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Updating the Oakland A's Community Prospect List after a busy 2016 season

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Matt Chapman has his sights set high.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 season is in the rear-view mirror, and there is a long winter ahead. We spent all year following the Oakland A’s top prospects, and so now it’s time for a snapshot of the state of the minor league system entering the offseason. We’ll start with our preseason Community Prospect List Top 30, and then add some of the dynamic new names that joined the organization this summer.

The first section of this post will be the big table of stats. We've got our Top 30 prospects, plus some new draft picks, midseason acquisitions, and then a few more of the best of the rest. After that we'll meet some of those relatively new names, and consider which of the existing Top 30 prospects have raised their stock with strong performances and which ones have taken a step back. Then we’ll wrap up with my take on an updated Top 30 list, with plenty of space in the comments for everyone else to share their version. (Don’t worry, we’ll do our normal CPL voting in January as always for the official new list.)

2016 Stats

Skip this intro and go straight to the big table if you don’t care about the details of the process.

Each player is listed at the highest level at which he spent what I deemed to be significant time, and his stats only include his performance at that level. However, many of these guys received brief promotions beyond the level at which they’re listed here. The levels refer to the Oakland A's (MLB), the Nashville Sounds (AAA), the Midland RockHounds (AA), the High-A Stockton Ports (A+), the Single-A Beloit Snappers (A), the short-season Low-A Vermont Lake Monsters (A-), and the Arizona Rookie League (RK). For midseason acquisitions, I’ve listed their full stats from the relevant level, including their time in their previous organization.

There wasn't a lot of room for the stats, so I had to pick and choose which ones to include in order to pack in as much punch as possible. It's meant to be read like this, from left to right:

  • sample size (IP or PAs)
  • big-picture, is he above or below average (ERA/ERA+, wRC+)
  • underlying peripherals (K, BB, HR rates, FIP)
  • for MLB guys, overall value (WAR)

I would have liked to include the slash line for hitters (AVG/OBP/SLG) but it's just a bit too much for such a small space — and anyway, when it comes to the minors I prefer the league-adjusted numbers because each individual league brings its own unique environment and competition level. Finally, I put the pitching stats in green text in an attempt to differentiate them from the hitting stats.

A quick stats glossary:

  • For hitters, a 100 wRC+ is average, and higher is better; a range of 75-140 is poor-to-great.
  • A BB% around 8% is normal, with a range of about 5-12% being poor to great; for K%, average is around 20% with 12-25% constituting great-to-poor.
  • For pitchers, ERA+ works the same as wRC+ (higher is still better).
  • Meanwhile, FIP reads like an ERA but is based on peripherals (K, BB, HR) instead of actual real-life runs. It’s meant to be predictive, and with prospects in particular we’re more concerned with their potential future performance than their past results.
  • I chose fWAR over bWAR because I wanted the superior predictive power of process-based fWAR rather than the hindsight of results-based bWAR.

The players in this table include our preseason Top 30, plus an additional 15 in the following groups: others who stepped up (SU), trade acquisitions (TR), and draft picks (DR). Players in bold got enough MLB time to graduate from prospect status.

Oakland A's 2016 Community Prospect List
# Name Pos Age Level 2016 Stats
1 Sean Manaea LHP 24 MLB 144⅔ ip, 103 ERA+, 3.35 K/BB, 4.08 FIP, 1.8 fWAR
2 Franklin Barreto SS 20 AA 507 PAs, 117 wRC+, 10 HR, 7.1% BB, 17.8% Ks, 30 SB
3 Matt Olson 1B/OF 22 AAA 540 PAs, 102 wRC+, 17 HR, 13.1% BB, 24.4% Ks
4 Matt Chapman 3B 23 AA 504 PAs, 141 wRC+, 29 HR, 11.7% BB, 29.2% Ks
5 Chad Pinder SS 24 AAA 465 PAs, 93 wRC+, 14 HR, 5.4% BB, 23.2% Ks
6 Renato Nunez 3B/LF 22 AAA 550 PAs, 78 wRC+, 23 HR, 5.6% BB, 21.6% Ks
7 Yairo Munoz SS 21 AA 413 PAs, 87 wRC+, 9 HR, 5.6% BB, 18.4% Ks
8 Richie Martin SS 21 A+ 382 PAs, 78 wRC+, 3 HR, 9.4 BB%, 19.1% Ks
9 Casey Meisner RHP 21 A+ 117 ip, 4.85 ERA, 100 Ks, 59 BB, 12 HR, 5.01 FIP
10 Dillon Overton LHP 24 AAA 125⅔ ip, 3.29 ERA, 105 Ks, 31 BB, 6 HR, 3.46 FIP
11 Rangel Ravelo 1B 24 AAA 416 PAs, 93 wRC+, 8 HR, 8.2% BB, 15.1% Ks
12 Joey Wendle 2B 26 AAA 526 PAs, 103 wRC+, 12 HR, 4.9% BB, 21.3% Ks
13 Dakota Chalmers RHP 19 A- 67 ip, 4.70 ERA, 62 Ks, 37 BB, 8 HR, 4.90 FIP
14 Raul Alcantara RHP 23 AAA 45⅔ ip, 1.18 ERA, 32 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 2.80 FIP
15 Daniel Mengden RHP 23 MLB 72 ip, 61 ERA+, 2.15 K/BB, 4.34 FIP, 0.7 fWAR
16 Mikey White SS/2B 22 A+ 521 PAs, 83 wRC+, 6 HR, 7.7% BB, 25.0% Ks
17 Ryan Dull RHP 26 MLB 74⅓ ip, 164 ERA+, 4.87 K/BB, 3.58 FIP, 1.0 fWAR
18 Skye Bolt OF 22 A 402 PAs, 97 wRC+, 5 HR, 10.4% BB, 21.9% Ks
19 Zack Erwin LHP 22 A+ 80 ip, 6.52 ERA, 58 Ks, 32 BB, 11 HR, 5.44 FIP
20 Ryon Healy 3B/1B 24 AAA 283 PAs, 134 wRC+, 13 HR, 4.2% BB, 21.2% Ks, 1.1 fWAR
21 Jaycob Brugman OF 24 AAA 433 PAs, 109 wRC+, 7 HR, 8.3% BB, 20.3% Ks
22 J.B. Wendelken RHP 23 AAA 46 ip, 4.11 ERA, 65 Ks, 26 BB, 5 HR, 4.27 FIP
23 Dylan Covey RHP 24 AA Missed almost all of season to injury
24 Sandber Pimentel 1B 21 A+ 485 PAs, 111 wRC+, 21 HR, 12.4% BB, 29.9% Ks
25 Heath Fillmyer RHP 22 AA 39 ip, 2.54 ERA, 29 Ks, 8 BB, 3 HR, 3.31 FIP
26 Dustin Driver RHP 21 A Some injuries, and 33 BB in 32⅓ ip
27 Daniel Gossett RHP 23 AA 94 ip, 2.49 ERA, 94 Ks, 25 BB, 4 HR, 2.57 FIP
28 Bruce Maxwell C 25 AAA 219 PAs, 148 wRC+, 10 HR, 11.0% BB, 17.4% Ks
29 Bobby Wahl RHP 24 AA 40⅔ ip, 2.21 ERA, 48 Ks, 17 BB, 3 HR, 3.11 FIP
30 Tyler Ladendorf Util 28 MLB 6-for-50, 1 BB, 13 Ks, -58 wRC+, -0.7 fWAR, 1 ip
SU James Naile RHP 23 A+ 40⅔ ip, 3.76 ERA, 46 Ks, 11 BB, 5 HR, 3.94 FIP
SU Kyle Friedrichs RHP 24 A+ 100⅔ ip, 4.29 ERA, 86 Ks, 10 BB, 10 HR, 3.65 FIP
SU Evan Manarino LHP 23 A 121⅔ ip, 2.15, ERA, 103 Ks, 20 BB, 1 HR, 2.43 FIP
SU Tyler Marincov OF 24 AA 423 PAs, 115 wRC+, 10 HR, 9.5% BB, 21.5% Ks
SU Chris Iriart 1B 21 A 316 PAs, 126 wRC+, 16 HR, 9.2% BB, 28.2% Ks
TR Jharel Cotton RHP 24 AAA 135⅔ ip, 4.31, ERA, 155 Ks, 39 BB, 20 HR, 4.22 FIP
TR Grant Holmes RHP 20 A+ 134 ip, 4.63, ERA, 124 Ks, 53 BB, 10 HR, 4.09 FIP
TR Frankie Montas RHP 23 AAA Missed almost all of season to injury
TR Max Schrock 2B 21 A+ 253 PAs, 124 wRC+, 5 HR, 3.6% BB, 8.7% Ks
TR Brett Eibner OF 27 MLB 208 PAs, 65 wRC+, 6 HR, 9.1% BB, 24.0% Ks, 0.2 fWAR
TR Paul Blackburn RHP 22 AA 143 ip, 3.27 ERA, 99 Ks, 35 BB, 8 HR, 3.42 FIP
DR A.J. Puk LHP 21 A- 32⅔ ip, 3.03 ERA, 40 Ks, 12 BB, 0 HR, 1.93 FIP
DR Daulton Jefferies RHP 21 RK 11⅓ ip, 2.38 ERA, 17 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HR, 1.65 FIP
DR Logan Shore RHP 21 A- 21 ip, 2.57 ERA, 21 Ks, 7 BB, 1 HR, 2.90 FIP
DR Sean Murphy C 21 A- 85 PAs, 99 wRC+, 2 HR, 10.6% BB, 14.1% Ks

* * *

The Graduates

The A’s had four players graduate from the prospect list to MLB this season, in addition to three more who weren’t on the preseason list.

The headliner was the No. 1 prospect, lefty Sean Manaea. He was rushed a bit when Oakland’s entire starting rotation fell through a trap-door in the dugout, and it showed when he got off to a rocky first couple months. But then he settled in, made his adjustments, and began looking like the intimidating starter we’d hoped for. Overall it was a successful rookie season, and hopes are high for him in 2017.

Manaea was later joined in the rotation by No. 15 Daniel Mengden, who arrived earlier than expected. The right-hander opened in Double-A but was so dominant that he reached the bigs by June. He didn’t enjoy the success that Manaea did once he got there, but he did strike out a batter per inning over 14 starts and his defense let him down on several occasions so it probably wasn’t as bad as it looked. Either way, it’s impressive that he reached MLB at all this year, and at age 24 next season there is plenty of time for him to figure things out.

Next up is No. 17 Ryan Dull, who was so good out of the bullpen that he nearly made the All-Star team. After a brief debut in 2015, the righty grabbed the last spot in the pen this spring and ran with it. Along the way he set a record for most inherited runners stranded to start a season, and all told he converted 18-of-21 save/hold situations. Look for him in a set-up role next year.

The only hitter to graduate from the list was No. 20 Ryon Healy, who was probably not the guy you expected to be reading about seven months ago. He repeated Double-A to start the year, crushed it, then crushed Triple-A, then crushed MLB pitching for 72 games. Along the way, he passed all the other bigger-name prospects who had forced him down the depth chart in the first place. He’ll probably settle at 1B eventually, and his OBP was a bit lower than you’d like, but overall he blasted past any best-case scenario anyone could have dreamed up for him in 2016.

There were three other graduates. RHP Andrew Triggs may have cracked the bottom of the list if he’d been acquired sooner, but I’m sure he won’t hold it against us. He looked like a serviceable reliever at first, but then he moved to the rotation and thrived. He’ll get another crack at being a starter next year, exactly like no one expected. LHP Daniel Coulombe emerged as a solid lefty out of the pen, and OF Brett Eibner got some playing time for the Royals and A’s but didn’t do much with it.

Stepping Up

Prospect lists are perpetual works in progress, as youngsters rise and fall on their journeys through the minors, but this year it seemed like the A’s had more than their fair share of unheralded guys take a step up and onto the radar.

We begin with a trio of pitchers from the 2015 draft. RHP Kyle Friedrichs (7th round) got a quick promotion to High-A, and after a rough debut he posted a 3.55 ERA in his next 17 starts; he finished his season with a brilliant shutout performance in the Double-A playoffs. RHP James Naile (20th round) thrived in the lower minors, threw six scoreless frames in the championship clincher for the Double-A RockHounds, and even pitched a couple emergency games in Triple-A. LHP Evan Manarino (25th round) was a Midwest League All-Star and struck out five batters per walk in Single-A. They are each still lotto tickets, but they made amazing progress in their first full pro seasons.

Next up are a pair of hitters. OF Tyler Marincov was forced to repeat High-A at first but wasted no time breaking out and moving up to Double-A, where he continued to hit. He still has a long way to go, but for an organization desperately thin in upper-minors outfield depth, his progress was certainly a welcome sight. Meanwhile, 1B Chris Iriart (12th round in 2015) was one of the best hitters in the Single-A Midwest League, and then he shredded the Cal League in a brief late-season call-up to High-A -- in 16 games he hit six homers with a wRC+ of 188. He has my full attention next year. That 2015 draft class is so hot right now.

Honorable mention: OF James Harris (120 wRC+ in High-A), RHP Joel Seddon (1.84 ERA in final 13 starts, Double-A), RHP Corey Walter (2.15 ERA as a swingman in Double-A), OF Luis Barrera (135 wRC+ between Low-A and Single-A), RHP Sam Bragg (made the Fall Stars Team in the AFL), RHP Tucker Healy (13 K/9 in relief in Triple-A).

Trade acquisitions

A few new names came over in trades this season. The biggest transaction sent Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Dodgers, bringing back three young pitchers. The headliner was 20-year-old RHP Grant Holmes, a Top 100 prospect who played in the low minors last year. High-octane RHP Frankie Montas, who can fire triple-digits, missed most of the season with injury but dominated in the Arizona Fall League. Finally, RHP Jharel Cotton led the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in strikeouts and then posted a 2.15 ERA in five promising MLB starts in September.

There were also a couple smaller trades. Reliever Marc Rzepczynski went to Washington for 2B Max Schrock, a popular sleeper prospect with an absurdly low strikeout rate. Outfielder Billy Burns was shipped to Kansas City in return for OF Brett Eibner, who we discussed in the Graduates section.

That was it for the midseason deals, but the A’s managed to get in their first offseason move faster than I could get this CPL update posted. Danny Valencia went to Seattle for RHP Paul Blackburn, a 22-year-old innings-eating upper-minors starter who could make it in the back-end of a rotation. Here’s more on Blackburn.

The Draft

The A’s enjoyed the best draft position they’d had in years, with three of the top 50 picks (including No. 6 overall) at their disposal. As usual there are plenty of intriguing names up and down the draft class, but it’s nearly pointless to predict which ones (if any) will step up and reach the bigs someday. In this post we’re only going to look at the top few picks.

Oakland gambled on upside with their top pick, grabbing college LHP A.J. Puk when he slipped down from being a potential No. 1 selection. He’s not as polished as you’d expect from a college arm, but his 99 mph stuff has the potential to be dominant. This is the kind of raw talent you can usually only get at the top of the draft, and it was good to see the A’s take advantage of their position rather than hedging on a safer option.

Their next three picks also have shots to make our Top 30 list this winter. RHP Daulton Jefferies is a local guy with some similarities to a lite Sonny Gray but also an injury history; RHP Logan Shore is a polished fast-track candidate; and C Sean Murphy’s arm is one of the most elite raw tools in the entire A’s system. You never know how a draft class will turn out, but this one looks promising at the outset.

For more on the highlights of the 2016 draft class, check out our season review of the Low-A Vermont Lake Monsters, where many of them made their pro debuts.

These next three sections deal exclusively with the players on our preseason Top 30 list.

Stock Rising

1. Sean Manaea, LHP (grad)
4. Matt Chapman, 3B
15. Daniel Mengden, RHP (grad)
17. Ryan Dull, RHP (grad)
20. Ryon Healy, 3B (grad)
21. Jaycob Brugman, OF
25. Heath Fillmyer, RHP
27. Daniel Gossett, RHP
28. Bruce Maxwell, C
29. Bobby Wahl, RHP

Four of these guys rose so far that they graduated and played great in the bigs. That’s the entire goal of all of this, so, that’s about the best news possible. C Bruce Maxwell also reached MLB and found early success, though he didn’t quite play enough to graduate. His ascent up the system was quiet and low-profile, but his 2016 breakout turned him from a fringe guy into one whose worst-case scenario is probably as an MLB backup.

Meanwhile, 3B Matt Chapman was dynamite all year, from leading the A’s in homers at spring training, to leading the Texas League in homers during the regular season, to swatting seven more dingers in 18 Triple-A games at the end and another in the PCL playoffs. Add that performance to his elite defense at the hot corner, and he got himself on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. A’s fans once looked at him as a top prospect, but now we see our future everyday 3B as soon as mid-2017.

My favorite sleeper prospect, OF Jaycob Brugman, rewarded me with another strong campaign. Like Healy he initially repeated Double-A, but tore it up and forced a promotion to Triple-A. He continued to play well for Nashville all year and into the playoffs, and now he’s on the 40-man roster. Bruggy is on the cusp of actually making it to Oakland and I’m super excited about it, so if you include him in your trade ideas this winter I will flag your comment as spam. I also want to point out that there has never been an MLB player named Jaycob.

Two of Stockton’s starters had breakout seasons that launched them into the upper minors. RHP Daniel Gossett mowed down everything in his path, all the way up to three good starts in Triple-A (including one in the playoffs). The addition of a cutter elevated his game, and the previously pitch-to-contact innings-eater now strikes out a batter per inning. RHP Heath Fillmyer also excelled, reaching Double-A just two years after becoming a full-time pitcher.

Finally, RHP Bobby Wahl managed to stay healthy all season (or at least until the last week or so), and that allowed him to show what he can really do. He served as the closer in Double-A, overpowering batters into a low hit rate and over 10 K/9. He kept right on rolling in a quick stint in Triple-A at the end. The A’s added him to the 40-man roster on Friday, and there’s a good chance we’ll see him in Oakland sometime in 2017.

Staying the course

2. Franklin Barreto, SS
3. Matt Olson, 1B/OF
5. Chad Pinder, SS
6. Renato Nunez, 3B/LF
12. Joey Wendle, 2B
13. Dakota Chalmers, RHP
14. Raul Alcantara, RHP
24. Sandber Pimentel, 1B

First, a disclaimer: This is not a bad list to be on. It means that the player probably had a solid year, or at worst had some ups and downs that cancelled each other out. They didn’t break out, but they also didn’t fall apart. They just plugged right along, somewhere near their median expectations, and that isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Five of these guys made their MLB debuts. They were led by 2B Joey Wendle, who got to play for nearly a month and showed some promise. However, in order to make the Rising list the 26-year-old would have needed to finally graduate first and foremost, and do so with something better than a 66 wRC+ once he got there. I see him exactly the same as I did 12 months ago: hopefully a decent starting 2B soon. RHP Raul Alcantara was bad in Double-A, great in Triple-A, and awful in MLB, but the quick, full ascent helps atone for some of the bumps along the way. He’s still a fringe starter who’s probably a reliever, just like I saw him last winter.

The other three debutants were among the top six prospects in the system. They each had somewhat disappointing years in Triple-A but still debuted in the bigs anyway, and when considering these guys it’s important to remember that Nashville’s new stadium is shaping up as one of the most extreme pitcher’s parks in pro baseball. This trio combined for 18 homers at home (206 games), but 37 on the road (201 games) — weigh those splits as much or as little as you want, but don’t ignore them completely.

SS Chad Pinder didn’t live up to his MVP performance from Double-A, but he maintained his moderate power and managed to crack his first MLB homer. 1B/OF Matt Olson had a slow first half (.718 OPS, 8 HR in 84 games) but improved after the break (.820, 9 HR in 47 games) and flashed great plate discipline in his September audition. It might be surprising to see 3B/LF Renato Nunez up here rather than on the Down list, after his 78 wRC+ in Nashville, but remember that he also racked up 23 homers, hit well for 3-of-5 months (including the final month), and at least did enough to put on a big league uniform for a couple weeks.

I’m particularly easy on Olson and Nunez because, and I can’t stress enough how important this is, they were each age 22 last season. They’ve spent their entire careers as two of the youngest players at every level they’ve played at, including this year in Triple-A. Of the 161 players who debuted in MLB this year, they ranked 19th and 20th in youngest age at time of debut. If they’d gone to college then they’d have been 2015 draft picks in their first full pro seasons this year, probably back in High-A. Instead they debuted in the freaking bigs. That’s why neither of their stocks are down -- because just being in Triple-A at all this young, much less combining for 40 dingers there, is enough to keep them relevant.

SS Franklin Barreto has an argument to be on the Rising list. His season was similar to Chapman’s, as he hit well in Double-A and earned a few games in Triple-A at the end. But this one is a matter of expectations: Barreto entered as one of the top 40 prospects in all of baseball, and his season was merely good. Again, not an insult, and he did make real progress. He just didn’t break out and take things to a new level, like forcing half a season in Triple-A or even an early debut. When you start as high as he did, the requirements to raise that stock are pretty extreme. Making the 40-man doesn’t change things either, because he’s so talented that he’d have been protected from the Rule 5 draft even if he’d had a down year (like Yairo Munoz).

That leaves us with two low-level guys. RHP Dakota Chalmers had only one job at age 19: stay healthy. He nailed it! He logged some innings in Low-A, showed his strikeout stuff, and didn’t hurt himself. Meanwhile, 1B Sandber Pimentel was solid in hitter-friendly High-A (21 HR, 111 wRC+), but it takes video game numbers to stand out in the Cal League.

Stock Down

7. Yairo Munoz, SS
8. Richie Martin, SS
9. Casey Meisner, RHP
10. Dillon Overton, LHP
11. Rangel Ravelo, 1B
16. Mikey White, 2B
18. Skye Bolt, OF
19. Zack Erwin, LHP
22. J.B. Wendelken, RHP
23. Dylan Covey, RHP
26. Dustin Driver, RHP
30. Tyler Ladendorf, UTIL

This list feels awfully long for a season that I’ve deemed a success, but bear with me. A handful of prospects will always drop down or even flame out in a given year, but the A’s system saw plenty of new ones step up into their places. Many of these names will fall off our next CPL, but that’s a requirement if you want to add on a bunch of exciting new ones. A bad season would presumably be one in which all these guys sucked but still stayed on the bottom of the CPL because no one else forced them off.

Let’s start at the bottom with some easy ones. RHP Dustin Driver did nothing, in the lowest levels at age 21, and it’s looking less like the former high school draft pick will ever approach his ceiling. UTIL Tyler Ladendorf got another shot in the bigs but didn’t hit at all and was outrighted off the 40-man roster after the season. Both are fully off the radar. RHP Dylan Covey missed most of the year to an oblique injury, and his mediocre stint in the AFL probably won’t be enough to keep him on the next CPL.

The Brett Lawrie trade return has proven to be a total bust so far, though Lawrie himself played only 94 mediocre games for $4 million so there wasn’t really a winner there. RHP J.B. Wendelken made his MLB debut, but he got crushed and will probably miss 2017 with TJS (not yet official on that). LHP Zack Erwin got annihilated in High-A, then moved down to Single-A and went on the DL. Welp. The A’s got more production and more trade value out of Valencia (acquired from Blue Jays on waiver pickup) than they did from Lawrie (acquired from Blue Jays in Donaldson trade).

For as excited as I am about the 2015 draft class, the top picks did not impress. SS Richie Martin missed the first couple months with a knee injury and then didn’t hit much until August. He ended on an encouraging note, with some swing adjustments that paid dividends and then a positive trial in Double-A, but the fact is that he had about six good weeks in his first full pro season. 2B Mikey White also didn’t hit until the second half, and finished up well below average in High-A. OF Skye Bolt got an easier assignment in Single-A, but battled a nagging hamstring injury and put up merely average stats.

RHP Casey Meisner and 1B Rangel Ravelo ranked high on our preseason list but simply failed to progress. Meisner struggled with mechanics and control in High-A, while Ravelo never got going at the plate in Triple-A. Both will likely fall off the CPL this winter.

LHP Dillon Overton got his first chance in MLB, but the soft-tosser couldn’t find enough smoke and mirrors to retire big leaguers. He was still effective in Triple-A, and he’ll certainly get another shot at some point, but the brutal first impression (12 HR in 128 batters faced) dampens his future forecast.

And finally, saving the best for last. SS Yairo Munoz is still a dynamic talent, but he didn’t have a good 2016. He got an aggressive assignment to Double-A after just a month of High-A experience, and on top of that he missed some time to nagging injuries. All told he was below-average (87 wRC+), and he didn’t do much better in the Arizona Fall League (.677 OPS). He’s still an excellent prospect, and he’s got plenty of time to pan out, but the dud performance knocks him down a peg for now. He’s really only had one or two good months in the last two seasons.

Looking Forward: Updating the list

Subtitle: This is not a new CPL! This is just my take.

Alright, here we go. This is my first attempt at an updated Top 30 list, entering the offseason. Actually, I did a Top 45. I don’t know why I lied just then. We’ll do a full CPL vote in January, but here’s a starting point for now. Remember that I tend to favor proximity to MLB slightly more than projected ceiling, so I side more with the upper-minors guys than many other people do.

Note that I have completely left off two recent high-profile international signings, 17-year-old OF Lazaro Armenteros and 16-year-old SS Marcos Brito, because I just don’t have a clue what to think of them yet. But MLB Pipeline has both in their A’s Top 30.

The number in parentheses is the player’s rank on last year’s CPL (or Not Ranked, Trade acquisition, or Draft pick).

1. Franklin Barreto, SS (2)
2. Matt Chapman, 3B (4)
3. A.J. Puk, LHP (DR)
4. Jharel Cotton, RHP (TR)
5. Grant Holmes, RHP (TR)
6. Matt Olson, 1B/OF (3)
7. Frankie Montas, RHP (TR)
8. Chad Pinder, SS (5)
9. Daniel Gossett, RHP (27)
10. Bruce Maxwell, C (28)

11. Renato Nunez, 3B/LF (6)
12. Dakota Chalmers, RHP (13)
13. Yairo Munoz, SS (7)
14. Jaycob Brugman, OF (21)
15. Richie Martin, SS (8)
16. Logan Shore, RHP (DR)
17. Joey Wendle, 2B (12)
18. Max Schrock, 2B (TR)
19. Heath Fillmyer, RHP (25)
20. Dillon Overton, LHP (10)

21. Raul Alcantara, RHP (14)
22. Paul Blackburn, RHP (TR)
23. James Naile, RHP (NR)
24. Daulton Jefferies, RHP (DR)
25. Bobby Wahl, RHP (29)
26. Sean Murphy, C (DR)
27. Tyler Marincov, OF (NR)
28. Chris Iriart, 1B (NR)
29. Sandber Pimentel, 1B (24)
30. Evan Manarino, LHP (NR)

31. Kyle Friedrichs, RHP (NR)
32. Tucker Healy, RHP (NR)
33. Joel Seddon, RHP (NR)
34. Corey Walter, RHP (NR)
35. Sam Bragg, RHP (NR)
36. Dylan Covey, RHP (23)
37. James Harris, OF (NR)
38. Mikey White, 2B (16)
39. Luis Barrera, OF (NR)
40. Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP (NR)

41. Casey Meisner, RHP (9)
42. Skye Bolt, OF (18)
43. Brett Siddall, OF (NR)
44. Rangel Ravelo, 1B (12)
45. Brett Graves, RHP (NR)

I’m happy with my Top 10 — I’m really high on Cotton (don’t try that at home), I still believe in Olson, I adore Gossett, and I don’t see how Maxwell can be lower than that at this point as an almost guaranteed big league catcher.

I think the first big drop-off comes after the Top 13. I’m shakier on the next grouping (the 14-21 slots), though I’m confident that Martin belongs down there somewhere for now. Finally, I’m happy with the cutoff of the Top 30, with Friedrichs just getting bumped off by the addition of Blackburn.

What does your list look like? Let’s compare in the comments!

Conclusion

I think it was a positive year for the A’s farm. Maybe that’s wishful thinking brought on by such a lousy year for the MLB team, but I’m calling it a success. The system yielded two new starters and a set-up man, with several more starters ready to fight for a spot. Even though the top hitting prospects stalled a bit, a new hitter graduated into the middle of the lineup. There were plenty of success stories in the lower minors. The draft went fine, and although the top of the 2015 draft class struggled, some mid-rounders stepped up instead. Midseason trades brought in a bunch of new talent, for the second year in a row.

Add it all up, and at worst the good equals the bad. Personally, I think the positives outweighed the negatives at least slightly. Either way, the Triple-A team is going to stacked again, there’s a lot of pitching depth, and there should be many more quality graduates next summer.

More on the prospects in these 2016 season reviews: