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Athletics 2015 Community Prospect List #9: Sean Nolin joins the list

You don't know No'.
You don't know No'.
Abelimages/Getty Images

In the last installment, Sean Nolin followed up his near-miss from the previous vote and earned the No. 8 spot among our rankings of Oakland Athletics prospects. The current list, with ranks from MLB.comBaseball America (revised)Baseball ProspectusAthletics Farm, and Keith Law in parentheses (strikethrough font means he didn't make that list):

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 (MLB, BA, BP #6, AF, KL #8)
8. Sean Nolin, LHP (MLB #8, BA #7, BP #3, AF #6, KL)

We actually have Nolin placed relatively low on our list. Other than Keith Law, who didn't include him at all in his Top 10, all of the other sources ranked him the same or higher than we did, with BP's No. 3 rank coming as a particular surprise. Nolin grades well because, despite his low ceiling, the 25-year-old is on the verge of starting in the Majors and isn't likely to be terrible. He's a big lefty who should slot in as a decent No. 5 starter (or a long reliever at worst), and just making it that far gets you some love in terms of prospect status. Some guys are high-risk/high-reward, particularly those who are still at the lower levels of the minors (like Olson and Barreto), and Nolin is basically the opposite of that description. A guaranteed low reward is still better than no reward at all.

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.


The latest addition to the pool is right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt, acquired along with recent nominee Rangel Ravelo from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade. Bassitt is a tough guy to peg, because it's unclear if he'll ultimately settle in as a starter or a reliever, and that uncertainty probably hurt his stock on this community list. To his credit, he was effective in a handful of starts for Chicago in 2014, including a quality outing against Oakland. He doesn't give up a lot of homers, and when he pitches in short relief he's shown that he can really dial up the velocity and pile up the strikeouts. He's pretty likely to have a Major League career ahead of him in some capacity, and we'll see him at some point in 2015. Here is a quick rundown on him:

Chris Bassitt | Expected level: Triple-A or MLB | Age 26 (on Sunday!)


Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 40 | Slider: 40 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

The White Sox saw enough of Bassitt after he threw sparingly as a reliever in four years at Akron to sign him for $50,000 in the 16th round of the 2011 Draft, and they converted him to a starter in the middle of his first full pro season and watched him lead the system with 138 strikeouts in 2013. He didn't start his 2014 season until mid-July because of a broken hand suffered in an off-field incident. He did come back to make his Major League debut, making six appearances -- five of them starts -- late in the year, before finishing things off with a strong stint as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League. The A's got him as part of the package they received in return for Jeff Samardzija in December.

Bassitt has streamlined and sped up his delivery since turning pro, allowing him to get more leverage out of his 6-foot-5 frame. That helped him add velocity, and he now sits at 91-93 mph and touches 95 with his fastball.

Bassitt's heater is his lone plus pitch, so he has a ceiling of a back-of-the-rotation starter and may wind up back in the bullpen down the road. His fringy changeup is his best secondary offering, and he struggles at times to stay on top of his curveball and slider. There's some effort in Bassitt's delivery, costing him some command.


Here are our other current candidates:

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.

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.


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