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Oakland A’s 2018 Community Prospect List: Who is the top prospect in the organization?

Athletics Nation votes on the team’s top prospect.

It will not be anyone in this photo.
Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Who is the top minor league prospect in the Oakland A’s organization? There are several candidates to choose from, and we’re here to find out once and for all. Let’s get started on the 2018 Community Prospect List!

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, the community 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 his 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.

* * *

We have five nominees in contention for the prestigious top slot in our spreadsheet. They include two holdovers from the Top 3 of last year’s list, two July trade acquisitions, and one more up-and-comer who made big strides in 2017. Here’s a quick rundown on each one — the scouting grades (on a 20-to-80 scale) come from MLB Pipeline (last updated mid-2017), while the writeups on each player come from John Sickels of Minor League Ball. Ages listed are the ages at which they will play in 2018.

Hitter average rates: 100 wRC+, 8.0% BB, 20.0% Ks

A.J. Puk, LHP

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A+): 3.69 ERA, 61 ip, 98 Ks, 23 BB, 1 HR, 2.24 FIP
2017 stats (AA): 4.36 ERA, 64 ip, 86 Ks, 25 BB, 2 HR, 2.35 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55

The ERA was misleadingly high, more important is the excellent K/BB, K/IP, H/IP profile, just three homers allowed; fastball up to 97-98, plus breaking ball, change-up improving; while command still wobbles at times he has everything needed to be a number two starter. ETA late 2018.

* * *

Franklin Barreto, SS

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 22

2017 stats (AAA): 510 PAs, 103 wRC+, 15 HR, 5.3% BB, 27.6% Ks
2017 stats (MLB): 76 PAs, 58 wRC+, 2 HR, 6.6% BB, 43.4% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 45 | Overall: 55

Positives include power/speed combo, youth, track record of success at each level; questions include aggressive approach and long-term defensive position; ultimately I think he fits best at second base; although normally I am skeptical about players with contact/patience issues I am more optimistic in his case and will cut him some slack. ETA 2018.

* * *

Jorge Mateo, SS

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A+ NYY): 297 PAs, 98 wRC+, 28 SB, 5.4% BB, 26.6% Ks
2017 stats (AA NYY): 140 PAs, 147 wRC+, 11 SB, 10.7% BB, 22.9% Ks
2017 stats (AA OAK): 147 PAs, 133 wRC+, 13 SB, 6.1% BB, 22.4% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 80 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

Exciting power/speed combination; approach is aggressive and we’ll have to see how his batting average and OBP hold up but he has multiple ways to hurt the opponent; versatile with the glove, good-enough at shortstop, has played well during trials at second base and center field; needs some time in Triple-A but a very intriguing player. ETA late 2018.

* * *

Jesus Luzardo, LHP

Expected level: Low-A | Age 20

2017 note: Returned from Tommy John surgery prior to July acquisition
2017 stats (A-): 2.00 ERA, 18 ip, 20 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2.93 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curve: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

Can hit mid-90s, throws strikes, both curveball and change-up draw positive reviews; main issue now is building up stamina and proving health; possible comp: Gio Gonzalez. ETA 2020.

* * *

Sean Murphy, C

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A+): 178 PAs, 130 wRC+, 9 HR, 6.2% BB, 18.5% Ks
2017 stats (AA): 217 PAs, 69 wRC+, 4 HR, 9.7% BB, 15.7% Ks
2017 stats (AFL): 83 PAs, .310/.410/.366, 4 doubles, 10 BB, 9 Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

Excellent throwing arm and a reliable defensive catcher, will get to majors on his defense alone but future will depend on the bat; flashes above-average power and will draw walks but uncertain what his batting average will look like against the best pitching, has never hit particularly well with wood; some caution with the hitting is advisable but overall I like him. ETA 2019.

* * *

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!

I’m planning to let this crucial first vote go through the weekend, but if one player is obviously running away with it then I might call it early. We only have six weeks until spring training games start (Feb. 23), which means 42 days for 26 ballots. There’s no time to waste!