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Oakland A’s 2018 Community Prospect List #28: Parker Dunshee dazzles in pro debut

The 7th-round pick posted a 0.00 ERA in Low-A Vermont.

Photo provided by Vermont Lake Monsters

Our Community Prospect List adds yet another 2017 draft pick, its sixth so far. 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%)
  11. Sheldon Neuse, 3B (+68%)
  12. Greg Deichmann, OF (+17%)
  13. Logan Shore, RHP (+2%)
  14. Kevin Merrell, SS (+8%)
  15. Renato Nunez, DH (+7%)
  16. Daulton Jefferies, RHP (+9%)
  17. Nick Allen, SS (+24%)
  18. Ramon Laureano, OF (+44%)
  19. Tyler Ramirez, OF (+33%)
  20. Dakota Chalmers, RHP (+2%)
  21. Nolan Blackwood, RHP (+6%)
  22. Dalton Sawyer, LHP (+1%)
  23. Casey Meisner, RHP (+22%)
  24. B.J. Boyd, OF (+15%)
  25. Lou Trivino, RHP (+23%)
  26. Will Toffey, 3B (+6%)
  27. Skye Bolt, OF (+5%)
  28. Parker Dunshee, RHP (+22%)

There are plenty of good reasons to write off 7th-round pick Parker Dunshee’s eye-popping debut. He was old for a draft pick, having played his senior season in college, so he was beating up against younger and less experienced competition at Low-A Vermont. On top of that, the NY-Penn League tends to favor pitchers. His raw stuff isn’t anything special, and he probably won’t continue to hold opponents to a .185 batting average.

Despite all that, though, you have to appreciate the numbers Dunshee put up last summer. He threw 38⅓ innings for the Lake Monsters and finished with a perfect 0.00 ERA, and he backed that up with strong peripherals to show it wasn’t entirely luck — over 10 K/9, over 5 K/BB, a ton of infield popups, and no homers (2.02 FIP). His hit rate was unsustainably low, but at least he excelled in every area that a pitcher can really control.

Of course, the true test will begin next season when Dunshee moves up to higher levels. Can he continue succeeding when he faces more age-appropriate competition, and in the less favorable park factors of High-A Stockton? He brings a straight fastball at only 88-91 mph but complements it with a slider, changeup, and good command, reports Melissa Lockard of Oakland Clubhouse. Lockard notes that adding a fastball with more movement (2-seam or cutter) could be a recipe to help his arsenal, but either way his game plan is based around throwing strikes, mixing pitches, and fooling hitters, rather than blowing them away.

Minor league lotto tickets come in many forms. Some are untested teenagers in Rookie Ball, and others are toolsy athletes struggling to find that one final adjustment. Dunshee is another type, the stats-over-stock overachiever who is often a mirage but occasionally turns out to be real. His debut performance is impossible to ignore, but all it does is get him on the radar. Now he’ll need to show whether it was a building block or a fluke.

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 Santis Sanchez. He was the A’s 5th-round draft pick last summer, out of high school in Puerto Rico. He’s a long-term project, but Oakland liked his tools enough to gamble on him with an over-slot bonus. His biggest strength is his throwing arm behind the plate, marking the second straight year that the A’s drafted a catcher with a 70-grade arm (after Sean Murphy in 2016).

Scouting grades: MLB Pipeline
Scouting reports: John Sickels (unless otherwise noted)
More scouting reports: Melissa Lockard at Oakland Clubhouse
Hitter average rates: 100 wRC+, 8.0% BB, 20.0% Ks

Santis Sanchez, C

Expected level: Low-A | Age 19

2017 stats (RK): 108 PAs, 75 wRC+, 0 HR, 7.4% BB, 28.7% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and MLB Pipeline scouting report:

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

Sanchez’s defense is his calling card. He moves much better than his stocky frame suggests, with plenty of agility and lateral quickness that aids him as a blocker. But it’s his well-above-average arm strength that draws the most raves, and scouts regarded it to be among the best in the class at the position. Offensively, Sanchez offers raw power from the right side of the plate, albeit with an overly aggressive approach that he’ll need to tone down in order to hit for average in the professional ranks.

Viewed as somewhat as a lottery ticket due to his impressive tools but overall rawness, Sanchez has the ingredients to develop into a glove-first catcher at the highest level, though not without first making considerable gains on both sides of the ball.

* * *

Alexander Campos, SS

Expected level: Rookie Ball | Age 18

2017 stats (RK): 254 PAs, 136 wRC+, 2 HR, 16.1% BB, 15.4% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and MLB Pipeline scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 35 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

Evaluators believe Campos has the potential to stick at shortstop. He’s an athletic and instinctual defender with good actions and the necessary arm strength for the position. Campos’ above-average speed translates on both sides of the ball, though he has gains to make as a baserunner. At the plate, the right-handed hitter is short to the ball and has good feel for the barrel, resulting in lots of line drives and some gap power, and he already has shown on-base skills with an advanced approach.

Campos has started to grow into his athletic frame since signing and should continue to tack on good strength. His defense-speed combination at an up-the-middle position gives him a possible floor as a big league reserve, though further progress at the plate could very well thrust him into the conversation as an everyday player.

* * *

Norge Ruiz, RHP

Expected level: High-A | Age 24

2017 stats (A+): 5.71 ERA, 34⅔ ip, 24 Ks, 12 BB, 4 HR, 5.24 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and Lockard scouting report (link):

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

When Ruiz was healthy and throwing well, he featured a low-90s fastball with sink and movement, as well as three quality off-speed pitches (slider, change-up and split-fingered fastball). Ruiz can command all four of his pitches and isn’t afraid to use his off-speed pitches early in counts.

Not surprisingly – given how new he was to baseball in the US – Ruiz went through some ups and downs as he adjusted to the minor leagues. At times he went away from his fastball too early, allowing hitters to sit on his secondary pitches. His mechanics fell out of whack at times, and when he was off with his release point, he lost some of the movement on his fastball, making the pitch very hittable. He was also suspended for two weeks for doctoring the baseball. Ruiz should have a better understanding of the nuances of professional baseball in the US in 2018. ...

The biggest question surrounding Ruiz is his health. The elbow strain hasn’t yet required surgery, but it will be something the A’s monitor closely.

* * *

Brian Howard, RHP

Expected level: High-A | Age 23

2017 stats (A-): 1.15 ERA, 31⅓ ip, 29 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR, 1.68 FIP

Scouting report from Melissa Lockard at Oakland Clubhouse (link):

Although Howard isn’t overpowering, he generates a decent amount of swing-and-miss, striking out nearly a batter an inning with Vermont and striking more than a batter an inning in college. A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota says that Howard’s height and delivery make it difficult for hitters to get a good read on him. ...

Howard has a simple rock-back-and-fire, over-the-top delivery that he is able to repeat. His fastball sits at 87-90, topping out at 91, but the angle at which he releases the ball allows the fastball to get on hitters quickly. Howard has a well-developed four-pitch mix: a four-seam fastball, a cutter that sits 85-87 MPH, a sharp-biting curveball that sits in the 76-79 MPH range, and a developing change-up that he threw with more confidence during his stint with Vermont. ... Many tall pitchers struggle with command, but Howard was able to locate well during his pro debut.

* * *

Richie Martin, SS

Expected level: Double-A? | Age 23

2017 stats (AA): 325 PAs, 77 wRC+, 3 HR, 7.4% BB, 17.5% Ks
2017 stats (A+): 103 PAs, 94 wRC+, 1 HR, 7.8% BB, 20.4% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and MLB Pipeline scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45

Martin’s range is a product of his athleticism and above-average speed, and scouts rave about his first-step quickness as well as his overall instincts. His arm is a clean fit at shortstop and enables him to make highlight-reel plays, but he’s also capable of getting rid of the ball quickly while on the move, without sacrificing any accuracy.

Martin has good bat-to-ball skills but also a tendency to get tied up and roll the ball over to the left side, and in general he makes too much weak, ground-ball contact. His simple low-effort swing limits his power though he does have some pop to the gaps. Having offered little in the way of offense since beginning his career, Martin will need his defense to carry him to the big leagues.

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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!