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Athletics 2015 Community Prospect List #7: Kendall Graveman is Oakland's top RHP prospect

Do you doubt Graveman? Hey, it's your funeral.
Do you doubt Graveman? Hey, it's your funeral.
Dave Weaver-USA TODAY Sports

In the last installment, Kendall Graveman entered having lost the No. 5 spot by three votes. He didn't have any trouble this time around, though, as he ran away with 45 percent of the vote to grab the sixth spot on the Oakland Athletics' prospect list. He was leading by so much that there was no point in continuing past 24 hours, because he already had the spot locked up. The current list, with ranks from MLB.comBaseball AmericaBaseball ProspectusAthletics Farm, and Keith Law in parentheses:

1. Matt Olson, 1B (MLB #1, BA #2, BP #2, AF #1, KL #1 & #81 overall)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS (MLB #2, BA #1, BP #1, AF #2, KL #2 & #95 overall)
3. Matt Chapman, 3B (MLB #4, BA #3, BP #10, AF #3, KL #3)
4. Renato Nunez, 3B (MLB #3, BA #4, BP #4, AF #4, KL #4)
5. Dillon Overton, LHP (MLB #5, BA #8, BP#7, AF #8, KL #5)
6. Kendall Graveman, RHP (MLB #9, BA #6, BP #5, AF #5, KL #9)

Graveman's selection is notable because he is the first player on the list who is likely to appear in Oakland in 2015. None of the players above him have even played in Double-A yet, whereas Graveman, acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade, made five appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays last year and has a shot to crack the Opening Day rotation. He's also notable as the first break from Keith Law's list, as Law ranked him No. 9; our Community Prospect List is now officially unique!

As a pitching prospect, Graveman is similar to A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily in that he came out of nowhere to rip through four minor league levels last year before reaching MLB. His meteoric rise was not expected, and he's only made 37 professional starts since being drafted in 2013, but he's succeeded at every level so far. He's also similar to Tommy Milone in that his game is based around avoiding walks and inducing weak contact rather than striking batters out, though his actual arsenal is quite different than Milone's. I love pitching prospects with low walk rates, and between that and my personal preference for proximity to MLB over potential ceiling, Graveman is one of the guys I'm irrationally excited about this year and can't wait to see in Oakland. I'm glad to see that many of you agree and that we ranked him nearly as highly as anyone did.

The next CPL will come out in a few days, 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.


Our new addition is second baseman Joey Wendle, (in)famously acquired from Cleveland for Brandon Moss. Our own bta47 just wrote a fantastic post about why Wendle is a more exciting prospect than initially meets the eye. The team said he's got an outside shot at making the 25-man roster out of spring training, but he's far more likely to open in Triple-A after missing half of his Double-A season with a hand injury (which has since healed). Here is a quick rundown on him:

Joey Wendle, 2B | Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25 (in April)


Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

After leading West Chester (Pa.) to the NCAA Division II College World Series championship in 2012, Wendle accepted a $10,000 bonus from the Indians as a sixth-round senior sign. He was named Cleveland's Minor League Player of the Year after his first full pro season and spent most of 2014 in Double-A, missing time with a broken hamate. The Indians traded him to the A's in December for Brandon Moss.

Wendle's best tool is his bat, as evidenced by his .366 average in four years of college and .292 mark in three years of pro ball. He has a good approach at the plate and uses the whole field to hit, squaring up balls with his compact left-handed swing. He has good pop for a middle infielder and projects to produce double-digit home run totals with a healthy number of doubles.

Wendle is a steady defender at second base but doesn't offer much defensive versatility. His fringy speed and average arm strength hinder his ability to play on the left side of the infield and fill a utility role.


Here are our other current candidates:

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.

Raul Alcantara, RHP | Expected level: Double-A | Age 22


Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50

Trading Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox in December 2011 has worked out well for the A's, who received Josh Reddick, corner-infield prospect Miles Head and Alcantara in return. Alcantara had a rough first season in his new organization, but he bounced back in 2013 to assert himself as the system's top pitching prospect. Unfortunately, Alcantara injured his elbow in the spring of 2014 and he had Tommy John surgery in May.

When healthy, Alcantara usually operates at 92-93 mph with his fastball, and he can reach 96 mph. Alcantara has done a fine job of refining his changeup in his two years in Oakland's system, to the point where it now ranks as his second-best pitch. His hard slider can also be a weapon at times, albeit with less consistency.

Scouts who saw Alcantara in low Class A in 2012 and '13 noted his improved mound presence the second time around, as he learned to trust his stuff and attack hitters. His control and command took a step forward, and if Alcantara continues to improve, he could be a No. 2 or 3 starter.

Yairo Munoz, SS | Expected level: Single-A | Age 20

From (click for the full report)

Translation: Yairo Muñoz is good. Really good. Grady Fuson knows it. Keith Lieppman, Oakland's Director of Player Development, agrees.

When asked where he projects Muñoz 's ceiling to be, Lieppman answers, without hesitation, "it is as an every day shortstop in the big leagues." Some day; not in the near future; no rushing; only when he's ready. A comparison to Hanley Ramirez is often made with Muñoz, "but with a much stronger arm." According to Fuson and Lieppman, Munoz, Edwin Diaz and Matt Chapman are the top three infield arms in the A's system, in terms of arm strength.

With respect to the young shortstop's offensive strengths, Lieppman offers that Muñoz is developing as they believed he would. Lieppman said that Muñoz is very "toolsy and... raw, but with continuing plate discipline, the sky is the limit." As a side note: just a few minutes after Lieppman shared his thoughts on Muñoz's plate discipline, the right-handed shortstop led off an Instructional League game by sending the first pitch of the game over the wall in left center field.

Plate discipline. Patience. Got it.

Chad Pinder, 2B | Expected level: Double-A | Age 23


Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50

Pinder drew comparisons to Evan Longoria while starring in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2012. While that's a stretch, it does speak to Pinder's all-around ability. As a bonus, he may be able to play the middle infield.

Though Pinder had a lackluster pro debut, he has the hand-eye coordination and bat speed to hit for a solid average. Scouts are more mixed about Pinder's power potential, but he can drive the ball to the opposite field. Pinder should be good for at least double-digit homers on an annual basis.

Pinder has the hands and arm for a shortstop, where he played primarily in his pro debut -- though he moved to second base when he joined Robertson at high Class A Stockton. Pinder profiles best at second, which would require less power than a shift to third base.


Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!