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Oakland A's 2016 Community Prospect List #25: Dylan Covey earns his way back on the list

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Welcome pitcher Dylan Covey to the Community Prospect List! Only two more individual votes left, and then our final blowout to fill out the top 30. 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%)
17. Ryan Dull, RHP (+1%)
18. Skye Bolt, OF (+9%)
19. Zack Erwin, LHP (+31%)
20. Ryon Healy, 3B/1B (+14%)
21. Jaycob Brugman, OF (+9%)
22. J.B. Wendelken, RHP (+37%)
23. Dylan Covey, RHP (+5%)

Covey has had an up-and-down baseball career already, even before sniffing MLB. He was a first-round pick out of high school, but it turned out that he had diabetes and so he went unsigned. However, he still pitched well enough in college to go to the A's in the fourth round in 2013. Unfortunately, his first full pro season didn't go well, with a 5.46 ERA split between Single-A and High-A, and that caused him to fall off the prospect radar. But he bounced back in 2015 and put up solid numbers, and now here we are talking about him again. Up-and-down isn't so bad when your current status is "up."

The calling cards for Covey appear to be his ability to efficiently eat innings and his wide arsenal, with a strong curveball in particular. Over at, Mike Rosenbaum graded Covey's curve as the best in the A's system, with a grade of 55 (that's slightly above-average on the 20-80 scale). That distinction helped him earn the No. 15 spot on their A's prospect list, which is surely the highest ranking he holds on any lists around the web but goes to show that there are things to like about him. John Sickels of Minor League Ball is more cautious in his optimism, praising Covey's control but not his command and envisioning him as a better bullpen option than as a starter.

Covey is already 24 and turns 25 in August, and he still hasn't pitched above High-A ball. If he's going to make a move toward the bigs, this would be the year to start doing so. He figures to open in Double-A, and with Triple-A Nashville's rotation depth dwindling after the losses of Sean Nolin and Aaron Brooks, I wonder if the A's might be aggressive in moving up Covey if he shows early success in 2016.

★ ★ ★

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. (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 Heath Fillmyer. Honestly, he's not a guy who was on my radar this winter, but his inclusion in the recently released top-20 lists of (No. 18) and (No. 19) forces us to take a closer look at him. When Fillmyer was drafted in 2014 (5th round), A's Scouting Director Eric Kubota referred to him as "a converted position player ... a real upside kid" who threw 94-95 mph with a good curveball (via A's Farm). He showed improvement in Single-A Beloit as the year went on, but he still has a long way to go as he gains experience on the mound. You might like his raw ability, or you might prefer to wait until he's proven himself a bit more on the field, but he definitely belongs on our ballot at this point.

Heath Fillmyer, RHP

Expected level: High-A | Age 22

2015 stats (Single-A Beloit): 23 games, 4.98 ERA, 99⅓ ip, 77 Ks, 56 BB, 10 HR, 5.03 FIP


Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

Fillmyer was primarily a shortstop during his first year of junior college and pitched just eight innings. He moved to the mound in 2014 and helped Mercer reach the Division II Junior College World Series, pitching his way up Draft boards in the process. The A's selected him in the fifth round that year and he signed for $325,000.

Fillmyer has a quick arm and typically throws his fastball in the 92-96 mph range with good sinking action. His curveball is his best secondary offering, thrown with tight spin and late bite, and he showed improved feel for a changeup in 2015. There's some effort in his delivery, but he works around the strike zone well. He fields his position with the kind of skill expected of a former shortstop.

Because he's new to pitching, Fillmyer is still learning his craft. The A's helped him clean up his mechanics after a rough first half at Class A Beloit, and he finished the season on a high note and then made even greater strides during instructional league. With his athleticism, big arm and makeup, Fillmyer has a chance to develop into a solid pitcher in time.

★ ★ ★

Here are our other current candidates:

Tyler Ladendorf, UTIL

Expected level: Triple-A? MLB? | Age 28

2015 stats (Triple-A Nashville): 90 PAs, 76 wRC+, 1 HR, 5.6% BB, 25.6% Ks
2015 stats (MLB Oakland A's): 4-for-17, 1 triple, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 5 positions in 9 games

From AN Prospect Watch:

Ladendorf's identifying skill is his versatile defense, as he can more or less play every position and can apparently play most of them well. He's appeared at 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, and RF in his professional career. ...

[His] other skill is hitting left-handed pitching. Offense is not his strength overall, but year after year he posts exaggerated platoon splits with big OPS marks and great K:BB rates against southpaws. If he can continue to succeed in that niche in MLB, then it's easy to see how he could carve out a role as a platoon infielder or simply a super-utilityman.

★ ★ ★

Sandber Pimentel, 1B

Expected level: High-A | Age 21

2015 stats (Single-A Beloit): 471 PAs, 112 wRC+, 13 HR, 10.6% BB, 22.1% Ks


Scouting Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 35 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45

Pimentel's carrying tool is his left-handed power to all fields. While he does have some swing and miss in his game, he also has promising feel for hitting and a willingness to draw walks when pitchers try to work around him.

Pimentel began his pro career as a corner outfielder before seeing action at first base in 2013 and moving there full-time the following season. He's not especially quick but has some softness to his hands and some arm strength.

★ ★ ★

Jesus Lopez, 2B

Expected level: Low-A? Single-A? | Age 19

2015 stats (Low-A Vermont): 210 PAs, 38 wRC+, 0 HR, 2.9% BB, 19.0% Ks


Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

Lopez was the A's top signing in the 2013 international free agent class. The native of Nicaragua made his professional debut as a 17-year-old in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he was one of the youngest players.

Lopez didn't take up switch-hitting until late in his amateur career, but his natural feel at the plate made him a quick study. He has an advanced approach at the plate for a teenager and projects to develop some power as he physically matures.

Lopez's advanced feel for the game extends to the infield, where he has good hands and actions. But even as an amateur, some scouts felt he lacked the athleticism for shortstop and would eventually need to move. He saw time at both shortstop and second base during his debut.

★ ★ ★

Daniel Gossett, RHP

Expected level: High-A | Age 23

2015 stats (Double-A Midland): 27 starts, 4.73 ERA, 144⅔ ip, 112 Ks, 52 BB, 16 HR, 4.49 FIP


Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

Gossett's fastball sits in the low 90s, topping out at 95-96 mph, and has some arm-side run and late sinking action. His curveball projects to be above average and is his best secondary offering at the moment, though he also has good feel for a changeup that could be at least Major League average once developed. His slider was his go-to out pitch at Clemson, but it's been below average as a pro and requires further refinement.

Though pounding the zone has never been an issue for Gossett, his first full season indicated that the quality of his strikes must improve. Some scouts wonder if he'll have the durability to remain in the rotation, although that hasn't been an issue so far. The A's believe he has what it takes to be a big league starter, and the club's track record of developing undersized right-handers bodes well for his future in the role.

★ ★ ★

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!