No prospects have been traded for a few weeks now, so it's time to get back to the Community Prospect List. Last time, Franklin Barreto ran away with 58 percent of the vote to take the No. 2 spot. The current list, with ranks from MLB.com, Baseball America, and Keith Law in parentheses:
1. Matt Olson (MLB #1, BA #2, KL #1)
2. Franklin Barreto (MLB #2, BA #1, KL #2)
At least Athletics Nation seems to have gotten the first two right, as MLB.com and Baseball America both agree that they're the top of the list. Keith Law thinks so too, having placed Olson at No. 81 and Barreto at No. 95 in his overall rankings.
The next CPL will likely come a bit quicker than normal so that we can hustle up the schedule a bit, so don't waste any time casting your vote or making your nomination(s)!
Here are the rules:
- Five candidates will appear on the ballot.
- In the comments, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the list the next round. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec'ing that post.
- The format for the comment should be "Nomination: Player Name".
- If a prospect is traded, his name will be crossed out, and all other players will be moved up a space.
- If a prospect is acquired, a special vote will be put up to determine where that player should be voted to rank, by asking what player is that prospect better than. For example, if we acquired a a top prospect that could be our new top guy, we'd have a vote for who that player was better than, with the top 5 prospects thus far. That prospect would then be inserted into the list right above that player.
The new addition in this round is pitcher Kendall Graveman, who more than doubled the votes of the next-most-popular nominee (not counting PTBNL, who did quite well in the polling). Here is a quick rundown on the new guy:
Kendall Graveman, RHP | Expected level: Triple-A or MLB | Age 24
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 45 | Cutter: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Graveman pitched well in Mississippi State's rotation as a senior in 2013, and the Blue Jays drafted him in the eighth round that June. A little more than a year later, Graveman was in the big leagues after shooting all the way from Class A Lansing to Toronto. His rapid ascent also got the attention of other teams, and the A's acquired him in November as a part of their return for Josh Donaldson.
Graveman's fastball sits at 93 mph and creates lots of groundball outs thanks to its sinking action. He added a cutter to his arsenal this season, a move that precipitated his meteoric rise. The cutter gives him a second above-average offering and a weapon against left-handers. He also occasionally mixes in a slider and a changeup.
Though he doesn't have a front-line starter's ceiling, Graveman has found a recipe for success. He'll soon be ready for a full-time role in the big leagues, either at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen.
Here are our other current candidates:
Matt Chapman, 3B | Expected level: Double-A | Age 22 (in April)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
Oakland has had five first-round or supplemental first-round picks in the past three Drafts, and the club has spent four of those picks on infielders. The latest infielder selected was Chapman, who wowed the A's in a workout shortly before the Draft. He went 25th overall and he signed for $1.75 million.
Chapman fits the third-base profile to a tee, as he possesses the power potential and arm strength teams want at the position. Chapman manages the strike zone well, and while he can be inconsistent at times, he's doing a better job of turning his batting-practice power into home runs during games.
Chapman has Gold Glove upside at the hot corner. He moves well at third base and he has a cannon of an arm that has produced fastballs up to 98 mph in limited stints on the mound. Chapman is reminiscent of Michael Lorenzen, another Cal State Fullerton star who gave up playing the outfield to become a full-time pitcher after the Reds made him a supplemental first-round choice in 2013.
Renato Nunez, CIF | Expected level: Double-A | Age 21 (in April)
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 30 | Arm: 55 | Field: 40 | Overall: 50
The A's had an all-prospect infield at low Class A Beloit in 2013, with Olson at first base, since-traded Chris Bostick at second, Robertson at shortstop and Nunez at third. Nunez ranked fifth in the Midwest League with 19 homers, more than doubling his total of nine from his first two seasons in Rookie ball. Nunez has continued to drive the ball in high Class A this year.
Signed for $2.2 million out of Venezuela, Nunez presents a combination of tantalizing and raw tools. He has a sound and quick right-handed swing, and he can drive the ball to all areas of the field - though he also can get himself out by being overly aggressive at the plate. If Nunez can adopt a more disciplined approach, he could produce for both power and average.
Though Nunez's strong arm fits at third base, it's uncertain whether he can remain at the hot corner in the long run. Nunez's hands and feet need a lot of work, and if he can't cut it at third, his well below-average speed may mean that first base is his only other option.
Dillon Overton, LHP | Expected level: Single-A | Age 23
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Though Jonathan Gray went No. 3 overall to the Rockies in the 2013 Draft, it was Overton who opened that college season as Oklahoma's ace - and was regarded as the better prospect of the two. Overton wound up straining his forearm, but he pitched through the injury with reduced stuff. The A's took him in the second round, and when they discovered that he would need Tommy John surgery, they were able to sign Overton for $400,000.
When healthy, Overton can show three plus pitches. Overton deals in the low 90s, and he can hit 95 mph with a fastball that gains deception and life from his crossfire delivery. Overton can make batters look bad with his slider, and he can also get swings and misses with his changeup.
Overton has plenty of polish, too, and he's also mentally tough. Overton returned to the mound in late June, and he could prove to be a steal for Oakland.
Sean Nolin, LHP | Expected level: Triple-A or MLB | Age 25
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 45 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2010, Nolin made his Major League debut in 2013. He returned to Triple-A for most of 2014 and was slowed by a groin injury but returned to the big leagues in September. After his strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, the A's acquired him in November in the Josh Donaldson deal.
Nolin's stuff isn't overpowering but plays up thanks to his pitchability and control. He throws his fastball around 90 mph and uses his height to create a sharp downhill angle. He commands all of his pitches well, consistently filling up the strike zone.
Before his groin injury, Nolin had shown he was nearly ready for the big leagues. He has the makings of becoming a solid starter for the A's.
Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!