The 2016 MLB Draft takes place tomorrow. Based on recent history, plus their own direct comments on the matter, the Oakland A's (like most if not all teams) are likely to take whoever is the best player available when it's their turn to pick. That's the smart way to go in a sport where your draftees are unlikely to contribute to the big league club for at least two or three years after going pro.
Nevertheless, once the A's make their picks, those new additions will eventually be woven into their larger minor league system. That makes now a good time to take a look at the overall landscape, from the top of the MLB squad down through the lowest minor league affiliates.
Below you will find the full organizational depth chart. Of course I haven't listed every single player in the system because that would be both long and full of distractions. Rather, this is a rundown of every prospect whom I've deemed relevant, whether because he was on our preseason CPL Top 30, or he made it on a similar list from another major website, or simply because he's currently having a good year in 2016.
There are instructions to reading this chart. You can probably figure most of this out, but if you scroll down to the bottom you can get the full rundown of all the details. (Click here for full-sized image.)
At the top you have the current 25-man roster. Some players are on the DL (marked with a ^, or ^^ if out for the season); if the DL'ed players are listed above the break line (the one where the defensive positions are listed), that means they already played at the big league level this year and are expected to be back at some point. If they are listed below the break line, that either means that they haven't yet played in MLB this year, or their injury has them out for the season (or both). Liam Hendriks has been replaced by a three-man tandem of taxi relievers, so even though Daniel Coulombe is currently the one on the active roster, I've just left an open "+1" to denote the revolving door.
The bulk of this chart occurs below the break line. The Triple-A team is split up into two sections -- the upper section is made up of MLB Depth guys who have played for the A's this season, even if they're not serious long-term prospects, and the lower section is made up of Triple-A guys who haven't yet made the jump to the bigs. Asterisks denote players who are listed below the break line but are on the 40-man roster.
At the bottom, there are two recent high school draftees (Chalmers and Kelliher) who are notable even though they aren't currently playing on a full-season affiliate. There are also four minor leaguers listed as injured -- other players might be literally be on the DL, but to be relegated to the injured section they must be out long-term. For example, Bolt has missed a week here or there with a tweaked hamstring, but Covey hasn't pitched in a month due to an oblique. The arbitrary cutoff lies somewhere in between there.
Finally, some of the prospects are displayed in bold. These are the meant to be the key minor leaguers, the real cream of the crop. They include the guys who made the Top 10 in our CPL (minus Manaea, who is in the majors already), plus five more guys I have deemed to be "stepping up" this season with their excellent play: Mengden, Healy, Gossett, Fillmyer, and Manarino. (Not a controversial list -- the first three have been so dominant that they've already been promoted, and the latter two are among the best few starters in their respective leagues.) Since I've reached deep into the barrel to list as many names as are reasonable, noting these standouts in bold is meant to highlight specifically where the system is strong.
As you can see, the system is strong in two areas: starting pitching, and upper-minors infielders. You can never really have enough pitching, but at least there is an excellent starter at each level right now. If you're looking for places where the system could use the most help then look toward catching and the outfield. The crowded upper minors are also a reason why I wouldn't be opposed to going heavy on high-ceiling high school prospects in this draft, if that happens to be where the good amateur prospects are this summer. There's just not that much going on below Double-A right now.
Hope you enjoy the depth chart, and as always if you notice any errors then please let me know in the comments.