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Oakland A’s 2019 Community Prospect List #15: Greg Deichmann has the power to bounce back

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The slugging outfielder was slowed by a wrist injury last season.

Photo credit: Meghan Camino | Stockton Ports

Our 2019 Community Prospect List adds another injury bounce-back, but this time it’s not a pitcher. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

  1. Jesus Luzardo, LHP (+78%)
  2. A.J. Puk, LHP (+7%)
  3. Sean Murphy, C (+80%)
  4. Lazaro Armenteros, OF (+1%)
  5. Austin Beck, OF (+59%)
  6. Jorge Mateo, SS (+6%)
  7. Jameson Hannah, OF (+4%)
  8. James Kaprielian, RHP (+13%)
  9. Sheldon Neuse, 3B (+12%)
  10. Parker Dunshee, RHP (+21%)
  11. Grant Holmes, RHP (+7%)
  12. Jeremy Eierman, SS (+31%)
  13. Luis Barrera, OF (+15%)
  14. Brian Howard, RHP (+1%)
  15. Greg Deichmann, OF (+17%)

We’ve finished the first half of our CPL Top 30, and we’ve already spent a few spots talking about injured pitchers. That was a prevailing theme for the Oakland A’s in 2018, from the MLB rotation down through every level of the minors, as they lost more than their fair share of arms to various surgeries and other maladies. The position players enjoyed much better health, but a couple of top names still missed significant time.

One of those names was outfielder Greg Deichmann. He was drafted in the 2nd round in 2017, at No. 43 overall, with power as his calling card. He showed off that thump in his pro debut that year, leading Low-A Vermont in homers and ranking among the leaders of the entire short-season NY-Penn League. Between the draft pedigree and the strong early results, he was squarely on the radar entering last year.

His 2018 never really got off the ground, though, as just two weeks into the season he injured his wrist. That’s a body part that can particularly impact a power hitter, and it lingered through the entire campaign — according to Baseball America, “an early-season strain gave way to a fractured hamate that wasn’t resolved until September surgery.” He was limited to just 47 games for High-A Stockton, and even when he did play he never truly found any kind of groove.

And so the question is the same as it was with the pitchers: Do you have faith in the tools, or do the injury and ensuing lost season scare you off? Matt Eddy of Baseball America suggests that a few scouts would rate Deichmann’s power as high as 70-grade, though even the 60-grade from FanGraphs is impressive. Despite his struggles he still managed an isolated slugging mark of nearly .200 in High-A last summer, so it’s easy to wonder what kind of damage he might be able to do in a healthy 2019.

There are already several prospects on this CPL who are looking for bounce-backs this year, and we can add Deichmann to that pile. In addition to his power he’s shown the ability to take a walk, and a plus throwing arm that allows him to profile in RF, so if the power returns to form and he pushes his way to the upper minors then he could start getting interesting really 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, 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 (or leaves for the NFL), 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 Jonah Heim. The catcher was acquired last winter for Joey Wendle, and he responded with a mini-breakout in High-A Stockton. He’s billed as a plus defender behind the plate, and after starting his career as a long-term project drafted out of high school, his bat has now registered as above-average in his extended stays in Single-A (in 2017) and High-A (last summer). His numbers tanked after a late callup to Double-A, but remember, the same thing happened to Sean Murphy in 2017 — the jump to the upper minors is tough so beware the small early sample size.

Hitter rates (poor/avg/great): wRC+ (75/100/135), BB% (5.0%/8.5%/12.0%), K% (30%/22%/14%)

Jonah Heim, C

Expected level: AA | Age 24

2018, A+: 348 PAs, 113 wRC+, 7 HR, 8.3% BB, 17.2% Ks
2018, AA: 154 PAs, 29 wRC+, 1 HR, 6.5% BB, 14.3% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Coming soon!

Scouting report coming on Friday, when MLB Pipeline releases their updated A’s Top 30 list. In the meantime, here is a collection of reports from pre-2018 that rave about every aspect of his defense as well as his makeup. Other facts of note: He’s tall for a catcher (6’4), and he’s a switch-hitter.

* * *

Daulton Jefferies, RHP

Expected level: ??? | Age 23

2018 stats: Only threw two rehab innings (and nine since 2017) due to Tommy John surgery

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

When he’s healthy, Jefferies will add and subtract from his heater, sitting comfortably in the low 90s but also reaching back for 95 mph, with feel for locating to both sides of the plate as well as down in the zone. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, a mid-80s offering thrown with fastball-like arm speed and late fading action, and he has the makings of a slider that should be at least Major League-average. A consistent, over-the-top release point allows him to create extension and angle toward the plate, and everything he throws plays up due to his advanced control and command. In general, Jefferies should miss even more bats with improvement to both his changeup and slider.

Jefferies is a good athlete with clean arm action and a repeatable delivery. But as an undersized righty with a checkered medical history, he’ll need to prove he can handle the rigors of a full season on the mound. If he can do so, Jefferies’ stuff, pitchability and deception could make him a No. 4 starter at the highest level. He’s expected to return to game action sometime around the middle of the 2018 season.

* * *

Skye Bolt, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25

2018, AA (11 gms): 50 PAs, 17 wRC+, 0 HR, 0 SB, 8.0% BB, 34.0% Ks
2018, A+ (46 gms): 209 PAs, 141 wRC+, 9 HR, 9 SB, 14.8% BB, 22.5% Ks
2018, AA (64 gms): 265 PAs, 125 wRC+, 10 HR, 10 SB, 8.7% BB, 22.5% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

A switch-hitter, Bolt is considerably better from the left side of the plate, where he exhibits more impactful swing and hit 17 of his career-high 19 homers in 2018. Some evaluators believe he’d be better off batting solely from that side. He has some raw power from both sides and is a relatively disciplined hitter, but his pitch recognition leaves much to be desired and hinders the quality of his contact.

One of the better college athletes in his Draft class, Bolt has spent the majority of his pro career center field, where he gets excellent jumps and is an overall rangy defender. That ability to play up the middle as well as Bolt’s above-average arm strength give him inherent value as a future fourth outfielder, especially if he can learn to make more contact.

* * *

Nick Allen

Expected level: A/A+ | Age 20

2018, A: 512 PAs, 73 wRC+, 0 HR, 24 SB, 6.6% BB, 16.6% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 45

There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He’s already a plus defender there as a teenager, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays, and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond. On the other side of the ball, the jury is still out regarding Allen’s upside with the bat. While he shows good feel to hit and bat-to-ball skills, Allen desperately needs to add strength to his undersized frame in order to consistently impact the baseball. He’s a plus runner with outstanding instincts, knows how to play small ball and is aggressive on the basepaths.

Allen endears himself to scouts even more with his outstanding makeup and baseball IQ. His supporters see a Jose Altuve-type profile, albeit one with at least two full grades less power who relies more on his glove than bat to impact games.

* * *

Tyler Ramirez, OF

Expected level: AAA | Age 24

2018, AA: 594 PAs, 121 wRC+, 10 HR, 10.4% BB, 24.9% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Ramirez’s feel to hit and plate discipline have translated well in the professional ranks. He’s adept at driving the ball to all fields from the left side of the plate and shows more power in the gaps than true over-the-fence pop despite totaling 11 homers in his full-season debut. A feel for controlling the strike zone leads to plenty of walks and fuels Ramirez’s strong on-base skills, but he also leaves a lot of outcomes on the table with his penchant for striking out. On the other side of the ball, Ramirez is an average runner but an above-average defender at all three outfield spots -- a distinction that earned him a Minor League Gold Glove Award in 2017.

That Ramirez handles both right- and left-handed pitching gives him a chance to be more than a platoon player or fourth outfielder, and he could enhance his profile even more by adding more power while reducing his strikeouts.

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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!