In our last vote, starting pitcher Casey Meisner won by a comfortable margin to grab the last spot in the Top 10. I thought we might see a close race between him and fellow hurler Dillon Overton, but the latter barely even collected half as many votes as the former. The current list, including their winning margins (the amount by which they won their elections, defined as a percentage of the total vote):
1. Sean Manaea, LHP (+1%)
2. Franklin Barreto, SS/CF (+70%)
3. Matt Olson, 1B/OF (+24%)
4. Matt Chapman, 3B (+26%)
5. Jacob Nottingham, C (+1%)
6. Chad Pinder, SS (+31%)
7. Renato Nunez, 1B/3B (+51%)
8. Yairo Munoz, SS (+14%)
9. Richie Martin, SS (+12%)
10. Casey Meisner, RHP (+24%)
We started our Top 10 list with a pitcher and we ended with another one, but in between it was all position players. That seems like the opposite of a normal A's prospect list, as in recent years we've grown accustomed to seeing a large stable of young arms but a dearth of hitting talent. That doesn't necessarily mean the organization is short on pitching, though -- after all, their list of MLB starting pitchers age 27 or younger includes Sonny, Graveman, Bassitt, Hahn, Nolin, Brooks, and Alvarez. (And Jarrod Parker, if you're a believer.) My take on this is that the young pitching the A's do have is already mostly in the bigs, which isn't a bad thing. And as far as the 2016 team in concerned, the top prospect in the system happens to be a high-upside lefty starter who might debut this year, so there is in fact immediate and meaningful help on the way. I would advise being excited about the hitting depth rather than discouraged by the low quantity of pitching in the upper minors.
Looking back at our Top 10 list, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. There were two major differences from my own personal list:
- I dropped Manaea down to No. 3, for two reasons. First, I'm valuing Olson like an outfield prospect now, because I just think that's the new reality and I'm getting ahead of the game. Second, although I'm not specifically worried about Manaea's injury history, I still acknowledge it for now. However, as I've said many times, I love that we put Manaea first on AN because Barreto will likely dominate every other A's list on the web and our contrarian ranking shows that Manaea is close enough to him to be in the conversation.
- I dropped Nottingham down to No. 7, which seemed crazier until Baseball America dropped him off the Top 10 entirely, and then started seeming crazy again when Baseball Prospectus put him No. 66 overall in the minors. I simply put a higher value on more advanced/established prospects, and so for now I prefer last year's Double-A standouts like Pinder and Nunez. However, No. 5 is a completely appropriate place for him -- there is a gargantuan contrast in how he is viewed from source to source and I think this ranking provides a good balance between the varying opinions.
Other than those changes, my own Top 10 was identical to the one we've put together here. (Mine went: Barreto, Olson, Manaea, Chapman, Pinder, Nunez, Nottingham, Munoz, Martin, Meisner.)
As for Meisner, there's a lot to like about him. He's still young, as he won't turn 21 until May and would otherwise be a junior in college right now. He's big (6'7), he throws fairly hard (tops out at 94), and in his first year of full-season ball he earned a midseason promotion and posted a sub-3.00 ERA at every stop along the way (Single-A, and two High-A teams). Most of his value is still based on projections of what he might become, but his track record is off to a good start and he stretched his workload out to 143⅓ innings last year. We'll learn a lot more about him in 2016.
MAKE SURE TO READ THE NEW PROCEDURE, AS IT HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY. Here is the new process:
- Five candidates will be listed on the ballot. The voting will take place in the comments section. I will start with a comment listing all five players, and then I will respond to that with five new comments in the style of "Vote: Player Name" for each candidate. Please do not reply directly to the official "Vote" comments, so that the ballot can stay together in one group.
- Choose your ONE favorite by Rec'ing the comment with his name. Please only vote for one, like you would have in the old poll. (Note: If it comes down to a close two-man race, we will discuss the possibility of having the third-party voters cast a second vote for one of the two leading candidates, sort of like Ranked-Choice Voting.) The player who receives the most Rec's earns the next spot on the CPL, while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by a new nominee.
- In the comments, below the official voting, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the ballot for 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 comment. The player with the most Rec's earns the nomination.
- 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 rank.
★ ★ ★
The new nominee is pitcher Dakota Chalmers. The right-hander was drafted in the third round last June, and he made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League. At this point we don't know much about him, considering that he was in high school last spring. If you like projecting raw talent, then you'll be excited that he can already hit the mid-90s with his fastball as a teenager, among other things. But it'll be a long time before you can expect to see him in MLB, and based on the other high school pitchers the A's have taken in recent years I imagine Chalmers will spend the upcoming year in short-season Low-A ball (Vermont).
Dakota Chalmers, RHP
Expected level: Low-A | Age 19
2015 stats: I don't see value in posting Rookie League stats
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
With a fine performance on the showcase circuit and a strong start to his senior season, Chalmers' stock was nearly as high as any high school pitcher's at one point during the spring. He cooled off some and dropped to the Athletics in the third round, where he signed for $1.2 million.
Chalmers already operated with a 92-95 mph fastball that peaks at 98, and his projectable 6-foot-3 frame hints at more velocity in the future. His secondary pitches need more consistency, though his breaking balls grade as plus offerings at their best and he'll flash a solid changeup.
Chalmers' biggest need at this point is to clean up his delivery, which features more effort than scouts would like. His athleticism bodes well for his ability to refine his mechanics and improve his control and command.
★ ★ ★
Here are our other current candidates:
Rangel Ravelo, 1B
Expected level: Triple-A? MLB? | Age 24
2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 98 PAs, 139 wRC+, 2 HR, 9.2% BB, 17.3% Ks
2015 stats (Triple-A Nashville): 112 PAs, 86 wRC+, 1 HR, 6.3% BB, 19.6% Ks
2015 winter stats (LVBP): 229 PAs, .354/.480/.562, 8 HR, 17.9% BB, 14.0% Ks
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Ravelo understands the strike zone well, knows how to work a walk and makes consistent contact to all fields. While he has strength in his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame, that has mostly translated to doubles in the Minor Leagues, as his 11 home runs in 2014 with Double-A Birmingham are his career high.
After beginning his professional career as a third baseman, Ravelo moved across the diamond in 2013. He's an adequate defender at his new position but faces a tough profile as a right-handed-hitting first baseman without much power.
★ ★ ★
Dillon Overton, LHP
Expected level: Triple-A | Age 24
2015 stats (High-A Stockton): 14 games, 3.82 ERA, 61⅓ ip, 59 Ks, 12 BB, 7 HR, 4.07 FIP
2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 13 starts, 3.06 ERA, 64⅔ ip, 47 Ks, 15 BB, 4 HR, 3.34 FIP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Entering his junior season at Oklahoma, Overton was expected to be a first-round pick in the 2013 Draft. Instead it was his teammate Jon Gray who went third overall, while Overton slipped to the second round after he suffered an injury that ultimately required Tommy John surgery.
Overton got back on the mound in June 2014 and pitched effectively in his return to action. His control looked as good as ever, though his stuff wasn't all the way back to his pre-injury form. At his best, his fastball has reached 95 mph, but he has worked mostly in the upper 80s since his elbow reconstruction. He can get swings and misses with both of his offspeed pitches.
Overton earns praise for his makeup and demeanor on the mound. He'll look to continue to regain his form as he gets further removed from his surgery.
★ ★ ★
Raul Alcantara, RHP
Expected level: Double-A | Age 23
2015 stats (High-A Stockton): 15 starts, 3.88 ERA, 48⅔ ip, 29 Ks, 8 BB, 3 HR, 4.00 FIP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Alcantara was coming off his American debut when the A's acquired him in December 2011 as a part of the trade that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox. He's matured as a pitcher since the deal and had reached Double-A Midland in 2014 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that May.
When healthy, Alcantara throws his fastball in the low 90s, occasionally touching 96 mph. His slider is inconsistent but has the promise to give him another quality secondary offering to go with his above-average changeup.
Alcantara had made significant strides in the year before his injury, and if he's able to recapture that ability when he gets back to full health, he has a chance to become a solid Major League starter.
★ ★ ★
Joey Wendle, 2B
Expected level: Triple-A? MLB? | Age 26
2015 stats (Triple-A Nashville): 618 PAs, 101 wRC+, 10 HR, 3.6% BB, 18.4% Ks
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Wendle stands out most for his hitting ability. He has a good approach at the plate and uses the whole field to hit, squaring up balls with his compact swing. He has more power than his size suggests and has proved capable of driving the ball over the fence everywhere he's gone.
Wendle is a steady defender at second base, capable of making all the necessary plays. He earns praise for his makeup and blue-collar mentality, traits that have helped him rise through the Minor Leagues
★ ★ ★
Vote in the comments below for your favorite of the five by Rec'ing his "Vote: (Player Name)" comment, and post your nomination(s) as well!