The Oakland Athletics have four prospects ranked in the top 10 at their position in MLB.com's midseason prospect rankings update. Shortstop Franklin Barreto, 19, leads the way ranked No. 23 overall, jumping from a preseason ranking of No. 85. Joining Barreto (#7 SS) as positional top 10s are Matt Olson (#4 1B), Matt Chapman (#5 3B), and Jacob Nottingham (#7 C).
Falling out of the Top 100 is new A's acquisition Sean Manaea, who ranks third in Oakland's prospect list though he would have been the fourth best prospect in the Royals system. An injury that held Manaea out of spring training could be the reason for him falling out of the overall Top 100.
The A's acquired Barreto in the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays. MLB.com writes:
Barreto is an aggressive hitter but has a knack for putting the bat on the ball. His compact swing and quick hands allow him to consistently make hard contact. He has more home-run power than most middle infielders and is a plus runner.
In the field, Barreto isn't as advanced. He has good range and a strong arm, but he's very erratic and lacks the natural actions of a shortstop. He's just a teenager, however, and will get every opportunity to prove he can stick at the position.
Franklin Barreto is expected to miss the next few weeks with a deep bone bruise and rehabilitate in Oakland's rehab facility in Arizona.
Fourth-ranked first base prospect Matt Olson, 21, is continuing to show power and some versatility in his Double-A campaign, where he has hit 12 home runs and 25 doubles, though he remains strikeout prone with 103 on the year.
Fifth-ranked third base prospect Matt Chapman, 22, is demolishing the baseball in the California League, with 21 home runs and 21 doubles in 71 games with 72 strikeouts and 34 walks. His defense has rated excellently as well. MLB.com writes, "Chapman's hands, actions and arm strength make him an excellent defender at third base. If he can get to his power more consistently, he'll fit the third-base profile to a T."
Seventh-ranked catching prospect Jacob Nottingham, 20, was only promoted from the Low-A Midwest League to the High-A California League at the end of June, and was the lead prospect in the trade that sent Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros. MLB.com writes:
Nottingham's power is his ticket to the big leagues. He's very strong and has a quick right-handed stroke, allowing him to drive balls great distances. He's improving his plate discipline and has a chance to become an average hitter.
Whether Nottingham can stay behind the plate remains to be seen, but he has gotten better as a catcher. He has enough arm strength but must continue to clean up his receiving. He also has seen time at first base.
Here are the Top 31 prospects in the Oakland A's system, according to MLB.com:
|#1||Franklin Barreto||SS||#23||#7 SS|
|#2||Matt Olson||1B/OF||#4 1B|
|#5||Matt Chapman||3B||#5 3B|
|#8||Jacob Nottingham||C/1B||#7 C|
Daniel Gossett ranked 30th before Sean Manaea was added to Oakland's Top 30.