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Looking Back at the Community Prospect List - Part 1

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How did AN do at ranking their minor league talent?

Thearon W. Henderson - Getty Images

The A's are out of it, and it still stings, but we have seen an unprecedented amount of rookies on this year's squad. So much talent, so much of it coming from the farm system, it is time to look back and see what we got right, what we got wrong, and how those guys did.

1. Yoenis Cespedes, CF (17, 14, 20)
MLB: .368 wOBA, 3.1 WAR
Cespedes, by most accounts, was worth what the A's dished out for the Cuban phenom. When in the lineup, Cespedes propelled the A's to new heights, giving them a legitimate middle of the lineup bat. Injuries sidelined him though much of the season, though they seem to be more of the freak kind rather than being injury prone, but we all know how those freak injuries can re-occur. From his fielding, we can tell that he is a serviceable center fielder, and a solid corner outfielder.
Conclusion: AN was spot on about ranking Cespedes at the top of the list.

2. Jarrod Parker, SP (22, 26, 50)
MLB: 3.43 FIP, 3.7 WAR
The Cahill trade netted the A's several great pieces, with Parker being the highlight of the bunch. Parker stepped up and performed excellently to replace Cahill's production, and effectively led the A's down the stretch as the team lost their #1, #2 and #3 starters to various ailments and incidents.
Conclusion: Parker was most definitely worth the trade, and AN picked right.

3. Michael Choice, CF (53, 80, 39)
AA: .349 wOBA
Choice started slow in double A, and ended up with just a .287/.356/.423 line, as his power seemed to fade compared to his awesome 2011 season, hitting just 10 homeruns compared to 36 last year. Choice was heating up at mid season when he suffered a fracture to his hand, ending his season. There are still hopes the Choice can resume his path to superstardom, but the injury was disappointing to see.
Conclusion: Okay, but not great. Definitely suffered set backs.

4. AJ Cole, SP (52, 57, 60) (Avg )
A+: 7.82 ERA, 4.99 FIP
A-: 2.07 ERA, 2.74 FIP
Cole bombed at High A Stockton, and was demoted early in the season to Low A Burlington. There, he bloomed back into the pitcher we all thought he was when we dealt Gio Gonzalez (who had a Cy worthy season himself) to the Nations in return for Cole, Peacock, Norris and Milone. His rekindling in A- was great, but it would have been nicer to see him bloom in A+ and eventually end up in Midland, rather than going down a peg. We will see how he fares again in Stockton next year.
Conclusion: Great once he went down, but would still like to see improvement. Cole could be near the top of this off season's prospect list, though.

5. Brad Peacock, SP (84, 36, 64)
AAA: 6.01 ERA, 4.26 FIP
I wanted to highlight, as with Cole, the difference in ERA and FIP. ERA says that Peacock was a total disaster in AAA this year, while FIP infers that he was just average, but unlucky. This was a lost year for Peacock, as he now approaches the Michael Taylor zone. Will Peacock bounce back next year? Then again, his 2011 FIP was very similar, 4.18, to his 2012 FIP, though with an ERA of 3.19. There's a good chance Peacock stabilizes into a 4.00 ERA pitcher, though we'd hope he'd do better than that.
Conclusion: Very disappointing.

6. Sonny Gray, SP (85, 65, 72)
AA: 4.26 ERA, 3.83 FIP
Gray, the 2011 top draft pick of the A's, got off to a poor start but finished well enough to get a promotion to the Rivercats, and pitched for them in the playoffs, however poorly. Gray will end up in Sacramento to start 2013, and could be with the A's mid year if needed. Still, I expected better performance from Gray as a top draft pick. Then again, he essentially started off right in Double A, so he's ahead of schedule after all.
Conclusion: About where he should be, could be better.

7. Grant Green, CF/SS (NR, NR, 100)
AAA: .345 wOBA
I don't know what to think of Green anymore. His line at AAA was good but not great. Or, it would be good if he was a middle infielder, less so if it is an outfielder, and confusing if he ends up as he has been treated by the A's defensively: a utility player who can play poorly all over the field. Green needs to get the lead out of his glove, and the power back in his bat if he want's to prove that he was worth the A's picking him 13th in the 2009 draft. We've already seen the other player the A's were supposedly thinking about, Mike Trout, explode into a hall of famer in his first year.
Conclusion: Best case, he somehow gets back at SS, and proves he can hit and field, and takes the job in the big club. Worst case, he is a failed prospect who can't field or hit. Most likely, he ends up as Todd Walker.

8. Derek Norris, C (89, NR, 96)
AAA: .347 wOBA
MLB: .275 wOBA
Norris came onto the scene with a bang, hitting home runs to win the hear of A's fans, and spurt the departure of Kurt Suzuki to Washington (which was basically a salary dump, not a trade). But Norris did not hold up that end of the bargain, ending the year with a 0.5 WAR, bad offense, and meh defense. Norris will need to show that he was the top prospect he showed in the National's system rather than the lost looking catcher he showed in Oakland.
Conclusion: Called up too early. Not sure if he can handle being the #1 just yet.

9. Tom Milone, SP
MLB: 3.74 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 2.7 WAR
Milone is exactly what you would expect of him, a #3/#4 pitcher who somehow outperforms his peripherals. While Milone did have some weird splits (awesome at home, weird on the road), he managed to buck that in the playoffs versus Detroit, and would have had the victory if not for some weird/bad defense behind him. Milone ended up being a great pick up from the Nationals, though not enough on his own to make up for Gio.
Conclusion: Better than expected! Here's to more of the same!

10. Chris Carter, 1B/DH
AAA: .371 wOBA
MLB: .369 wOBA
, 0.8 WAR
Carter came into 2012 in a make or break situation, and performed marvelously. While Carter struggled massively in 2011, in his call up in 2012 he hit the cover off the ball, with massive moon shots, and 16 MLB Homeruns (28 total). Carter showed what we all thought he would be when he was acquired from Arizona. Though he struggled down the stretch, Carter stands to sit in for 2013 as a starting player (be that 1B or DH) and we're hoping he can continue to smash and show the confidence that he showed in Oakland this year.
Conclusion: Make or Break year, and he Made it!

This year saw half of the top 10 prospect list graduate to the Majors, and we still have yet to hit the real gems. But, we did miss a lot of the best prospects this year in the top half of our list, including two that ended up at the bottom, and one that did not even make it!

We'll have to do better this year!

Next week we will take a look at 11-20, which is full of it's own surprises.