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Oakland A's 2016 Community Prospect List #26: Sandber Pimentel primed for power display in Stockton?

This is actually a picture of new nominee Bruce Maxwell, but mostly it's just an awesome photo.
This is actually a picture of new nominee Bruce Maxwell, but mostly it's just an awesome photo.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We may have lost Bubba Derby's awesome name from the system, but at least we still have Sandber Pimentel. There are so many nickname possibilities that I don't even know what direction we'll go in if he ever makes it to Oakland! As for the CPL, we are doing one more normal vote in this post for the No. 25 spot, and then next time we'll do one final post with a special blowout vote for spots 26-30. 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%)
24. Sandber Pimentel, 1B (+21%)

Pimentel is still mostly an unknown at this point, but what little we do know is encouraging. He's the same age as the players who will be drafted out of college this summer, but he's already got his first year of full-season ball under his belt and he posted an above-average batting line to boot. His raw numbers in Single-A Beloit don't look incredible, but his wRC+ graded out at 112 (comfortably above league-average) and he did that while most players his age are still sophomores in college. Most important is that his power showed up in Beloit, as that is his key skill.

With his pro resume already started, Pimentel has a chance to really take off in 2016. Presumably we can expect to see him in High-A Stockton at some point this year, if not right out of the gate, and for a player whose top tool is his power, that is an exciting thought indeed. The California League is renowned for its friendliness to hitters, and Banner Island Ballpark is no exception to that rule. Hopefully Pimentel can follow the lead of former Beloit teammate Yairo Munoz, who really took off after moving up to Stockton last summer.

★ ★ ★

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 Bruce Maxwell. The husky catcher didn't make our list last winter and then put up subpar offensive numbers in Double-A in 2015, but that doesn't mean we should give up on him just yet. He's inching his way up the minor league ladder, he earned himself a non-roster invite to the Cactus League this spring (and singled on Friday!), and later in March he'll play for Team Germany in the qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic (his country of birth, where his army father was stationed). He's a work in progress on both sides of the ball, but the team seems happy with his development so far and they still have high hopes for his potentially powerful bat and improved defensive skills.

Bruce Maxwell, C

Expected level: Double-A? Triple-A? | Age 25

2015 stats (Low-A Vermont): 381 PAs, 79 wRC+, 2 HR, 10.2% BB, 14.2% Ks


Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 40 | Run: 20 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

Maxwell led NCAA Division III with 15 homers and a .918 slugging percentage in 2012, when the Athletics made him the highest-drafted D-III player in nearly a decade by taking him 62nd overall. Maxwell hasn't been able to match that level of production in the Minor Leagues.

While Maxwell hasn't been able to tap into his raw power, his sound approach at the plate hasn't wavered. Maxwell works counts, and he focuses on driving the ball from gap to gap. He has made significant strides defensively in the Minor Leagues. His large size limits his agility, but he's improved his receiving to go with his strong arm.

Maxwell had a tough introduction to Double-A in 2014 and will need to show the improvements he's made as a professional will continue to play as he advances to the upper levels of the Minor Leagues.

★ ★ ★

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.

★ ★ ★

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.

★ ★ ★

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.

★ ★ ★

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!