The Future of A's Baseball

Monday, October 31, 2005

Prospect #1

Name: Daric Barton

Position: 1B
Born: 8/16/85
Height:: 6'0"
Weight: 195
Bats/Throws: L/R
High School: Marina High, located in Huntington Beach, CA
Drafted: 2003, 1st round, 28th overall
Bonus: $

Barton is clearly the top prospect in the A's system so I assume this post isn't a surprise. Word was that Beane insisted that Barton be in the Mulder-to-StL deal and now we know why. Barton got off to a little bit of a slow start last season coming back from having his appendix removed, posted an OPS under .800 about a month into the season, but he was a monster after that. Right now he does everything you can ask of a player that just recently turned 20. No, the power isn't there yet, but just about everything else is. Barton has paitence and strike zone knowledge that is unheard of for a rookie. He is a potential power hitter but he doesn't strike out too much. He's posted an OPS over .900 at 3 straight levels despite being young for every league. The problem with Barton is that he may not have a true position yet. It is my feeling that he should be given every oppurtunity to catch and Billy Beane hasn't closed the door on that. What the A's will probably decide to do though is keep him at 1B and/or DH to assure them that he plays 160 games per season to truly maximize the strength of his bat. If Barton fails to add power then he'll be a similar hitter to Keith Hernandez, or John Olerud, and there is nothing wrong with that, those were two very gifted hitters. If he can in fact add power though, then you can compare him to Todd Helton and maybe even Jason Giambi. I find myself talking about the bust factor of prospects a lot, how probable is it that this guy will never amount to anything. Well, with Barton the bust factor is almost non existant. The guy has already produced, so we're not just 'hoping' like we kind of are with Herrera, he doesn't K too much, which is often a prospects downfall, he's not just a pull hitter or a pure slugger, he has an excellent walk rate. The odds of Barton being a 'good' major league baseball player are very very high, even for a top prospect.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's starting 1B


So that does it for the prospect countdown. Keep coming back daily though as I will continue to make frequent posts over the course of the offseason. Keep telling people about my site and hopefully we'll add more visitors. Coming up shortly I will have a special post to make, until then will be Fall League updates, prospect thoughts, guys who just missed the list (in one case, because I'm dumb and pretty much forgot him) guys I'd expect the breakout next season and guys who may be next years John Baker .

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Prospect #2

Name: Javier Herrera

Position: OF
Born: 4/9/85
Height:: 5'10"
Weight: 160 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Signed out of Venezuela
Bonus: $ ???

It's hard to judge Herrera right now because of his monster 2004 followed by a steroid suspension last spring. He remains an amazingly talented prospect despite the steroid suspension though. Herrera defines 5 tool talent as he doesn't seem to have a true weakness. He has the speed to play center and the power potential and arm needed to play right. At just 20 years old Herrera still has a lot of weaknesses. He struck out far too much and didn't hit for as much power as was anticipated. He has time on his side though at such a young age. The bust factor with Herrera is incredibly high because he is so far away from the majors and his future potential right now is just assumption. He could be the next Mario Encarnacion or he could be the next Vlad Guerrero. Because Herrera has loads of value right now that he may very well lose soon, he is a prime candidate to be traded. He may eventually add loads of value if he does in fact reach his potential, but Billy Beane may want to cash in now with the toolsy outfielder. My hope is that the A's hang on to Herrera and take their chances on him. They could use a superstar outfielder to say the least.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's starting center fielder

Tomorrow is #1...I wonder who that could be. Keep supporting the site any way possible, I appreciate it.


Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 0 for 4, k

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Prospect #3

Name: Kevin Melillo

Position: 2B
Born: 5/14/82
Height:: 6'0"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
College: South Carolina
Drafted: 2004, 5th round, 157th overall
Bonus: $200,000

Melillo, very simply put, had a monster season. He would have had a monster season if he was a DH. The fact that he plays 2B makes his season that much more special. Melillo reached every magic number you could ask for; in 501 at bats, he hit .300 with a .400 OBP and .930 OPS. He launched 24 HR's with 58 total extra base hits. He had a decent K rate and was able to walk as often as he struck out. Melillo does have a weakness and it comes in his not so great defense. Of course if he continues to hit the way he did in 2005 nobody is going to notice a little sub par defense at 2B. Melillo was able to steal 21 bases despite not being the fastest guy in the world. Melillo was one of just two picks in 2004 that I complained about (Mike Rogers) through the first 5 rounds. Turns out I should wait a little while before making my judgement. Melillo might be just a year away from taking over for Mark Ellis (who will be getting expensive) in Oakland. I wouldn't be surprised of the organization feels that Melillo may keep the seat warm for Cliff Pennington, but I feel if Melillo gets a chance to start he wont be handing the job over.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting 2B

Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 2 for 4, 2 runs, 2 rbi, walk, hr
Daric Barton - 1 for 4, run, walk, k

Notes: Ethier's HR came off of Jered Weaver.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Prospect #4

Name: Andre Ethier

Position: RF
Born: 4/10/82
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Arizona St
Drafted: 2003, 2nd round, 62nd overall
Bonus: $580,000

Ethier opened a lot of eyes this season, especially at the start. For a while Ethier was sporting an OPS over 1.000 before cooling off a great deal and finishing slightly below .900. Since being drafted Ethier has been a guy who falls under the "if he can add power" catagory. While Ethier added power this season, it still wasn't enough for him to stick in a corner OF position. Another weakness of Ethier is that he doesn't walk as much as the A's would prefer to see. While it isn't a good idea to look a whole bunch into Fall League stats, it's a very good sight that Ethier is walking more than anyone else down there. His current Fall League walk rate shows us that he knows what he has to work on and that he's doing a great job at it. I've always thought of Ethier as a guy who would post Mark Kotsay type numbers but without the defense, which would probably make him a 4th outfielder. If Ethier can add a little more power and a little more paitence, then he's going to be a starter in the big leagues somewhere in the near future. Ethier is a good defender is both right and left, but the feeling is that his arm is best suited for left. Ethier has good speed but has yet to master the art of stealing bases. The A's are taking it a little slow with Ethier. When Mark Teahen went on a tear in Midland he was promoted very quickly to Sacramento. Ethier went on a tear but was left in Midland. This could be the A's simply taking it slow with Ethier, or it could be that they don't want a weakness exposed before they trade him (though of course Teahen was still traded after his promotion to Sacramento). As it stands right now, Ethier looks like the best option to replace Jay Payton in left in 2007.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's starting right fielder


Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 0 for 4, k
Daric Barton - 0 for 4, k
Kurt Suzuki - 0 for 3, walk

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Prospect #5

Name: Dan Meyer

Position: SP
Born: 7/3/81
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/L
College: James Madison
Drafted: 2002, 1st round, 34th overall (by Atlanta)
Bonus: $ ???

Easily the biggest let down of 2005, Dan Meyer is still at the moment a top prospect. When the A's traded Tim Hudson to Atlanta, the key to the deal was Dan Meyer. We were supposed to be talking about Dan Meyer's chances to win ROY right now but we're left wondering if he'll ever get his velocity back. Early in Spring Meyer tweaked his shoulder and didn't tell anyone about it. To compensate for pain he altered his mechanics and injured himself even more. His velocity went from low 90's to mid 80's. The good news is that Meyer didn't need surgery and will show up to spring after about 9 months off. The bad news is that pitchers much less often come back well from a bad shoulder compared to a bad elbow. Meyer deserves one more year before we make our judgement. Remember that just last season he was considered one of the top two or three left handed pitching prospects in all of baseball. The way Meyer should be viewed all depends on his velocity. Last season made it very clear that he can't get by without his best fastball, so if we can get reports on his velocity early in the year we should know how he's going to be over the course of the year. If the A's trade Barry Zito it will say something about the confidence they have that Dan Meyer is healthy. If Zito stays, we'll just have to wait and see.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramnto's starting rotation.


Fall League Note: Andre Ethier leads the league in OBP.


31 Mike Rogers
30 Alexi Ogando
29 John Baker
28 Mike Rouse
27 Freddie Bynum
26 Jimmy Shull
25 Shane Komine
24 John Rheinecker
23 Justin Sellers
22 Landon Powell
21 Dustin Majewski
20 Jason Ray
19 Jeremy Brown
18 Ryan Webb
17 Brian Snyder
16 Brad Knox
15 Dallas Braden
14 Jason Windsor
13 Jairo Garcia
12 Travis Buck
11 Kurt Suzuki
10 Jared Lansford
9 Craig Italiano
8 Danny Putnam
7 Cliff Pennington
6 Richie Robnett
5 Dan Meyer

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Prospect #6

Name: Richie Robnett

Position: RF
Born: 9/17/83
Height:: 5'10"
Weight: 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Fresno St
Drafted: 2004, 1st round, 26th overall
Bonus: $1,325,000

Robnett was the first surprise of the 2004 draft taken as a very raw, very toolsy but very strong centerfielder who had only recently begun playing baseball. Robnett quickly became an Urban Legend when A's beat writer Susan Slusser reported Robnett hitting balls about 550 feet away into Mt. Davis (something she hasn't confirmed in my requests for her to do so) during his first batting practice after signing. Robnett has an amazingly sculpted body with equally amazing raw power, but, perhaps because he's a little new to baseball, Robnett has yet to learn how to transfer his power into games. Robnett was able to put up impressive power numbers in Stockton last season, but he also had a very disturbing K:AB. If Robnett ever masters his approach to hitting, he has the potential to be a force in any lineup. Until then he'll just be a 'potential' guy who knows how to hit during batting practice. Robnett is a very decent defensive centerfielder but moved to right for Dustin Majewski who is a boarderline great defensive centerfielder. Robnett also flashes good speed both on the bases and in the outfield, but like hitting, he doesn't quite know how to use his speed yet. The A's will find room for Robnett if he proves that he deserves the room.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's right fielder

Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 0 for 1, rbi, 3 walks
Daric Barton - 0 for 3, walk, k
Kurt Suzuki - 0 for 3

Notes: That makes 16 walks in just 61 PA's for Ethier.

31 Mike Rogers
30 Alexi Ogando
29 John Baker
28 Mike Rouse
27 Freddie Bynum
26 Jimmy Shull
25 Shane Komine
24 John Rheinecker
23 Justin Sellers
22 Landon Powell
21 Dustin Majewski
20 Jason Ray
19 Jeremy Brown
18 Ryan Webb
17 Brian Snyder
16 Brad Knox
15 Dallas Braden
14 Jason Windsor
13 Jairo Garcia
12 Travis Buck
11 Kurt Suzuki
10 Jared Lansford
9 Craig Italiano
8 Danny Putnam
7 Cliff Pennington
6 Richie Robnett

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Prospect #7

Name: Cliff Pennington

Position: SS
Born: 6/15/84
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Bats/Throws: S/R
College: Texas A&M
Drafted: 2005, 1st round, 21st overall
Bonus: $1,475,000

By the time of the draft it wasn't much of a secret that the A's had their eye on Pennington. When Pennington was taken 21st overall the plan had to be to groom him to play 2B for the A's in the future. This was before Kevin Melillo went on a tear and Mark Ellis was one of the better hitters in baseball for the stretch of a couple months. Pennington was set to be on the fast track (Pennington starting beyond Short Season) but now with Melillo and Ellis ahead of him, the A's will be able to take their time with Pennington. Like the prep arms illustrate the A's prefering whatever is undervalued, the selection of Pennington shows a little favor of SB's. Something else that shows the A's valuing stolen bases is that Pennington was given the green light in Kane County to the tune of being allowed to attempt to steal 31 times in 69 games. Pennington gains value in that he is a switch hitter and very smart on the field. He's not going to hit for much power, but he knows how to use the whole field and his speed will create doubles. Pennington is a very good defender that would be able to stick at short if the A's needed him to. Short is where he'll stay because it will give him more value. He'll be moved to 2nd before the A's need him in Oakland though.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's starting SS


Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 1 for 1, 2 runs, rbi, 3 walks

Notes: After walking just 50 times in 570 PA's during the regular season, Ethier has walked 13 times in just 56 PA's in the Fall League. His OPS is 1.160

Monday, October 24, 2005

Prospect #8

Name: Danny Putnam

Position: OF
Born: 9/17/82
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 198 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Stanford
Drafted: 2004, 1st round, 36th overall
Bonus: $950,000

It wasn't a secret that the A's were looking at Putnam in 2004 as a candidate to go with their 24th or 26th pick. The A's passed on Putnam and I'm sure were happily surprised that Putnam was still around at pick #36. After being drafted and crushing the ball in Vancouver, Putnam was moved to Kane County. At KC he struggled a little bit but his power (7 HR's, 150 AB's, new to wood bats) was encouraging because power was a question mark with Putnam. This year saw Putnam take a little step back in power this year hitting 15 HR's in a little over 500 at bats. While it's encouraging that Putnam had a solid XBH:AB of 1:9.3, he is already 23 and "power will develop" can only be said for so long. If Putnam can't hit 20-25 HR's next season then you might see him be the type of hitter Matt Stairs has been for the last couple season's. Brian Giles is a comparison thrown out for Putnam a lot, but I think if Putnam develops power he'll be more similar to JD Drew, though hopefully not quite as fragile. Putnam is not much of a defender but has the ethic to try to be. His poor throwing arm limits him to LF. If the A's OF is as full as it looks to be in a couple seasons, Putnam can play 1st.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting left fielder

Keep supporting the site any way you can, thank you.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Prospect #9

Name: Craig Italiano

Position: SP
Born: 7/22/86
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
High School: Flower Mound High located in Texas
Drafted: 2005, 2nd round, 53rd overall
Bonus: $725,500

The A's owned the 53rd pick after the Brewers handed it over as compensation for signing Damien Miller before the arbitration deadline even though it was clear the A's wouldn't offer Miller arbitration. The A's used the pick to start their amazingly surprising run of prep arms in the 05 draft. Craig (AKA Thomas) Italiano normally would have been a much earlier selection seeing as how he was the hardest thrower in the draft but he fell due to injury concerns. Italiano had a slight elbow tweak early last season and has a rough delivery that scared some teams off. Another concern is Italiano's control. The worst case for Italiano's control is that he becomes another Colt Griffin, but I doubt the A's would take him if there was anything more than a slim chance at that. Italiano throws up to 98 MPH as a starter with what is supposed to be a potentially plus slider. Italiano's extreme value would come if he can stick as a starter, but the bullpen is always an option for a guy with durability concerns, a 98 MPH fastball and a plus slider. The A's will try to give him every chance in the world to stick as a starter.

Projected location to start 2006: Kane County's starting rotation


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 0 for 4, k
Andre Ethier - 2 for 5, run, 2 rbi, k, double, triple
Kurt Suzuki - 2 for 3, rbi, walk, 2 doubles

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Prospect #10

Name: Jared Lansford

Position: SP
Born: 10/22/86
Height:: 6'2"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
High School: St. Francis High, located in Mountain View CA
Drafted: 2005, 2nd round, 67th overall
Bonus: $525,000

The A's reached for Lansford a little bit in 05 because they knew they'd get him to focus on pitching. Teams had shyed away from Lansford because father Carney insisted that Jared was going to be an infielder. Carney backed off once his former team selected his son. Lansford really opened eyes this year when he showed up his senior year having added 2-4 MPH on his fastball as well as improving the quality of his offspeed stuff. Lansford now throws as hard as 94 MPH with the potential to add a little more. Lansford has the potential to move quickly for a high school selection as he's fairly polished. The A's will still take it slow with him as there is no need to rush him. Lansford will start at the bottom with Craig Italiano. Odds are that Lansford moves quicker than Italiano despite having lesser potential.

Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 2 for 3, 2 runs, walk, double
Andre Ethier - 0 for 1, 3 walks, k

Friday, October 21, 2005

Prospect #11

Name: Kurt Suzuki

Position: C
Born: 10/4/83
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Cal St Fullerton
Drafted: 2004, 2nd round, 67th overall
Bonus: $550,000

Suzuki was seen as a Beane favorite entering the 04 draft before the A's surprised us and took catcher Landon Powell. I doubt Beane had the intention of then taking Suzuki, but after he fell all the way down to #67 Beane couldn't pass him up. That looks like a pretty decent move right now with Powell having to come back from that major knee injury. Suzuki didn't have the season many expected from him, especially in a hitter league like California, but he wasn't all that bad either. Suzuki saw his power come on strong near the end of the season which can't be a bad sign. Though Suzuki's numbers leave a little to be desired, he had encouraging BB and K rates. The major problem with Suzuki right now is that his defense this season was terrible with near 15 errors and 15 passed balls. Suzuki may or may not be the A's catcher of the future, it depends on how Powell can come back and if Barton is ever moved behind the plate. As it stands right now, Suzuki is the best catching prospect the A's have.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting catcher

Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 1 for 5, run, 2 k's
Andre Ethier - 2 for 5, run, rbi

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Idea

With a couple long thought out comments after the Buck entry, I came to wonder if you guys would like to submit your top 10 or 20 or 30 prospect list. I know before I made this blog I was still making prospect lists just for myself to look at so I'm sure a lot of you guys have lists of your own. If you're interested in sharing, whether it be just a ranking or a ranking with text, email me at bobby1134@yahoo.com with any information you'd like to include about yourself (name, screename whatever) to let it be known that it's your ranking. I'll begin posting your lists Novermber 1st.

Prospect #12

Name: Travis Buck

Position: OF
Born: 11/18/83
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
College: Arizona St
Drafted: 2005, 1st round, 36 overall
Bonus: $950,000

Travis Buck may have been just as much of a surprise pick as the High School arms in 2005 because Buck lacks SLG and he lacks walks. His last season at ASU saw him hit just 6 HR's in almsot 300 at-bats. I would expect that the A's expect Buck to add power to his large body frame. Of course you can let his low HR total slide a little bit when the guy hits .382. The best case for Buck is to add power to his high average, but a more likely scenerio is that he takes the Hank Blalock route and adds power only by sacraficing a little bit of batting average. Buck is a very good base runner and a solid defender. His problem in the OF comes in his weak throwing arm so he may eventually be stuck in LF. ASU tried him at 3rd base a little this season but the experiment by all accounts was a bad one. With Nick Swisher, Javier Herrera, Danny Putnam, Richie Robnett and Dustin Majewski ahead of him, Buck will probably be moved slow. That is of course unlesss he starts hitting for power then all of a sudden he'll look like a future all star.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's starting right fielder


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 0 for 3, k
Andre Ethier - 0 for 3, walk

Keep supporting the site please, lets try to add some hits by telling your friends. I truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Prospect #13

Name: Jairo Garcia

Position: RP
Born: 3/7/83
Height:: 6'0"
Weight: 160 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Signed out of the Dominican Republic
Bonus: $ ???

The movement of Jairo has slowed down consideribly once the A's rushed him to Oakland in 2004 only to watch him get clobbered. The things to say about Jairo are pretty much known to everyone. He's very raw and is more of a thrower than a pitcher. His control is a major concern and will be the only thing that stops him from being a good major league reliever. Jairo is consistantly in the mid 90's and has a devasting slider. His stuff is similar to Octavio Dotel back when Dotel was one of baseball's better relievers. Again, only control is holding Jairo back. Having finished almost a full season at AAA Sacramento, the A's may not want to stall Jairo in the minors any longer. I'd like to see him get a chance out of spring training with the A's and I think the A's will do the same thing. The potential of Jairo setting up Street is to much to pass. Jairo would initially begin in the role Street started with in 2005.

Projected location to start 2006: Oakland's bullpen

Arizona Fall League

Kurt Suzuki - 0 for 3, 2 k's
Shane Komine - 5 innings, 0 earned (2 total), 4 hits, 0 walks, 5 k's

Notes: Komine in the Coors Field of Leagues has gone 12 and 2/3 innings with just 2 earned runs, 13 k's and 1 walk.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Prospect #14

Name: Jason Windsor

Position: SP
Born: 7/16/82
Height:: 6'2"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Cal State Fullerton
Drafted: 2004, 3rd round, 97th overall
Bonus: $270,000

Windsor was a classic A's pick in 2004 when he shared pitcher of the year honors with Jered Weaver but fell down to the 3rd round because of his lack of velocity. Right after the A's drafted Windsor he went on to have the best College World Series ever for a pitcher - 2 runs in almost 25 innings with the first complete game shutout ever. Had his CWS run ended before the draft he would have been at least a 2nd round pick. The A's though were fortunate enough to land Windsor in the 3rd. Windsor had been on a tear in his professional career before hitting AA Midland where he struggled mightily. He had the same trouble as Braden except it took a little longer for the A's to shut Windsor down (he tried coming back from a slight arm injury) so Windsor saw his numbers take more of a hit. Windsor gets by with control but he does have a plus change up to go with a fastball that touches 90 and a decent curve ball. When I watched Windsor in the CWS I saw a lot of Keith Foulke in him, so the bullpen is always a possibility. As it stands right now the A's will try to maximize his value by keeping him a starter.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting rotation.


Arizona Fall League

Andre Ethier - 1 for 2, 2 runs, rbi, walk
Daric Barton - 1 for 2, 2 rbi, 2 walks, triple

Keep supporting the site please, any way you can.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Prospect #15

Name: Dallas Braden

Position: SP
Born: 8/13/83
Height:: 6'1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Texas Tech
Drafted: 2004, 24th round, 727th overall
Bonus: $ ???

Braden was seen as a potential top prospect when he arrived to the A's throwing up to 90-91 MPH. Since then all accounts say Braden is back throwing in the mid 80's. Braden still has major league potential as not only a lefty, but a lefty with a plus screwball. He has been nothing short of amazing since debuting as a professional even when taking into account the hit his numbers took this year after he suffered a tierd arm in Midland. Braden is still young so the A's will have time to develop him. As a rare lefty in the system, Braden may see a chance in the big leagues soon, likely as a reliever. Braden wouldn't just be a situational lefty though as his screwball would be more effective on righties than lefties.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting rotation

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Prospect #16

Name: Brad Knox

Position: SP
Born: 5/27/82
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Central Arizona Junior College
Drafted: 2002, 14th round, 428th overall
Bonus: $ ???

Knox had a pretty bad year considering what was expected of him. I felt that he would start in Midland last season but he was sent to Stockton after missing about a month to start the season. Knox gets a little break from me though because the Cal League is so hard on pitchers. Knox to me seems like a guy who will have to have success by knowing more than who he is facing. His fastball doesnt spend much time over 90 and his offspeed stuff shouldn't be considered plus pitches. But Knox has shown that he knows how to record K's and he's also shown that he has very good control. His true test will come this season when he's likely placed in the Texas League. If the A's moved Knox a little faster he would be close to helping the A's as a replacement if a starter got injured. As it stands now though Knox is still a full season from spending time in Oakland.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting rotation


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 1 for 3, run, rbi, walk, double
Andre Ethier - 2 for 4, run, rbi, walk

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Prospect #17

Name: Brian Snyder

Position: 3B
Born: 3/17/82
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Stetson
Drafted: 2003, 1st round, 26th overall
Bonus: $1,325,000

I guess Snyder had some secret injuries because the talk of "Snyder will be back soon" never did come true. He got 2 PA's in Arizona before being shut down for good. What is really disturbing about Snyder missing so long is that BA has stated that Snyder's work ethic is a concern. If he did in fact miss all season with a hip flexor problem and not a truly major injury, then his work ethic might just in fact be a concern. I had hopes a while back that Snyder would be able to be the A's 2B of the future but he apperently added weight and became a little too fat for that. Now, with Chavez blocking him, Snyder's only place in Oakland might be 1B/DH. Snyder turning into a good enough offensive player to put at first may be a lot to ask. Snyder, a lot like Landon Powell, is getting old fast and will need to show that he is a legitimate prospect very soon. Snyder is a personal favorite of mine and I still feel he will find a place in Oakland. I guess he'll just have to get his act together.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting 3B

Friday, October 14, 2005

Prospect #18

Name: Ryan Webb

Position: SP
Born: 2/5/86
Height:: 6'6"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
High School: Clearwater Central Catholic located in Clearwater, FL
Drafted: 2004, 4th round, 127th overall
Bonus: $250,000

Webb made headlines when he became the first High School pitcher selected in the early rounds in the Moneyball era. I don't know if he opened the A's eyes to select Lansford and Italiano because he really didn't have an impressive season. He still gets recognition because he's a rare young arm in the system. Webb ended up with very poor numbers but it seemed that he wore down near season's end, despite the low innings total. The A's still hope Webb will add velocity to his tall but lean frame. As it stands right now Webb throws in the high 80's without a plus pitch. To have success at higher levels he's either going to have to improve his fastball a few MPH or greatly improve his offspeed pitches.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's rotation

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Prospect #19

Name: Jeremy Brown

Position: Catcher
Born: 10/25/79
Height:: 5'10"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Alabama
Drafted: 2002, 1st round, 35th overall
Bonus: $500,000

I can't have a Jeremy Brown topic and not mention Moneyball so let me get that out of the way. Brown of course is the fat catcher from the story but by all accounts he's held true to his word that we got to see in Moneyball. Brown is no longer all that fat. An encouraging sign once you look at his very solid numbers from 2005. Added to his regular season totals are 4 HR's and 14 RBI in the postseason. Brown hasn't turned out to be the insane steal that the A's thought they were getting, but he's been better than should be expected from a 35th pick. Behind Brian McCann and right with Chris Snyder, Brown might even end up being the 2nd best catcher from the entire draft. Brown still lacks agility behind the plate but BA says he calls an excellent game. Adam Melhuse isn't going to stick around forever so the A's may need to call up Jeremy Brown to backup in the near future. We know John Baker can't be counted on at this point.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's starting catcher


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 0 for 3, walk
Andre Ethier - 1 for 3, rbi, walk, triple
Kurt Suzuki - 1 for 2, run, rbi, 2 walks, k
Shane Komine - 5 innings, 0 earned, 6 hits, 0 walks, 5 k's

Notes: Matt Lynch picked up the win losing Komine's lead.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Prospect #20

Name: Jason Ray

Position: RP
Born: 7/14/84
Height:: 6'0"
Weight: 208 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Azusa Pacific
Drafted: 2005, 8th round, 251st overall
Bonus: $70,000

I doubt you'll see Jason Ray anywhere near this high on any other list you'll read during the offseason. The reason I think so highly of Ray is because of his K rate while being around average age for the league and just weeks removed from college. Ray struck out 17 batters per 9 innings. 17. Huston Street (10:9) didn't come near that K rate in the minors. Neither did Chad Cordero (6:9). Not early picks in 05 Craig Hansen (10:9), Joey Devine (12:9) and Brent Cox (9:9) either. While you can point to Ray's poor walk rate and say it's easier to K guys when you don't worry about walks, which is certainly true, it needs to be taken into account that Ray walked most of those hitters early in his professional career. 15 of his walks came in his first 9 innings. After that, Ray went 16 and 2/3 innings with 6 walks while maintaining the amazingly high K rate. When Ray was taken by the A's I felt very strongly about how great of a pick it was. Any time you can get a guy who throws 93-95 MPH as a starter in the 8th round you have a potential steal. As the A's moved him to relief he obviously got his chance to really let loose.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's closer


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 3 for 3, 2 runs, rbi, walk
Andre Ethier - 2 for 5, k
Kurt Suzuki - 2 for 3, 4 rbi, double

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Prospect #21

Name: Dustin Majewski

Position: CF
Born: 8/16/81
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Texas
Drafted: 2003, 3rd round, 92 overall
Bonus: $220,000

Majewski got his first A's publicity in Moneyball when he was brought up by Billy Beane questioning "Where would Jeremy Brown be if he looked like Majewski?". The A's then took the great bodied Majewski in the next years draft. Majewski is an excellent defensive centerfielder but there are questions about his bat. While he posted a great XBH:AB in Stockton last year, he was old for the league and still struck out at an alarming rate. Majewski might not profile as a starter because of his offensice limibilities, but he's good enough with the leather to stick on a major league roster as a 4th OF'er. A good comparison might be a left handed Jay Payton.

Projected location to start 2006: Midland's starting centerfielder.


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 1 for 4, 2 runs, walk, k
Andre Ethier - 2 for 4, run, rbi, 2 walks, 2 doubles
Kurt Suzuki - 0 for 1

Notes: Angels prospect Brandon Wood went 5 for 6 with 4 HR's. He now has 7 HR's in 23 at bats in the Fall League.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Prospect #22

Name: Landon Powell

Position: Catcher
Born: 3/19/82
Height:: 6'3"
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats/Throws: S/R
College: South Carolina
Drafted: 2004, 1st round, 24th overall
Bonus: $1,000,000

Powell was set to start 2005 in Stockton with Kurt Suzuki behind him at Kane County but he soon suffered a torn ACL ending his season. His knee will now always be a major concern for the rest of his career being a catcher. It doesn't help that he's built rather thick too. If Powell can't remain behind the plate he would still be a fine firstbase prospect because he has plus power potential. If he can in fact stick behind the plate then Powell has the potential to be one of the better hitting catchers in baseball. He's seen his defense rated well from behind the plate but how he answers to his injury remains to be seen. Powell will already be 24 for all of next season so he's going to have to move fast to make a name for himself. If Daric Barton is not moved back behind the plate, Powell should be seen as a legitimate candidate to replace Jason Kendall in the near future.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's starting catcher

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fall League 10/8/05

Andre Ethier - 2 for 4, run, 3 rbi, double
Daric Barton - 0 for 3, run, rbi, walk, 2 k's

Prospect #23

Name: Justin Sellers

Position: SS

Born: 2/1/86
Height:: 5'10"
Weight: 155
Bats/Throws: R/R
High School: Marina located in Huntington Beach, CA
Drafted: 2005, 6th round, 191st overall
Bonus: $150,000

I can't say any more about Sellers than I did here. A smooth fielding shortstop with a good yet unpowerful bat. As small as Sellers is it's hard ever seeing him developing much power but he can still be a solid contact hitter. With a lot of middle infielders already in the A's system, Sellers will have all the time in the world to improve his game in the minors. Sorry there's no more, but I'd rather not repeat myself. For your Sellers fix, read the 'here' link I provided above.

Projected location to start 2006: Kane County's shortstop

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Prospect #24

Name: John Rheinecker

Position: SP
Born: 5/29/79
Height:: 6'2"
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/L
College: Southwest Missouri State
Drafted: 2001, 1st round, 37th overall
Bonus: $600,000

A few years back Rheinecker was the A's #2 prospect right behind Rich Harden. Playing at Midland in 2002 he was hyped as part of the A's AA Big 3 along with Harden and Mike Wood. While Harden has become and ace and Mike Wood has found innings in Kansas City, Rheinecker has now spent 3 straight season's peaking at AAA. The benefit of the doubt goes to Rheinecker this year though as he was pitching very well before going down with a finger tendon injury that caused him to miss his last 22 starts as well as the upcoming Mexican Winter League. Rheinecker might be very close to helping the A's out of the bullpen, but how he comes back from the finger problem remains to be seen. Getting injured this year was a bad break for Rheinecker because he probably would have spent time in Oakland with all the injuries the A's had. Rheinecker has very good stuff for a lefty, not much lesser than Dan Meyer when Meyer was a top prospect, which is why his performance in 2005 was so encouraging. If Rheinecker comes back healthy in 2006 he'll be one of the first pitchers the A's look at if the injury bug strikes again.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's rotation


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 0 for 3, run, walk, 2 k's
Andre Ethier - 2 for 3, run, rbi, hr

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Prospect #25

Name: Shane Komine

Position: SP
Born: 10/18/80
Height:: 5'8"
Weight: 160 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Nebraska
Drafted: 2002, 9th round, 278th overall
Bonus: $ ???

Komine (pronounced KO-ME-NAY) is the favorite of many because he'll always be the underdog. Not only will Komine always face adversity because of his size, but recently he's had to come back from Tommy John Surgery. Komine is so small that despite being perhaps the best pitcher in the country for 2 years, the numbers oriented A's waited until the 9th round of the Moneyball draft to take him. Komine throws up to 95 MPH which is very hard for his size so he will always be at risk for arm trouble so he may be better suited in a relief role. Komine came back this year striking out more than he ever has as a professional which would lead one to believe that he's a guy who has actually added a little velocity because of the elbow surgery. Keep an eye on the little guy next year as he is very close to being capable of helping the A's.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's rotation


No Fall League games yesterday

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prospect #26

Jimmy Shull

Position: SP
Born: 8/21/83
Height:: 6'2"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: Cal Poly
Drafted: 2005, 4th round, 121st overall
Bonus: $ 120,000

Shull seemed like sort of a reach in the 4th round but he pitched very well in Vancouver after being drafted. While he pitched very well, it should be noted that most of the batters he faced were younger and also that he pitched in a bad park for hitters. Shull has pretty decent stuff with a low 90's fastball with good sink as well as what BA calls a plus slider. I personally see Shull as a guy that might excell in the bullpen when he can go one inning at a time featuring a plus slider and a fastball that would likely pick up a couple MPH. That will be a little bit down the line though and the A's will for now be content with giving Shull a a chance as a starter.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's rotation.


Arizona Fall League

Kurt Suzuki - 0 for 3, run, walk, k
Shane Komine - 3 and 2/3 innings, 2 earned, 5 hits, walk, 3 k's

Notes: Shawn Kohn allowed 3 runs in 1 inning. Matt Lynch allowed 3 hits without a run in 1 and 1/3 innings.


And a little note on the 2006 draft, despite having the same record as the Phillies, the A's will pick 22 while the Phillies pick at 21.

Keep supporting the site any way possible.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Prospect #27

Freddie Bynum

Position: Utility
Born: 2/15/80
Height:: 6'1"
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
College: Pitt CC, Greenfield NC
Drafted: 2000, 2nd round, 60th overall
Bonus: $ ???

Being in the system for 5 years now, as well as seeing time with the A's this year, I'm sure you all know a lot about Bynum. Bynum is an extreme speedster with limited power. Bynum's value will come in that he can play any position short of catcher. The A's have been well documented in hoping Bynum will become another Chone Figgins, but that's far too much from Bynum. Figgins was a very good hitter in AAA while Bynum has yet to prove he's a good hitter. For someone so quick, Bynum K's far too much. When he learns to make contact, something the A's haven't been able to teach him in 5 years, he will see his average rise a large amount. Bynum may have competition from Hiram Boccachica next season to be the A's utility man, but being a speed option off the bench, he may be the front runner for the job.

Projected location to start 2006: Oakland's bench


Arizona Fall League

Daric Barton - 2 for 4, 2 runs, 3 rbi, walk, double, hr
Andre Ethier - 0 for 4, 2 runs, walk, k

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mario Encarnacion passes away

Former stand out A's prospect Mario Encarnacion has passed away at the age of 30

Prospect #28

Name: Mike Rouse

Position: SS
Born: 4/25/80
Height:: 5'11"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
College: Cal State Fullerton
Drafted: 2001, 5th round, 151st overall by the Blue Jays
Acquired: With Chris Mowday from the Blue Jays for Cory Lidle

Rouse was seen as a top 10 A's prospect after he posted solid numbers at Midland back in 2003. That was a little bit of a surprise since at the time of the Lidle-to-Jays trade it seemed like a clear salary dump with the A's getting nothing in return. Rouse took a step back in 2004 after battling an ankle injury for most of the season and almost fell out of the top 30. This year saw him again post not so great numbers so time is running out on him. He's not capable of being more than a utility player and he's going to be blocked by Freddie Bynum who is faster and plays about twice as many positions. The A's may trade Rouse, who is a solid defender, while he has value and to do him the favor of finding playing time.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento utility man


Keep supporting the site please tell friends, whatever. Remember that I will be updating all off season, including the fall league which I believe kicks off this afternoon.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Prospect #29

Name: John Baker

Position: Catcher
Born: 1/20/81
Height:: 6'1"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: L/R
College: California
Drafted: 2002, 4th round, 128th overall
Bonus: $140,000

Baker went from fringe starting catcher to just fringe prospect in a few short months. Baker may have been the biggest bust of the season after posting a .664 OPS. Things got so bad that by the end of the season he was the teams 3rd catcher behind Tom Gregorio and Alberto Castillo. As big a concern as his offense is his defense as Baker has had major trouble throwing out base runners with a torn right labrum. Baker having a major let down was a little surprising considering he had already seen limited AAA action and hit almost .350. After such a terrible season time is running out very very fast for Baker who, at this point, cannot be counted on to ever even become a backup.

Projected location to start 2006: Sacramento's backup catcher

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Prospect #30

Name: Alexi Ogando

Position: RF
Born: 10/5/83
Height:: 6'4"
Weight: 160 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
High School: None
Drafted: Undrafted - Signed out of the Dominican Republic
Bonus: $ ???

Another example of just how thin the A's system is after graduating so many prospects this year is Alexi Ogando making my top 31. Ogando has all the tools in the world but not only has he not put it all together yet, he may not ever even be allowed back in the United States. Ogando was involved in a Visa scandal and may or may not ever play baseball in America again. Ogando is a true 5 tool talent with plus power potential as his body fills out. Considering "raw" prospects more often than not fail to reach their potential, coupled with Ogando's Visa trouble and the odds of Ogando contributing are long to say the least, but the tools can't be ignored.

Notes: If anyone actually knows more about Ogando's Visa problem and the chances of him playing in America next year I would love to hear it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Kicking off October, #31

Mike Rogers
Position: SP
Born: 10/24/82
Height:: 6'1"
Weight: 195 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
College: North Carolina State
Drafted: 2004, 2nd round, 49th overall
Bonus: $700.000

Rogers struggled after being drafted in 2004 but the A's cited that problem as simple fatigue after the long college season. Being a 2nd round pick, the first A's selection after they took Huston Street 9 spots earlier, Rogers entered the season with pretty decent sized expectations. It's easy to see by his stats that Rogers did nothing to impress. He did see his K rate rise at the end of the year and that's why he just hardly found his way into my top 31. Rogers throws 88-91 with sink and lacks a true plus pitch. At 22 years old, the fact that he struggled in Low-A is very troublesome.

Projected location to start 2006: Stockton's rotation.