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Oakland A's 2017 Community Prospect List #6: Frankie Montas is so hot right now

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Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s acquired an impressive haul of prospects last summer in exchange for their impending free agents, and two of them have already cracked the Top 5 of our Community Prospect List. The latest addition is flamethrower Frankie Montas, in our first somewhat close election so far. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between their % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

  1. Franklin Barreto, SS (+67%)
  2. Matt Chapman, 3B (+26%)
  3. A.J. Puk, LHP (+38%)
  4. Jharel Cotton, RHP (+60%)
  5. Frankie Montas, RHP (+12%)

There are three things you need to know about Montas, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the July blockbuster for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill.

First, there’s his fastball, which is arguably the single best raw tool owned by any player in the A’s whole system. It’s 70-grade at least on the 20-to-80 scale, easily capable of hitting triple-digits on the radar gun. At the Arizona Fall League a couple months ago, he topped out at 102 mph, en route to an impressive performance.

Second, there’s his health. He missed most of the 2016 season due to a rib injury. On the bright side, it wasn’t an arm injury, and he did return for that aforementioned stint in the AFL, all systems go.

Finally, there’s his role. Will he be a starter or a reliever long-term? If he can bring his heat reliably to a rotation then he could be devastating, but even moving to the bullpen wouldn’t be the end of the world because he has the stuff to potentially be a lockdown closer. For now, the A’s are planning to let him start and see what happens.

Here is the process (please read, there are minor changes):

  • 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 Max Schrock. The second baseman was acquired from the Nats in a deadline deal for reliever Marc Rzepczynski, and he’s easy to fall in love with. He’s a little guy (5’8) from the 13th round of the draft, but he never strikes out and he’s gotten a lot of attention from FanGraphs as a sleeper prospect — he appeared (along with Jharel Cotton) on last season’s Fringe 5 prospect list.

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

Max Schrock, 2B

Expected level: AA | Age 22

2016 stats (A+): 552 PAs, 134 wRC+, 9 HR, 5.6% BB, 7.6% Ks
2016 stats (AA + playoffs): 17-for-57, 4 XBH, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 90 wRC+
2016 stats (AFL): 15-for-54, 6 XBH, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 95 wRC+

From John Sickels:

Best tool is speed, lacks big natural power but know how to hit with good eye, clean swing and contact ability with gap pop; limited to second base by range and arm but he’s fairly reliable; could be ideal number two hitter eventually. ETA 2018.

* * *

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.

* * *

Matt Olson, 1B

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 23

2016 stats (AAA): 540 PAs, 102 wRC+, 17 HR, 13.1% BB, 24.4% Ks
2016 stats (MLB): 2-for-21, 7 BB, 4 Ks, .321 OBP, 54 wRC+

From John Sickels:

Stock down somewhat after he got off to a slow start in ’16 but he was hotter down the stretch and slugged .475 with .356 OBP in second half of season; still young; power/patience hitter, struggles against lefties but can handle right-handers; at this point projects as productive platoon bat rather than a star but that still has value. ETA 2018.

* * *

Daniel Gossett, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 24

2016 stats (A+): 9 starts, 3.33 ERA, 46 ip, 53 Ks, 13 BB, 4 HR, 3.45 FIP
2016 stats (AA): 16 starts, 2.49 ERA, 94 ip, 94 Ks, 25 BB, 4 HR, 2.57 FIP
2016 stats (AAA): 2 starts, 1.98 ERA, 13⅔ ip, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HR, 3.80 FIP

From John Sickels:

Fastball in 90-94 range, with some reports as high as 95-96, with solid-average curveball and change-up; whole greater than the sum of the parts; Holmes draws more praise for his stuff but Gossett is a lot more polished, granted Gossett is also four years older; ready for a trial soon with workhorse potential. ETA 2017.

* * *

Bruce Maxwell, C

Expected level: MLB | Age 26

2016 stats (AAA): 219 PAs, 148 wRC+, 10 HR, 11.0% BB, 17.8% Ks
2016 stats (MLB): 101 PAs, 103 wRC+, 1 HR, 7.9% BB, 23.8% Ks

From John Sickels:

Older prospect, but glove will keep him employed at least as a reserve; he hits left-handed which makes platoon use easier; while skepticism is understandable, he did mash in college and it is plausible that all the concentration on improving his defense kept his bat stagnant for a while; put another way, the .283/.337/.402 line may not be a fluke at all. 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!