We have a new addition, but also a big departure. Mikey White was selected in our last vote, but the A's made a trade with the Brewers in which they parted with Jacob Nottingham. The catcher was ranked No. 5 on our list, which means everyone below him moves up a spot. 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%)
5. Chad Pinder, SS (+31%)
6. Renato Nunez, 1B/3B (+51%)
7. Yairo Munoz, SS (+14%)
8. Richie Martin, SS (+12%)
9. Casey Meisner, RHP (+24%)
10. Dillon Overton, LHP (+25%)
11. Rangel Ravelo, 1B (+30%)
12. Joey Wendle, 2B (+6%)
13. Dakota Chalmers, RHP (+19%)
14. Raul Alcantara, RHP (+24%)
15. Daniel Mengden, RHP (+10%)
16. Mikey White, SS/2B (+26%)
That No. 5 spot led to a big debate between Nottingham vs. Pinder, but I guess that's moot now. The loss of Nottingham is a hit to the system, both because he was ranked highly and because he was probably going to be the only catcher in the Top 25. On the other hand, he was not one of the large number of prospects who have chances to crack the MLB team in 2016, so if your focus is on the farm producing some reinforcements this summer then you didn't lose anything on that front (that is, guys like Olson, Pinder, Nunez, Ravelo, and Wendle are still around). Overton is now in our Top 10, which is fair since some other sources' lists already had him there.
It's natural to wonder what this trade says about Nottingham, and in particular I see people questioning whether it means that the A's soured on him for any number of reasons. I don't have any information you don't have, but I don't see any reason to jump to that conclusion. He's not any more or less likely to stick at catcher than he was in July, and as I've said in previous posts I don't think his second-half slump means much given he was a 20-year-old playing his first full season.
It's possible the A's didn't like what they saw after a month in Stockton, but that seems like it would be an insult to Oakland's scouts (as in, it implies they missed something serious before the trade that only took a month to uncover after the trade). More likely, he is what he is -- a prospect with good upside but also known risks. The A's got a valuable player in return (a slugger with four years of control left), and that will cost you a good prospect to acquire. Or in other words, just because the A's part with a player doesn't mean they don't think he's good anymore; they might just prefer the guy whom they're getting back.
As for White, I don't have much to add about him. He was the team's second-round pick, and the only relevant member of the draft class to play above Low-A Vermont in his pro debut (35th-rounder Tim Proudfoot was the other). Like the rest of the draftees, all we can say is that there are reasons the A's drafted him but that we'll have to wait and see what he does in his first full season. My expectation is that he'll open the year in High-A Stockton, but there are a lot of middle infielders in the low levels right now so it's not certain how the arrangements will shake out. He gets higher praise for his bat than his defense, and it sounds like he's more likely to move to 2B or 3B than stay at SS long-term.
★ ★ ★
Here is the 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 Ryon Healy. It was going to be Bubba Derby, but he was also included in the trade for Khris Davis and so the nod goes to Healy as the close runner-up. The infielder was a third-round pick in 2013, but he didn't do much in his pro debut that year and he remained below-average in his first full season in High-A Stockton (91 wRC+). It was more of the same in his few three months in Midland last year (.676 OPS), but then he finally turned a corner when July began and hit well for the final 50 games (.891 OPS). Where do you put more weight -- two calendar years of being a poor hitter, or a hot couple of months that happen to be the most recent sample? It could be a fluke just as easily as it could be a sign that he took a step forward in development. If Healy doesn't open the year in Triple-A, then I imagine it'll be because he's blocked by other prospects rather than that he's not ready to move up.
Ryon Healy, 3B/1B
Expected level: Triple-A? Double-A? | Age 24
2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 543 PAs, 113 wRC+, 10 HR, 5.5% BB, 15.1% Ks
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 35 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Healy has a short, quick swing with loft, giving him the potential to hit for both average and power. He does a good job of making contact and using the entire field to hit.
The A's have used Healy at both first and third base, but playing with Matt Olson and Renato Nunez in 2014 meant that he played more DH than anything else. Healy profiles best at first base, but no matter where he settles defensively, it'll be up to his bat to get him to the Major Leagues.
★ ★ ★
Here are our other current candidates:
Skye Bolt, OF
Expected level: High-A | Age 22
2015 stats (Low-A Vermont): 206 PAs, 110 wRC+, 4 HR, 11.7% BB, 21.4% Ks
Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
A switch-hitter, Bolt exhibits more bat speed and a more authoritative swing as a lefty, leading some scouts to wonder if he'd be better off batting solely from that side of the plate. Maybe that would help him do a better job of handling quality fastballs and recognizing pitches, two of his weaknesses.
If Bolt could recapture the magic from early in his freshman year, he could be a star. One of the better college athletes in the 2015 Draft class, he has solid raw power, speed and arm strength. He does a nice job of covering center field from gap to gap.
★ ★ ★
Ryan Dull, RHP
Expected level: Triple-A? MLB? | Age 26
2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 35 games, 0.60 ERA, 45 ip, 52 Ks, 13 BB, 1 HR, 2.14 FIP
2015 stats (Triple-A Nashville): 12 games, 1.12 ERA, 16 ip, 21 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 2.35 FIP
2015 stats (MLB Oakland A's): 13 games, 4.24 ERA, 17 ip, 16 Ks, 6 BB, 4 HR, 5.37 FIP
From A's special assistant Grady Fuson, via A's Farm:
When he's been good, he's been 90-92mph, his ball has a little sink and dive to it, and he pitches at the bottom of the strike zone fabulously. He's got a hard little slider and he's got a nice little changeup. He's one of the better pitchers in our system when it comes to really pitching down in the strike zone consistently, and that's the biggest attribute he has, plus he pounds the strike zone.
From Midland manager Ryan Christenson, via Midland Reporter-Telegram:
"His main key to success is the fact that he can locate his fastball," Christensen said. "He throws strikes down at the knees. He's got a nice slider that comes out of the same plane as his fastball and the same with his changeup so he's tough on both lefties and righties. The main thing for him is he can spot his fastball pretty much where he wants, when he wants."
★ ★ ★
Jaycob Brugman, OF
Expected level: Triple-A | Age 24
2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 566 PAs, 105 wRC+, 6 HR, 11.0% BB, 15.7% Ks
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Brugman was a 17th-round pick in 2013 but played well above that level in his first full professional season. He hit 21 home runs between Class A Beloit and Class A Advanced Stockton, joining Matt Olson and Renato Nunez as the only Minor Leaguers in the organization to hit more than 20 home runs in 2014.
Brugman couples a smooth left-handed swing with good patience at the plate. As he showed in 2014, he's capable of driving balls out of the park, but he's more likely to end up as an average power hitter than a masher.
The A's have used Brugman in all three outfield positions. He has solid defensive tools and likely fits best in one of the corners.
★ ★ ★
Zack Erwin, LHP
Expected level: Single-A? High-A? | Age 22
2015 stats (Single-A): 7 games, 1.89 ERA, 19 ip, 15 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR, 2.69 FIP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 45 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Erwin jumped on scouts' radars during 2014 Cape Cod League and then followed it with an even better junior season at Clemson, leading to his selection in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft by the White Sox. Despite pitching well in his professional debut -- half of which he spent in the full-season South Atlantic League -- the White Sox traded Erwin and right-hander J.B. Wendelken to Oakland in December for Brett Lawrie.
Erwin has the makings of three average-or-better pitches, each of which plays up due to his advanced command. His 6-foot-5 frame and long arms help him create an angle to the plate and also lend to his deception, allowing him to sneak up on opposing hitters with his 88-90 mph fastball. The left-hander's ability to command his heater throughout the zone helps set up his curveball and split-changeup, with both offerings showing above-average potential.
While some scouts view Erwin as a future No. 5 starter, others believe he could jump on the fast track to the Major Leagues with a move to the bullpen given his command, ground-ball tendencies and solid track record against both right- and left-handed hitters.
★ ★ ★
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!