In the last installment, Tyler Ladendorf rode a strong Cactus League into the No. 19 spot on our A's prospect list. The current list, with ranks from MLB.com, Baseball America (revised), Baseball Prospectus, Athletics Farm, Keith Law, Fangraphs, and John Sickels 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, JS #2)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS (MLB #2, BA #1, BP #1, AF #2, KL #2, FG #1, JS #1)
3. Matt Chapman, 3B (MLB #4, BA #3, BP #10, AF #3, KL #3, FG #3, JS #6)
4. Renato Nunez, 3B (MLB #3, BA #4, BP #4, AF #4, KL #4, FG #4, JS #3)
5. Dillon Overton, LHP (MLB #5, BA #9, BP#7, AF #8, KL #5, FG #7, JS #11)
6. Kendall Graveman, RHP (MLB #9, BA #6, BP #5, AF #5, KL #9, FG #5, JS #4)
7. Yairo Munoz, SS (
MLB, BA, BP #6, AF #13, KL #8, FG #12, JS #7)
8. Sean Nolin, LHP (MLB #8, BA #7, BP #3, AF #6, KL #12, FG #8, JS #5)
9. Raul Alcantara, RHP (MLB #7, BA #10,
BP, AF #9, KL #6, FG #10, JS #9)
10. Joey Wendle, 2B (MLB #11,
BA, BP #9, AF #10, KL, FG #14, JS #18)
11. R.J. Alvarez, RHP (MLB #16,
BA, BP, AF, KL, FG #6, JS #8)
12. Rangel Ravelo, 3B (MLB #19, BA #8,
BP, AF #11, KL, FG #15, JS #15)
13. Mark Canha, 1B/OF (
MLB, BA, BP, AF, KL, FG, JS #14)
14. Chad Pinder, 2B (MLB #6,
BA, BP #8, AF #7, KL #7, FG #9, JS #12)
15. Chris Bassitt, RHP (MLB #17, BA #5,
BP, AF #14, KL, FG #16, JS #16)
16. Dustin Driver, RHP (
MLB, BA, BP, AF, KL, FG #18, JS #20)
17. Billy Burns, OF (MLB #18,
BA, BP, AF, KL, FG #20, JS)
18. Max Muncy, 1B/3B (MLB #10,
BA, BP, AF #12, KL, FG, JS #13)
19. Tyler Ladendorf, IF/OF (
MLB, BA, BP, AF, KL, FG, JS)
As you can see, Ladendorf doesn't have a lot of prospect stock given his omission from every other list. And honestly, if we'd had this vote a month ago before spring training started, it's likely he wouldn't have made our list either. But he started hot, he finished the Cactus League with a .328/.328/.469 line and a lot of key hits, and he is expected to make a surprising appearance on the Opening Day roster thanks to a couple of injuries to veteran players. With that strong impression fresh in everyone's mind, it's hard not to get excited about the guy, even at age 27 and yet to make his MLB debut.
The fact that Ladendorf doesn't hold a lot of prospect value belies his potential, though. He has a major flaw -- his inability to hit right-handed pitchers, who make up the majority of all hurlers -- and because of that he'll probably never be an everyday player. However, he might hit lefties well and he possesses positional versatility, which is starting to become an in-demand skill. His ceiling is probably as an excellent short-end platoon starter and bench option, but haven't the A's proven the usefulness of that kind of player? It's no sure thing that he'll pan out at all, but if he does then the A's might have another quality utility man to plug the inevitable leaks that spring up in the lineup over the course of a long season.
We're going to do this last one a bit differently. There is still a poll at the bottom for the No. 20 spot, but since there won't be a chance to vote for any further spots we are going to rank the last few guys in the comments section. I will start by posting the five remaining nominees in the comments, and your job is to vote for them using the following criteria:
If this guy doesn't get the No. 20 spot, then he should be the No. 21 prospect.
Spots No. 21-24 will be determined by who gets the most Recs in this comment-section overflow poll. If you see that your pick for No. 21 is actually winning the vote for No. 20, it's possible that you might want to change your vote for No. 21 -- or just vote for your top two picks, or whatever you want to do. You can Rec as many as you want and there is always an Unrec button if you change your mind later (but you only have a few days to decide!).
But wait! There's more! Since 24 is a weird number to stop on, there will be one last chance to add a 25th man. After the overflow vote, we will have normal nominations for the final spot, and whoever gets the most Recs will be No. 25. However, the new nominees for the No. 25 spot cannot pass any of the Nos. 21-24 guys, regardless of how many Recs he gets.
The final wrap-up post will come out next week, so don't waste any time casting your votes!
Here are the rules (for the nominations for the No. 25 spot):
- Five candidates will appear on the ballot.
- In the comments, commenters will nominate a player for the No. 25 spot. 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".
The new nominee is left-handed pitcher Chris Kohler. There's not much to say about Kohler, because he simply hasn't pitched much yet. Like many of his fellow 2013 draftees -- Overton, Wahl, Driver -- the beginning of his professional career has been derailed by injuries. Here is a scouting report from July 2013. Otherwise, all I've got for you are a couple of quotes from A's special assistant Grady Fuson, via Athletics Farm:
Chris Kohler, LHP | Expected Level: Low-A? Rookie ball? | Age 20 (in May)
Fuson, July 2013: Yeah, Chris Kohler, the high school lefty we got in the compensation round. I liked him a lot and thought he was a great pick where we got him. He's a 90 mph guy with a good curveball. He's got fair location now for an 18-year-old. He's a real baseball guy.
Fuson, July 2014: Kohler's elbow is just a slow go. It's still biting him. They've gone back in and taken another look. I think he was going back in to have another MRI. But he's not currently in any legitimate throwing program as we speak. I don't see him see pitching a whole lot the rest of this season.
Here are our other current candidates:
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.
Pat Venditte, LRHP | Expected Level: Triple-A or MLB | Age 29
The switch-pitching Venditte is essentially a human case study in the value of platoon advantage and the limits to which it can be taken. Selected by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 draft out of Creighton, Venditte throws only about 85 mph with his right hand and even a bit slower than that with his left. Despite his underwhelming velocity, however, he's recorded strikeout and walk rates of 27.7% and 6.5%, respectively, over 445.2 minor-league innings - most recently with Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Despite New York's relative enthusiasm to sign Venditte (they also drafted him in the 45th round after his junior year), the club never found a place for him on the major-league roster. Oakland signed him to a minor-league deal in November, and one supposes (or at least hopes) that they did so with with a view towards giving him his major-league debut.
Bobby Wahl, RHP | Expected Level: High-A | Age 23 (on Saturday!)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
After turning down seven-figure offers from pro teams as a high schooler, Wahl went to Mississippi, and he entered 2013 as a possible first-round pick. But blister issues led to diminished stuff, and his signability concerned clubs. Oakland stole Wahl in the fifth round and signed him for $500,000.
Wahl's fastball velocity bounced back after he turned pro, ranging from 90-95 mph. He has reached 97 mph in the past while coming out of the bullpen for the U.S. national college team. Wahl's hard slider also regained its sharpness, and he also continued to exhibit feel for his changeup.
Scouts aren't enamored with Wahl's delivery, and they wondered if the effort he expends will lead to him becoming a reliever. It's hard to argue with Wahl's track record of success against top college competition in the Southeastern Conference, though he has struggled in his first full pro season. The A's hoped he could move quickly through the Minors and become at least a No. 3 starter, but it appears that was optimistic.
Jaycob Brugman, OF | Expected Level: High-A | Age 23
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
A 39th-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2010, Brugman turned down the Yankees in order to attend Brigham Young. The Athletics signed him for $50,000 as a 17th-rounder in 2013, and he has gotten off to a better start in pro ball than most members of that A's Draft class. While his arm is his only true plus tool, he doesn't have a glaring weakness.
Brugman couples a smooth left-handed swing with good patience at the plate. He has the power potential to hit 15 homers per season at his peak. He's an average runner, though he's not a basestealing threat.
Since turning pro, Brugman has seen action at all three outfield spots. He has enough arm strength to play right field but the A's have deployed him mostly in left. While it remains to be seen if Brugman can develop into an everyday player at the big league level, his broad base of tools could make him a useful reserve.
Vote in the poll below for your favorite of the five, and post your nominations in the comments!