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Oakland A's 2017 Community Prospect List #15: Spending big on Norge Ruiz

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s have spent heavily on the international market over the last year, and the first of those big signings has reached our Community Prospect List — Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz. 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%)
  6. Grant Holmes, RHP (+27%)
  7. Matt Olson, 1B/OF (+10%)
  8. Bruce Maxwell, C (+9%)
  9. Daniel Gossett, RHP (+53%)
  10. Max Schrock, 2B (+9%)
  11. Richie Martin, SS (+34%)
  12. Daulton Jefferies, RHP (+4%)
  13. Renato Nunez, 3B/LF (+14%)
  14. Norge Ruiz, RHP (+16%)

Like with our 2016 draft picks, we won’t know much about Ruiz until he takes the field this season. The A’s invested several million to bring him into the organization, so they must think highly of him, and the prospect community also likes him. Here’s a closer look, but the short version is that he’s a pitch-to-contact groundball guy who is currently a starter but might ultimately wind up in the bullpen.

But showing is better than telling, so here’s some footage of Ruiz throwing breaking balls (from Baseball America, h/t CT29 for pointing it out in the comments):

It’s unknown at what level of the minors Ruiz will start this year, but High-A or Double-A seem like good bets, with the chance to move up quickly.

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.

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The new nominee is Jaycob Brugman. He is my favorite and you should love him too. He’s a jack-of-all-trades lefty outfielder who does a little bit of everything, and he’s quietly worked his way up the system after being a 17th-round draft pick. He’s on the 40-man roster, and considering there’s a good chance that a minor league free agent (De Aza) might get at-bats, I wouldn’t bet against an MLB debut in 2017 for Bruggy.

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

Jaycob Brugman, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25

2016 stats (AA): 176 PAs, .261/.335/.439, 123 wRC+, 5 HR, 9.1% BB, 18.8% Ks
2016 stats (AAA): 433 PAs, .295/.352/.438, 109 wRC+, 7 HR, 8.3% BB, 20.3% Ks

From John Sickels:

Interesting to watch in person, no weak tools, everything is at least average including speed, raw power, arm strength; defense is ahead of hitting, can handle all three outfield positions with little trouble; will flash power and patience but performance record is erratic; older prospect but should be tracked for signs of more consistency. ETA late 2017.

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Lazaro Armenteros, OF

Expected level: Rookie Ball? | Age 18

2016 stats: Nope

From John Sickels:

Cuban signed this past summer for $3,000,000; draws praise for power/speed potential but a wide range of opinion about how quickly this will manifest on the field; optimists project him as a 20/20 type with above-average outfield defense; skeptics say his swing needs a lot of work and he is quite raw with both bat and glove; optimists counter with his birthday; you can make a case for the Top Ten on tools and you can make a case for outside the Top 20 due to rawness and lack of data. We’ll compromise at 15. ETA 2021.

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Joey Wendle, 2B

Expected level: MLB? | Age 27

2016 stats (AAA): 526 PAs, .279/.324/.452, 103 wRC+, 12 HR, 4.9% BB, 21.3% Ks
2016 stats (MLB): 104 PAs, .260/.298/.302, 66 wRC+, 1 HR, 5.8% BB, 15.4% Ks

From MLB Pipeline:

Wendle stands out most for his hitting ability. He has a good approach at the plate and uses the whole field to hit, squaring up balls with his compact swing. Wendle has more power than his size suggests and has proved capable of driving the ball over the fence everywhere he's gone.

Wendle is a steady defender at second base, capable of making all the necessary plays. He earns praise for his makeup and blue-collar mentality, traits that have helped him rise through the Minor Leagues.

* * *

Chad Pinder, IF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25

2016 stats (AAA): 465 PAs, .258/.310/.425, 93 wRC+, 14 HR, 5.4% BB, 23.2% Ks
2016 stats (MLB): 55 PAs, .235/.273/.373, 73 wRC+, 1 HR, 5.5% BB, 25.5% Ks

From John Sickels:

Legitimate pop with 14 homers in Triple-A but production often held back by over-aggressive hitting approach, 25/108 BB/K; best defensive tool is throwing arm, range somewhat stretched at shortstop but workable, looks more natural at third base or second base; I think he’s a .250 hitter with a poor OBP but enough pop and versatility to hold a utility job for some time. ETA 2017.

* * *

Dakota Chalmers, RHP

Expected level: Single-A | Age 20

2016 stats (A-): 15 games, 4.70 ERA, 67 ip, 62 Ks, 37 BB, 8 HR, 4.90 FIP

From MLB Pipeline:

Chalmers' has big-time arm strength, with a fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range and reaches 97-98, and his projectable 6-foot-3 frame should lead to even more velocity in the future. Both his curveball and slider are inconsistent but show above-average potential, and he also shows feel for throwing his changeup. Meanwhile, club officials believe Chalmers has the necessary athleticism and aptitude to make strides with his control and command.

With a high-effort delivery that he struggles to repeat, Chalmers had trouble throwing strikes consistently at the outset of his pro career. The A's adjusted the right-hander's mechanics after he signed and saw immediate results that have since carried over into his 2016 campaign.

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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!