In the last installment, Mark Canha made a shocking entrance onto our Oakland A's prospect list by out-polling infielder Chad Pinder 89-87. The current list, with ranks from MLB.com, Baseball America (revised), Baseball Prospectus, Athletics Farm, Keith Law, and Fangraphs 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, FG #2)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS (MLB #2, BA #1, BP #1, AF #2, KL #2, FG #1)
3. Matt Chapman, 3B (MLB #4, BA #3, BP #10, AF #3, KL #3, FG #3)
4. Renato Nunez, 3B (MLB #3, BA #4, BP #4, AF #4, KL #4, FG #4)
5. Dillon Overton, LHP (MLB #5, BA #9, BP#7, AF #8, KL #5, FG #7)
6. Kendall Graveman, RHP (MLB #9, BA #6, BP #5, AF #5, KL #9, FG #5)
7. Yairo Munoz, SS (
MLB, BA, BP #6, AF #13, KL #8, FG #12)
8. Sean Nolin, LHP (MLB #8, BA #7, BP #3, AF #6, KL #12, FG #8)
9. Raul Alcantara, RHP (MLB #7, BA #10,
BP, AF #9, KL #6, FG #10)
10. Joey Wendle, 2B (MLB #11,
BA, BP #9, AF #10, KL, FG #14)
11. R.J. Alvarez, RHP (MLB #16,
BA, BP, AF, KL, FG #6)
12. Rangel Ravelo, 3B (MLB #19, BA #8,
BP, AF #11, KL, FG #15)
13. Mark Canha, 1B/OF (
MLB, BA, BP, AF, KL, FG)
For an idea of just how unexpected this Canha pick is, take a look at where all the other sites placed him ... or didn't, as it were. One of those lists goes as far as the Top 22, one goes to 20, and another goes to 16. He doesn't appear on any of them. When I initially nominated him a while back, it was sort of half-joke, half curiosity to see what everyone thought of him. Apparently, we think quite highly of him. Or we're just high.
In truth, I think that a lot of us just prefer guys with proximity to the Majors more than youngsters with high ceilings, knowing that the lower-level stars have more time to flame out or get hurt or traded. If you're MLB-ready now, you might already be further than someone in Single-A will ever get. But of course, another way to look at Canha is as a guy who hung around in the minors until he was old enough to crush it, and that dozens of guys just like him fail to make the jump to the Majors and instead languish in the limbo of Quad-A.
Canha exists under the rules of a Rule 5 pick, so he has to be on the 25-man roster all year or else the A's lose him. He's 26 years old, and last year he was quite good in Tripe-A but not Mossian great. He slugged .505 with 20 homers in 127 games -- still better than Michaels Choice or Taylor ever did. He can potentially play three positions, with first base and left field as locks and third base as an outside possibility. The A's aren't brimming with right-handed power, so even if he's only got Seth Smith-level pop he'd still be useful to have in a platoon role. His plate discipline probably won't be great (and definitely won't be Smith-level), but ... well, we'll just have to wait and see. Given that he seems guaranteed to make the team, it appears Athletics Nation is taking an optimistic approach to him. Trust in Beane, right?
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 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 nominee is first baseman Max Muncy. He had mixed results in Double-A last year, and I'm assuming that he'll start there again until he rediscovers his power, but I imagine Triple-A isn't out of the question. He made No. 10 on the MLB list and No. 12 on Athletics Farm, so he's already a bit late to the party around here. On the other hand, he didn't crack the Fangraphs Top 22 at all, so he hasn't been an egregious omission to this point. With Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Renato Nunez, Rangel Ravelo, and Nate Freiman already manning first/third bases in Double-A and Triple-A, Muncy is running out of time to get attention and playing time in the A's system and is in danger of being passed by the next wave of prospects. Here's a quick rundown on him:
Max Muncy, 1B | Expected level: Double-A | Age 24
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Coming out of Baylor in 2012, Muncy's patient approach at the plate made him the kind of advanced college hitter that the A's have become known for drafting. Behind a power surge that saw him hit 25 home runs between Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland, Muncy took a step forward in his first full season.
Muncy will have to prove the home runs weren't just a California League mirage, but he has always had solid pop waiting to be unlocked. In addition to his power, Muncy has excellent pitch-recognition skills and remains adept at working walks.
Muncy is more athletic than his frame suggests, and he is an adequate defender at first base. Oakland gave him some time at third base in 2014, but that's a stretch for him to play there on a regular basis. Muncy earns high marks for his makeup and understanding of the game.
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.
Chris Bassitt | Expected level: Triple-A or MLB | Age 26
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.
Dustin Driver, RHP | Expected level: Low-A or AZL Rookie | Age 20
From Bill Moriarty of Athletics Farm
Driver was an aggressive, hard-throwing high-schooler out of Washington who looked like a UCLA-commit before the A's drafted him in the 7th round in 2013 and convinced him to go the pro route with an approximate half-million-dollar bonus. The 20-year-old is a high-ceiling power arm who's had trouble staying healthy and staying on the mound. He's appeared in just 7 Arizona League games since the A's drafted him. But when healthy, he flashes an impressive low-to-mid-90s fastball and has a potentially solid slider and changeup that can only get better with more time on the mound. A back issue and a prolonged illness caused Driver to miss out on 2014 entirely, but the hope is that he can stay on the mound and show what he can do in 2015.
From Chris Kusiolek of The Afroed Elephant (click the link for more!)
[Driver] instantly burst forth and showcased a heavy 94-96 MPH fastball while topping 97 MPH ... with outstanding sequencing off the changeup and slider ... Driver, possessing the physique of a linebacker, has flashed an enticing 65-55-50+ projected repertoire ... With these attributes established, Driver has definitively asserted himself as a fringe potential #2 starter.
There could still be some strength plopped onto an already extremely athletic frame for the 20-year-old, listed at 6'2, 215 pounds and chiseled, but he's likely filled out to the extent one shall see another half-decade into the future. Questions still surround the hurler with zero extensive experience and durability still having yet to be witnessed, but with a frame presenting athletic projection, sustainability ought to develop as the righty contends for an upcoming Beloit rotation assignment with his fellow rehabilitating 2013 high school draftee in Chris Kohler. With a repeatable and athletic delivery, Driver at the very least figures to play as a late-inning bullpen asset should his rotation potential not materialize.
Daniel Gossett, RHP | Expected Level: Single-A | Age 22
Clemson has produced seven big league pitchers in the 2004-13 Drafts, and it could have an eighth on the way in Gossett. As a second-rounder this June, Gossett went higher than any of them, except for Pirates 2007 first-rounder Daniel Moskos.
Signed for $750,000, Gossett has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 94 mph. He commands the fastball well, which is crucial, because it's fairly straight. Gossett's best pitch is his hard slider, while his changeup is a reliable third offering.
Gossett doesn't have an imposing build, so scouts question if he'll have the durability to be a starter as a pro. If Gossett does shift to the bullpen, both his fastball and slider could play up and become above-average pitches as he works shorter stints.
Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!