In the last installment, third baseman Matt Chapman grabbed the third spot on the Oakland Athletics' prospect list. The current list, with ranks from MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law in parentheses:
1. Matt Olson, 1B (MLB #1, BA #2, BP #2, KL #1 & #81 overall)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS (MLB #2, BA #1, BP #1, KL #2 & #95 overall)
3. Matt Chapman, 3B (MLB #4, BA #3, BP# 10, KL #3)
Chapman, Oakland's first-round draft pick in 2014, had an underwhelming batting line in his first pro experience last summer. However, he still has several impressive tools -- most notably his arm, his defense and his power -- and everyone except Baseball Prospectus still feels good about his chances to make it.
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 new addition in this round is pitcher Raul Alcantara, who was ranked below only the now-departed Addison Russell and Billy McKinney on our list last year. Unfortunately, Alcantara lost most of his year to Tommy John surgery, which both clouded and delayed his future. Here is a quick rundown on him:
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.
Here are our other current candidates:
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.
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.
Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!