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Oakland A’s 2018 Community Prospect List #10: Grant Holmes steadily working way up system

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We’ve finished our Top 10, but we’re going all the way to 30.

Isn’t he on that show Workaholics?
Photo provided by Oakland A’s

We’ve now wrapped up the Top 10 of our Community Prospect List, meaning we’re one-third of the way through. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

  1. A.J. Puk, LHP (+62%)
  2. Franklin Barreto, SS (+56%)
  3. Jorge Mateo, SS (+22%)
  4. Dustin Fowler, OF (+24%)
  5. Sean Murphy, C (+0%)
  6. Jesus Luzardo, LHP (+37%)
  7. Austin Beck, OF (+14%)
  8. James Kaprielian, RHP (+2%)
  9. Lazaro Armenteros, OF (+41%)
  10. Grant Holmes, RHP (+18%)

The Top 10 cutoff for a prospect list is somewhat arbitrary, especially in the Oakland A’s system where the more meaningful break comes around 11 or 12. But 10 is a round, traditional number, so let’s take a look at what we’ve come up with so far.

Of the first 10 on the list, six of them were acquired via trade, in four separate deals: Sonny (3 guys), Donaldson, Doo/Madson, and Hill/Reddick. Three more came from the 2016 and ‘17 drafts, including a pair of No. 6 overall picks but also a 3rd-rounder. And the last name was an expensive international signing. That’s a diverse portfolio of top prospect acquisition.

There are four pitchers, and the two better ones are lefties, something the A’s desperately need as soon as possible. On the position side there are two shortstops (both maybe 2B/CF?), a catcher, and three outfielders (at least two of which hope to play CF). Oddly, only one of the batters hits lefty. The position players lean more toward speed and athleticism than power, though none are completely devoid of pop and 2-3 of them could have a lot.

Two of the names (Fowler, Barreto) could be in Oakland more or less immediately in 2018, two could realistically make it this summer (Puk, Holmes), and yet two more will be in the upper minors and getting close (Mateo, Murphy). Three are lower-minors projects (Luzardo, Beck, Armenteros), with one more wild card still coming back from TJS and yet to determine a level (Kaprielian).

The one place our list stands out most compared with other Top 10s is that we put Sean Murphy higher than anyone else. As a consequence, we also have Jesus Luzardo slightly lower than anyone so far, but only by one spot (and he essentially tied with Murphy in the voting anyway).

And that brings us to our new member, Grant Holmes, a product of the 2016 trade deadline. The right-hander spent all of last season at Double-A Midland, striking out a batter per inning and winning a championship ring — all at the age of 21, making him one of the youngest players in the league. It wasn’t all perfect, as he still managed to post an unimpressive ERA in a pitcher’s park thanks to factors like a high walk rate and a propensity for periodic disaster games.

Holmes still has work to do on his arsenal to get it MLB-ready, but the progress is there. After being drafted out of high school by the Dodgers, he’s consistently moved up to a new level every year and is yet to be totally overwhelmed at any stop. Now he’s ready to test himself at Triple-A, and in a best-case scenario he could even debut in Oakland later in 2018 (reports Melissa Lockard, The Athletic).

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.

* * *

The new nominee is Nick Allen. The A’s drafted him in the 3rd round last summer, but he only fell that low because he was a high schooler without a guarantee that he would sign. In terms of talent the glove-first shortstop could have gone in the 1st round, and indeed Oakland gave him a bonus commensurate with a late-1st or Comp A pick — at $2 million, they only gave Austin Beck more out of their whole 2017 class.

Scouting grades: MLB Pipeline
Scouting reports: John Sickels
Hitter average rates: 100 wRC+, 8.0% BB, 20.0% Ks

Nick Allen, SS

Expected level: Low-A | Age 19

2017 stats (A-): 154 PAs, 84 wRC+, 1 HR, 7 SB, 8.4% BB, 18.2% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 50

Draws praise for defensive ability, running speed, overall hustle and intensity; makes contact and packs some strength into a 5-9, 160 pound frame, but game power is questionable and we need to see how his bat will hold up at higher levels; grade may be a notch too low but I want to see him higher than rookie ball. ETA 2022.

* * *

Sheldon Neuse, 3B

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A+/AA): 169 PAs, 176 wRC+, 7 HR, 8.9% BB, 27.2% Ks, .510 BABIP
2017 stats (AFL): 99 PAs, .315/.364/.554, 5 HR, 7.1% BB, 18.2% Ks, .338 BABIP

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

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

I tend to fall in love with this type of player; tools don’t stand out, best physical tool is his throwing arm, raw power is average but he knows how to get to it and has hit at every level; not a butcher at shortstop though range is limited, fits better at third base in long run. ETA late 2018.

* * *

Greg Deichmann, OF

Expected level: High-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A-): 195 PAs, 171 wRC+, 8 HR, 14.4% BB, 20.5% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

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

Lefty hitter with 55 or 60 power; hit quite well in pro debut and will probably mash in full-season A-ball with Double-A being the first real test; some question about how batting average and OBP will hold up; right field defensive profile with decent arm but mediocre range. ETA late 2020.

* * *

Logan Shore, RHP

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A+): 4.09 ERA, 72⅔ ip, 74 Ks, 16 BB, 5 HR, 3.43 FIP
2017 stats (AFL): 6.00 ERA, 24 ip, 18 Ks, 2 BB, 5 HR

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

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

Missed a month with a lat strain; fastball around 90 and a bit higher can play up due to contrast with excellent change-up; slider needs more consistency as it varies between mediocre and plus, probably more of a number four starter than an ace unless his velocity picks up further, or unless the breaking ball becomes more consistent, which could happen. ETA 2019.

* * *

Kevin Merrell, SS

Expected level: High-A | Age 22

2017 stats (A-): 140 PAs, 135 wRC+, 2 HR, 10 SB, 6.4% BB, 15.7% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and Sickels scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 70 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

70-grade speed and he knows how to use it, should be significant stolen base threat at all levels; line drive hitter with doubles/triples power; arm strength is questioned at shortstop, could end up as speed-oriented super-utility guy in the long run. ETA 2020.

* * *

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!