is another player the A's were linked too entering the draft and another player they ended up walking away with. Suzuki was one of the top hitters in the country in 2004, the best hitting catcher. Somehow though, the A's were able to land him in the 2nd round. Suzuki doesn't have much power potential, but the guy can hit the baseball. Suzuki has been one of the A's best players during spring training and he's done it as just a 21 year old. Suzuki's strong spring as well as Powell's injury makes it likely that Suzuki will open the season in A-Stockton.
Short and sweet post -- My top 30 will be updated either tomorrow or Monday, until then, please keep clicking on an ad or two when you visit, keep telling friends to visit my site, and take note of Kurt Suzuki.
Suzuki this spring is 3 for 5 with a double and has thrown out 4-of-4 steal attempts. With Landon Powell out to start the season, Suzuki should start in Stockton. He seems ready for High-A to say the least.
C - David Castillo, Casey Myers 1B - Brant Colamarino 2B - Lloyd Turner, Mark Kiger SS - Francis Gomez 3B - Brian Snyder, John McCurdy LF - Jason Perry, Brian Stavisky CF - Andre Ethier RF - Matt Allegra, Marcus McBeth
SP - Brad Knox SP - Brad Sullivan SP - Trent Peterson SP - Matt Lynch SP - Steve Bondruant
RP - Steve Obenchain RP - Drew Dickinson RP - Nick Mattioni RP - Jeff Coleman RP - Shawn Kohn RP - Chris Shank RP - Nick Brannon
Others who may spend time in Midland this season are Daric Barton, Jason Windsor, Jose Corchado, and obviously a few others.
Prospects 15-1 will be posted late this week or early next week
Just my best guesses
C - John Baker, Jeremy Brown 1B - Dan Johnson, Jack Cust 2B - Omar Quintanilla, Jermaine Clark SS - Mike Rouse 3B - Bobby Smith, Adam Morrissey LF - Hiram Bocachica CF - Freddie Bynum, Steve Stanley RF - Matt Watson
SP - Dan Meyer SP - John Rheinecker SP - Kirk Saarloos SP - Britt Reames SP - Mario Ramos
RP - Jairo Garcia RP - Chris Mabeus RP - Ron Flores RP - Jim Serrano RP - Billy Sylvester RP - Evan Fahrner RP - Tim Harikkala
Others who may see time in AAA - Joe Blanton, Huston Street, Matt Allegra, Brian Snyder and obviously a few others
I'm getting a decent amount of hits I think -- 600+ before the first week is over. Keep coming back and keep telling others and telling them to keep coming back. Comments are always appreciated. Here is last season's top 20 according to BA from my Prospect Handbook -- BA sent it to me even though they told me my request to cancel my order had gone through.
1 - Bobby Crosby 2 - Joe Blanton 3 - Dan Johnson 4 - Brad Sullivan 5 - Graham Koonce 6 - Nick Swisher 7 - Omar Quintanilla 8 - Mike Rouse 9 - Andre Ethier 10 - Juston Duchscherer 11 - Chad Harville 12 - Mike Wood 13 - John Rheinecker 14 - Jeremy Brown 15 - Mark Teahen 16 - Freddie Bynum 17 - Ben Fritz 18 - John Baker 19 - John McCurdy 20 - Justin Lehr
20 - Brad Sullivan, RHP, Born 9/12/81, Acquired via draft: 2003, 1st round, 25th overall
Shortly after being taken by the A's, Sullivan was asked how long before he expected to be called up to the A's. His responce? "It would take me two-to-three years if everything goes right". Well, nothing went right for Sullivan last season as he was considered to be the biggest bust in the A's system of the 2004 system. There is obviously still time for Sullivan to rebound, but if he doesn't regain form in 2005, he can be ignored until a later date. During is Sophmore year in college, Sullivan is said to have topped 92-93 MPH. Last season, he rarely hit 90 MPH. The optimistic person will mention that his mechanics were reworked and he may have been just getting use to them. He did end the season a little stronger than he started, but even then he wasn't pitching like a first round pick. Sullivan will likely start in AA-Midland where he needs a great start to again be thought of as a top prospect.
19 - Matt Allegra, OF, Born 7/10/81, Acquired via draft: 1999, 16th round, 483rd overall Allegra has always had the tools but not quite the performance. Last season wasn't different though as Allegra posted a .999 OPS in 68 AA AB's. The problem though is that it was only 68 AB's. Allegra was hurt to start the season, then shortly after coming back he got hurt again. Then, after coming back one more time, he got injured once again. I may have Allegra a little to high seeing as how he had so few at-bats last season along with multiple injuries, but I really like his potential. Allegra is likely to start in AA-Midland, but if there is an opening in AAA-Sacramento, there is a slight chance that the A's will send Allegra there.
18 - Kevin Melillo, 2B, Born 5/14/82, Acquired via draft: 2004, 5th round, 157th overall
Melillo was never a top offensive force in college, but the A's made him a 5th round pick anyways. Right away, Melillo impressed. In 94 AB's at Low A-Vancouver, Melillo hit a very impressive .340 before going down with a pulled ribcage. Melillo plays solid but unspectacular defense. Baseball America states that the A's are sure Melillo can become a good defensive second basemen while being known for his offense. Melillo is likely to already start at High-A Stockton.
17 - John Baker, C, Born 1/20/81, Acquired via draft: 2002, 4th round, 128th overall Baker posted very good numbers in both Midland and Sacramento last season, but still isn't seen as a future starting catcher. Despite Baker's solid numbers, Baseball America doesn't mention him among other top catching prospects. John Sickels (www.minorleagueball.com) rates John Baker as a grade C and not even in the A's top 20. Something to notice though is that catching prospects among baseball are very thin right now as well as the fact that there are still starting catchers out there that can't hit a lick. If Baker's defense can progress and he can continue to post solid offensive numbers, Baker can end up as a starting catcher some day. As of right now it seems possible that the A's ask him to back up Jason Kendall in 2006. Baker will start in AAA-Sacramento and likely split time between 1B/C/DH with fellow catching prospect Jeremy Brown.
16 - Jason Windsor, RHP, Born 7/16/82, Acquired via draft: 2004, 3rd round, 97th overall
Windsor was great in 2004 up to the point of the draft. Post draft though is when Windsor took off. In the College World Series, against the nations top teams, Windsor allowed just 2 earned runs in 21 innings while earning MVP honors. Windsor was hitting 90 MPH consistantly in the CWS with a plus change up. He was very good after being drafted and is likely to open 2005 in High-A Stockton. If he performs well, he could be in AA-Midland by the end of the season.
Coming soon is BA's top 30 A's prospects to compare to mine at this point.
25 - Chris Mabeus, RHP, Born 2/11/79, Acquired via draft: 2001, 13th round, 401st overall Mabeus doesn't have stud reliever potential, but he has a legit chance to be a good major leaguer if he can ever get a chance. Mabeus last season kept a great K:9, over at, even after a mid season promotion to AAA-Sacramento. His walks went up a little after the promotion, but his BB:9 was still a very good at just 2.1. He throws low 90's with a plus breaking pitch, so he is a good prospect even at 26 years old. He wont open the season on the A's, but he may be the first option if the A's decide to keep Street's service clock from starting.
24 - Jason Perry, LF/1B, Born 8/18/80, Acquired via trade with Toronto Perry had a great season at High A-Modesto, but he was a little old for the league. He's not a great defender and may have to become a full time 1B so he needs to hit the ball to continue to rise up the system. Regardless of age, it's hard to ignore the numbers Perry put up last season after being sent down from AA-Midland. In just 325 AB's, Perry hit .338 with 24 HR's, a triple, and 39 doubles. Phillies prospect Ryan Howard is considered by most to be one of baseballs top 1B prospects -- Howard last season was a level higher than Perry, but also almost a year older. Howards numbers though were dwarfed by the ones Perry put up at A-Modesto. Another season like that and Perry will rapidly rise up the charts.
23 - Mike Rouse, SS/Util, Born 4/25/80, Acquired via trade with Toronto Rouse had a very strong season at Midland in 2003 and was seen then as one of the A's top prospects. During Spring Training of last season though, Rouse sprained his ankle. He missed the start of the season and took a while to find his groove. Rouse was able to end the season strong though going 23 for his last 75 with 6 doubles and 2 HR's after hitting around .260 up to that point. He'll return to Sacramento for 2005, likely as the starting SS. He'll need to be traded to find a starting spot, but he may be able to find his way on to the A's bench during the 2005 season.
22 - Andre Ethier, CF, Born 4/10/82, Acquired via draft: 2003, 2nd round, 62nd overall Entering the 2004 season, Ethier was seen as a prospect with one of the higher ceilings in the A's system. BA compared him to a young Shawn Green. The problem though was that Ethier had yet to show power. Ethier hit a couple early season HR's and it looked as though he was finding his power stroke. After that hot start, his power left. In 419 AB's, Ethier had only 35 extra base-hits; 7 HR's, 5 triples, and 23 doubles. Once thought to be a sore back, Ethier discovered he had a cracked vertebre and was forced to sit out thr final month of the season. The potential is still there for Ethier, but he needs to show some power if he wants to be considered a top prospect after the 2005 season.
21 - Tyler Johnson, LHP, Born 6/7/81, Acquired via Rule V Draft Johnson is the first of a few guys on my top 30 likely to spend time with the A's in 2005. The catch with Johnson though is that he must spend all season with the A's or else he'll have to be offered back to the Cardinals. Johnson has good potential but his control is a concern. He has great stuff for a lefty, a low 90's fastball with a plus curve. Johnson has always posted strong K:9, but his BB:9 has always been poor. Last season Johnson was able to keep a 12.3 K:9, but his BB rate went all the way up to 5.9. The A's will give him every chance to remain on the 25 man roster out of spring training.