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Oakland A’s prospect watch: Depth chart midseason update

Daniel Gossett has the 3rd-most innings in the A’s current rotation.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have officially started their 2017 youth movement, with several prospects moving up to MLB to make their debuts. That means a lot of shakeups throughout the system, and on top of that the Low-A Vermont Lake Monsters have opened their short season with the help of the new draft class.

A lot has changed over the last month, so let’s jump right back in with a full update. Here is the new depth chart, from MLB all the way down to Low-A plus a handful of key Rookie League players. Check the notes underneath the chart for clarifications on how to read the chart.

Above the MLB cutline is the current 25-man roster, and directly below you will find the following sections in this order: MLB disabled list, Triple-A disabled list, Triple-A players who have debuted in MLB, and finally the rest of the current Triple-A roster. Then the full rosters of Double-A on down to Low-A Vermont, followed by some key names from the Arizona Rookie League, and a few stray names that aren’t currently assigned. Certain players are denoted as either top prospects (in bold), on the 40-man roster (*), or on the DL (^ for short-term, or ^^ for long-term).

Let’s take a quick look at each minor league roster. (Stats don’t include Sunday’s games.)

Triple-A Nashville

Key additions: Frankie Montas joins the rotation after moving down from MLB. ... Yairo Munoz’s hot bat earned him a callup from Double-A, and he’s been playing mostly 3B and CF in Nashville. ... Much of the Double-A bullpen has been promoted, including Sanchez, Trivino, Finnegan, and Bracewell (who is currently starting).

Key departures: This isn’t news, but several top prospects have moved up to Oakland, including Gossett, Blackburn, Maxwell, Chapman, Brugman, Pinder, and Wahl. ... Also, veteran filler outfielders Chris Parmelee, Andrew Lambo, and Ryan LaMarre are officially gone, with catcher Ryan Lavarnway awaiting his DFA fate after serving emergency MLB duty.

Red-hot: Renato Nunez is figuring out Triple-A in his second try. He leads the entire Pacific Coast League in homers (24), and has already eclipsed his total from last year (23) in 200 fewer plate appearances. Even better, he’s not exactly “red-hot,” but rather has consistently mashed all year long while slightly improving every month. On defense, he’s splitting time between LF and 3B.

Ice-cold: Corey Walter has an ugly 6.75 ERA through nine starts, but that’s mostly due to back-to-back disaster outings his last two times out (19 earned runs combined in 5⅓ innings). Before those duds, he was doing fairly well.

Other notes: The A’s have already officially graduated four prospects (Maxwell, Pinder, Cotton on playing time; Montas on service time), with three more imminent (Brugman, Gossett, Chapman) and a few more who could easily make the cut by the end of the season (Blackburn, Olson, Barreto). So, the Sounds roster (and our CPL) is being drained and it will only continue to get weaker, but for the best possible reason. ... In injury news, Jane Lee reports: “Daniel Mengden has been out of action with Nashville all month because of a rib stress reaction. He's on the mend, though, throwing in AZ.” ... Raul Alcantara is out with biceps tendinitis (via Melissa Lockard).

Double-A Midland

Key additions: With the rotation taxed by promotions and injuries, Midland has added A.J. Puk and Casey Meisner from our CPL Top 30, and Dustin Hurlbutt from the list of best baseball names ever. ... Their lineup has also added a couple of top names from the 2016 draft class, in catcher Sean Murphy (3rd round) and outfielder Tyler Ramirez (7th round).

Key departures: Leaving aside the aforementioned players who moved up to Nashville, pitchers Evan Manarino and Kyle Friedrichs went the other way down to High-A after flaming out of their first extended trials in the upper minors. I like both of them as sleepers, but their smoke-and-mirrors stuff got torched in Double-A with FIP marks over 5.00 and ERAs even higher.

Red-hot: This would have been Munoz’s section (139 wRC+), but he got called up already. Instead let’s recognize Ramirez, who wouldn’t stop getting on base in High-A (133 wRC+) and hasn’t missed a beat in his first week in Double-A (134 wRC+). ... Also, Max Schrock has put up a good few weeks since returning from injury as he displays his on-base and contact skills (134 wRC+, 11 BB, 5 Ks in 66 PAs).

Ice-cold: Puk and Meisner have arrived, but they’ve each struggled in their first couple games (lots of walks for both, plus dingers for Meisner). Puk also pitched in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, but retired only two of the five batters he faced (2 singles, 1 BB). ... Richie Martin has been the opposite of Schrock, going into complete freefall since returning from his own injury three weeks ago (8-for-67, negative-8 wRC+).

Other notes: The RockHounds missed out on the first-half division title and are currently 4-12 to open the second half, so their quest for a fourth straight championship is not looking promising. ... Tyler Marincov suffered a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch and will be out until at least August. ... James Naile and Brett Graves are dealing with non-arm injuries and should return this year. ... Brett Vertigan isn’t listed on the DL, but he hasn’t played since being hit by a pitch on June 25.

High-A Stockton

Key additions: Norge Ruiz has finally arrived! One of Oakland’s top recent international signings, the 23-year-old Cuban has officially got his minor league career going. ... Sandber Pimentel is back from injury and has displaced Chris Iriart at 1B. ... And a few of Beloit’s top names have moved up: pitchers Brendan Butler, Dalton Sawyer, and Brandon Bailey, and 2B Nate Mondou.

Key departures: Outfielder James Harris was released in June, which unfortunately removes one fun sleeper from the system. Also released was pitcher Matt Sergey, whom Oakland had plucked from the independent leagues last year. ... Reliever Will Gilbert (2016, 8th round) was reassigned to extended spring training after getting shelled in High-A.

Red-hot: Good gravy, Brett Siddall. The outfielder (2016, 13th round) was a non-factor until mid-May (57 wRC+), at which point he caught absolute fire. His last 44 games: .329/.386/.596, 166 wRC+, 11 HR, 21.6% Ks. He is suddenly on the prospect radar. ... Sawyer and Mondou in particular have carried their Single-A success into hot starts in High-A. ... Pimentel has chipped in a 132 wRC+ over his first 100 PAs.

Ice-cold: After a strong start to the season, infielder Mikey White has been scuffling since mid-May. So, basically the opposite of Siddall. His last 30 games have yielded a .197 average, .550 OPS, and wRC+ of 48. His plate discipline and his power have both disappeared, and they brought his BABIP along with them. ... Iriart found a way to stop striking out — by going on the DL. So, he quite literally switched spots with Pimentel.

Other notes: Top pitcher Logan Shore has been out since May with a lat injury, but he’s on a rehab assignment in Rookie League so hopefully that means he’ll be back soon. ... RHP Boomer Biegalski also appears to be hurt, after leaving a game on June 29.

Single-A Beloit

Key additions: Zack Erwin is back on the mound, after finishing 2016 on the DL. He’s been strong through eights starts (2.65 ERA, 3.22 FIP). ... Oakland AGM Billy Owens (via Lockard) talks about RHP Miguel Romero: “He is more of a power pitcher [topped at 95] with a good change-up.”

Key departures: Just the guys we discussed in the Stockton section.

Red-hot: Matt Milburn’s last four starts: 1.44 ERA, 25 ip, 32 Ks, 3 BB. ... Reliever Sam Sheehan (2016, 31st round) has allowed runs in only two of his 15 outings, with more than 11 Ks per nine innings. ... No hitters are particularly hot, but infielder Edwin Diaz still leads the team in wRC+ at 128.

Ice-cold: Outfielders Luke Persico and JaVon Shelby are each under the Mendoza Line over the last month or so, with OPS marks in the .500 range during that span.

Other notes: There’s not much left to see here. By this point in the season, the best prospects from this group have already moved up to higher levels. The next interesting thing to happen in Beloit will likely be when some member of the 2017 draft class gets an early callup.

Low-A Vermont

Key additions: The roster includes 15 players from this summer’s draft class. Other than that, the biggest name is probably 19-year-old pitcher Oscar Tovar.

Key departures: Not yet!

Red-hot: They’re just over a week in, but so far the early leaders at the plate have been Kevin Merrell (Comp A round) and Jack Meggs (10th round).

Ice-cold: Too early for there to be anything to worry about.

Other notes: Dakota Chalmers is away due to a “non-baseball related issue,” reports Lockard.

Rookie League, Arizona

Frankly I don’t really care about Rookie League, other than just to take note of who is on the actual roster. There are more players than the ones I listed in the chart above, because I stuck to just some key draft picks and a few other relevant names.

Other notes: Lazaro Armenteros hit his first minor league homer! ... Top draftees Austin Beck and Nick Allen have officially taken the field for a few games. ... Oft-injured hurler Chris Kohler (2013, 3rd round) pitched for the first time since 2015. He’s still just 22 years old.