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Athletics 2015 Community Prospect List #10: Raul Alcantara's potential keeps him in Top 10

You don't even have to close your eyes to imagine what Alcantara would look like in green and gold.
You don't even have to close your eyes to imagine what Alcantara would look like in green and gold.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the last installment, Raul Alcantara managed to keep his name in the Top 10 of the Community Prospect List despite missing almost all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery. 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)
9. Raul Alcantara, RHP (MLB #7, BA #10, BP, AF #9, KL #6)

Alcantara was ranked No. 3 in the 2014 CPL, behind only Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, and those two were then dealt in the Jeff Samardzija trade in July. So, in a way, he entered the winter as the defending No. 1 prospect. However, his stock had clearly dropped after his injury. It's one thing when an MLB pitcher gets Tommy John, because the operation has a high success rate and most guys make it back. But when the pitcher is still a prospect who has to navigate through several more minor league levels just to make it at all, and then you add in the uncertainty of major elbow surgery, the question mark seems to loom larger.

This is still higher than I would have personally put Alcantara if I were to make my own list, with the caveat that he could shoot right back toward the top by proving himself anew upon his return to the mound, but as you can see two other sources ranked him even higher. Tumbling down eight spots in one year without ever actually pitching poorly is already an awful lot, and considering the overall package of his talent, young age, and injury history, this is probably a fair place to put him in Oakland's relatively weak system. He'll likely end up in Double-A when he's ready to pitch again, as that's where he was when he got hurt.

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 next vote will complete the Top 10 (we're going to 15 or 20), and our new name is Mark Canha, a local boy (born in San Jose, played college at Cal) and Rule 5 draft pick. Canha is the latest example of In Beane We Trust. He's a Triple-A slugger who could just as easily hit in the Majors (Moss, Cust) or turn out to be Quad-A (Kila, Montz, Allen, dozens more). The real question is simply how much you believe in Beane & Co to identify an MLB-ready hitter who has what it takes to make the jump. Given what it took to get him -- they traded an actual prospect, rather than just taking a free flyer on a guy off waivers -- as well as the knowledge that the investment will be a total waste if he doesn't at least make the Opening Day roster, many of us see him as a lock to make the team and a solid bet to be at least as good as Nate Freiman, Oakland's last Rule 5 pick. Hey, it's not in a fan's nature to be pessimistic about a new player in February. Here is a quick rundown on him:

Mark Canha, 1B/OF | Expected level: MLB | Age 26


The A's acquired Canha this December from the Colorado Rockies, who drafted Canha during the annual Rule 5 draft. Canha will need to remain on the A's active 25-man roster throughout the 2015 season or be offered back to the Marlins.


Over the past three years, the A's have used their entire roster, switching line-ups frequently to maximize match-up advantages. Despite those line-up changes, the A's hit only .239/.313/.368 as a team versus left-handed pitching last season. The A's hope the right-handed hitting Canha can help Oakland improve in that area this year. Canha has hit .305/.390/.486 versus lefties over the past three seasons. He has also faired well versus right-handed pitchers (.277/.371/.467), which could help him get into more games this year.

The trait that will help Canha most in his quest to make the A's roster is his versatility. During his minor league career, Canha has spent significant playing time at first and in the corner outfield spots, and he has some experience at third base, as well. Canha believes that his ability to play multiple positions helps him be a better overall baseball player. He acknowledges that he is more comfortable in left and at first right now, but he plans to get more work in at third this spring and believes he will be ready, if needed, at that position, as well.


"I hang my hat on my power," the South Bay native said during a post-FanFest media session on Monday [2/9/15]. "The best part of the game, the most fun part of the game, the most valuable part of the game is hitting homeruns and doubles. That's what makes the games fun for me."


Here are our other current candidates:

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.

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


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.


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