In the last installment, Sean Nolin tried to make it three pitchers in a row on our Oakland Athletics prospect list but was edged out by 20-year-old shortstop Yairo Munoz for spot No. 7. The current list, with ranks from MLB.com, Baseball America (revised), Baseball Prospectus, Athletics 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 #9, BP#7, AF #8, KL #5)
6. Kendall Graveman, RHP (MLB #9, BA #6, BP #5, AF #5, KL #9)
7. Yairo Munoz, SS (BP #6, KL #8)
As you can see, Athletics Nation is particularly excited about Munoz -- he didn't make the Top 10 lists of Baseball America or Athletics Farm, and he's not in the A's Top 20 on MLB.com. The youngster jumped onto the prospect radar this winter after a strong season at Low-A Vermont in which he batted .298/.319/.448. His biggest strength might be his throwing arm, and reports indicate that the thing he needs to work on is plate discipline -- so, he sounds like a 20-year-old prospect. He still has a long way to go before reaching the Majors, and a lot can always go wrong between Low-A and MLB, but the A's believe that his ceiling is as an everyday starting shortstop. In our BlogFest interview with Assistant GM David Forst at FanFest, Forst mentioned that Munoz had been a popular name on the trade market this winter, so we can deduce from that statement that a lot of other teams believe in his talent as well.
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.
Say hello to our new addition, Rangel Ravelo. Acquired from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade, Ravelo is on this list because of his bat and he hopes to stay there by remaining at third base on defense. He'll get that chance at Triple-A Nashville in 2015. Like Nunez and Graveman, Ravelo is on the 40-man roster. Here is a quick rundown on him:
Rangel Ravelo, 3B | Expected level: Triple-A | Age 23 (in April)
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Since signing as a sixth-rounder out of a Florida high school in 2010, Ravelo emerged as one of the best pure hitters in the White Sox system. He batted .309 and led the Double-A Southern League with 37 doubles in 2014 before joining the Athletics as part of a trade package for Jeff Samardzija during the Winter Meetings.
Ravelo controls the strike zone well and makes consistent contact to all fields. While he has strength in his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, he has just 18 homers in 421 pro games. The consensus is that he won't have more than below-average home run power, which makes it difficult to project him as a regular at first base.
Ravelo spent his first two pro seasons at third base and has solid arm strength, but he didn't move well enough to stay at the hot corner. He's an adequate defender at first base.
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.
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.
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.
Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!