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Oakland A's 2017 Community Prospect List #2: Franklin Barreto is the top prospect

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Just imagine how good he’ll be when they let him take the donut off his bat.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our 2017 Community Prospect List officially has its first member, as infielder Franklin Barreto earned the top spot in a landslide. The virtual consensus is a departure from last year’s tight vote for No. 1, when Barreto fell short against pitcher Sean Manaea in a razor-thin decision. Here’s the current (somewhat lonely) list, including his winning margin (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

  1. Franklin Barreto, SS (+67%)

In addition to leading off our CPL, Barreto will also rank high on national Top 100 lists when they’re released in the coming weeks. He was Top 50 last winter, and for the second straight season he caught fire in the second half — this time it earned him a bump up to Triple-A Nashville, where he kept right on raking for nine more games (including playoffs). He was added to the A’s 40-man roster in November.

Barreto will surely start the year in Nashville, and if history is any guide then we should brace ourselves for the possibility of a slow start. At High-A in 2015, he went from a 99 WRC+ in the first half to a 169 in the second half; in 2016, at Double-A, the wRC+ splits were 93 and 153 (or 165 if you include his stint in Triple-A). If he scuffles through April again, then let’s not panic. He’s shown the ability to adjust to tougher competition throughout a season, going from pedestrian to dominant, generally against players a couple years older than he is.

While it’s possible we could see Barreto debut in Oakland later this season, it’s just as likely that he spends the whole time developing in Triple-A at age 21. He didn’t do much in the Arizona Fall League (72 wRC+), and the A’s have a couple other infielder prospects to try out in the meantime. But he makes a ton of contact, he hits it hard, he plays an up-the-middle position, and he’s the same age as the guys who will get drafted out of college this summer. The future looks bright for Barreto, and it’s coming soon.

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. 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 players to be put onto the ballot for the next round. Similar to the ballot, I will start with a comment calling for nominations, which can then be made as a response to my comment. The format for your comment should be "Nomination: Player Name".
  • 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.
  • 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 Grant Holmes. The right-hander was considered the headliner of last summer’s Reddick/Hill trade with the Dodgers, and now all three players (him, Cotton, Montas) are already on the ballot and should easily make the Top 10. Holmes was a first-round pick out of high school, and he made all national Top 100 lists last winter (hi of 40, low of 72) (yes I know that’s opposite of how we say it for weather). He spent last season in High-A at age 20, with mixed results capped by a poor showing after arriving in Stockton.

XBH = Extra-Base Hits
Hitter average rates: 100 wRC+, 8.0% BB, 20.0% Ks

Grant Holmes, RHP

Expected level: Double-A? | Age 21

2016 stats (A+): 26 games, 4.63 ERA, 134 ip, 124 Ks, 53 BB, 10 HR, 4.09 FIP

From John Sickels:

Reports still have fastball in mid-90s with plus curve, but change-up has lagged and he hasn’t been as dominant as you’d expect from the stuff reports; command within the strike zone remains inconsistent, traced to mechanical problems which come and go; still young enough to live up to the early hype. ETA 2019.

* * *

A.J. Puk, LHP

Expected level: High-A? | Age 22

2016 stats (A-): 10 starts, 3.03 ERA, 32⅔ ip, 40 Ks, 12 BB, 0 HR, 1.93 FIP

From John Sickels:

6-7 southpaw with mid-upper-90s fastball and plus slider, solid-average change-up; stuff and command sagged at times in the spring when he was dealing with a back injury but when healthy he’s overpowering and usually throws strikes; upside of a number two starter and could advance quickly. ETA late 2018.

* * *

Matt Chapman, 3B

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 24

2016 stats (AA): 504 PAs, 141 wRC+, 29 HR, 11.7% BB, 29.2% Ks
2016 stats (AAA): 85 PAs, 101 wRC+, 7 HR, 10.6% BB, 30.6% Ks

From John Sickels:

Headlines start with excellent third base defense, with cannon arm, above-average reliability and superb range; Gold Glove if he hits enough to play regularly; 60-grade power bat is obvious and he’ll take a walk, but contact problems are equally obvious; may struggle to hit .230 in majors without more adjustments; ETA late 2017.

* * *

Jharel Cotton, RHP

Expected level: MLB? | Age 25

2016 stats (AAA): 28 games, 4.31 ERA, 135⅔ ip, 155 Ks, 39 BB, 20 HR, 4.22 FIP
2016 stats (MLB): 5 starts, 2.15 ERA, 29⅓ ip, 23 Ks, 4 BB, 4 HR, 3.76 FIP

From John Sickels:

Excellent change-up, can mix in decent cutter and curve; leap forward came when velocity picked up from 89-92 in college to 92-95 over the last year; control was excellent in the majors, too; ready for a full trial; was viewed mainly as a reliever in past seasons but did so well as a starter in ’16 that it looks like he can remain in that role, at least as a number three/four type. ETA 2017.

* * *

Frankie Montas, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 24

2016 stats (AA + AAA): 7 games, 16 ip, 22 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR
2016 stats (AFL): 6 games, 17 ip, 9 Ks, 8 BB, 0 HR

From John Sickels:

Limited to just 16 innings by rib injury but was excellent in those innings ... fastball 95-100 MPH with peaks at 101-102; average to plus slider; threw strikes with the hard stuff in ’16 but change-up remains erratic; most observers view him as a reliever at this point, albeit a really good one. ETA 2017.

* * *

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!