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Oakland A’s 2019 Community Prospect List #11: Parker Dunshee has been unhittable up through Double-A

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The mid-round draft sleeper has done nothing but dominate throughout the minors.

Photo credit: Meghan Camino | Stockton Ports

Our 2019 Community Prospect List adds my current favorite sleeper in the system, if he even still qualifies for that label anymore. 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. Kyler Murray, OF (+7%)
  8. Jameson Hannah, OF (+4%)
  9. James Kaprielian, RHP (+13%)
  10. Sheldon Neuse, 3B (+12%)
  11. Parker Dunshee, RHP (+21%)

Every year during the CPL process, the community ends up discussing the fundamentals of prospect valuation. Everyone has their own preferred mix of criteria they use to judge minor leaguers, from the height of their potential ceiling, to the quality of their statistical track record, to their proximity to panning out in MLB, to their various risk factors.

There are a lot of flashy high ceilings in the Top 10 of this CPL including some extremely risky ones, but Parker Dunshee is on the other side of the spectrum. He doesn’t have notable stuff, but he’s dominated throughout the minors up through Double-A. He followed up his 0.00 ERA from Low-A Vermont with sub-3.00 marks at both Stockton and Midland, with eye-popping peripherals to back it all up. He profiles as having a good chance to make the majors, but unlikely to be much more than a back-end starter. He’s the safe-but-unexciting pick.

However, Dunshee also happens to be my favorite sleeper prospect in the A’s current system. I’m a sucker for gaudy stats, and in such cases I’m willing to give benefit of the doubt that they might be for real until/unless the player reaches a level where they stop succeeding. After all, not every star begins as a top prospect, and plenty of good pitchers operate in the low-90s.

If you’re looking for reasons for optimism, here are a couple. One is that Dunshee has a good spin rate on his fastball, which is something that’s come into vogue lately as an important component of the pitch — even at pedestrian velocity. He also gets high marks in terms of things like command, control, polish, and just all-around pitchability. If anyone was going to overperform with an average arsenal, it would be someone with all of those traits.

There’s still one more stop in the minors for Dunshee, who hasn’t yet pitched at Triple-A, but first he’s a non-roster invitee to spring training and will get some time in big league camp. Personally, I’m hoping to see him debut in Oakland this summer, though of course that’s far from any certainty. In the meantime, I’m not going to be naive about his likely modest ceiling, but I’m also not going to write off his intriguing success just because he doesn’t throw hard. He’s got a good chance of making it at all, and until further notice he does nothing but get outs at high efficiency every time he takes the mound. Maybe he’s the sleeper who sneaks up on the world and becomes an unexpected star.

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 Greg Deichmann. He was one of the A’s top draft picks in 2017, and got off to a great start that summer in his debut. However, his 2018 was lost to a wrist injury, which limited him to 47 games of subpar production. On the bright side, his raw power is still highly regarded and he should be able to restore his prospect stock as a masher in RF if he gets back on track this season.

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

Greg Deichmann, OF

Expected level: A+/AA? | Age 24

2018, A+ (47 gms): 185 PAs, 77 wRC+, 6 HR, 9.2% BB, 34.1% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Deichmann’s power is his calling card. The big left-handed hitter has impressed scouts with his bat speed and strength dating back to his high school days, and he’s shown that he can get to it consistently in the past year-plus after shortening his swing and adopting a more selective approach. Deichmann’s improved approach also has helped him in using the entire field, though much of his power remains to his pull side. And while strikeouts will always be a part of Deichmann’s game given his power-over-hit profile, he does offset some of those concerns with perennially strong walk rates and on-base skills.

A shortstop in high school, Deichmann saw time at first base at LSU before finding a home in right field, where his above-average arm and power profile are clean fits. He’s a below-average runner but moves well underway, and with improved reads and routes, he could become an average defender.

* * *

Grant Holmes, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 23

2018 stats: Only threw six rehab innings due to shoulder injury

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

The owner of a 93-95 mph fastball that has exceptional, late sinking action, Holmes has generated strong ground-ball rates at each stop in his career. He can miss bats both with that and his breaking ball, a plus pitch that combines curveball depth with slider velocity. His changeup continues to be a work-in-progress, one that he’ll need to thoroughly develop to neutralize left-handed hitters at higher levels. Holmes has kept his walk rate in check over a full season in Double-A, although both his control and command leave much to be desired.

Holmes answered questions about his durability in 2017 en route to logging a career-high 148 1/3 innings, but the right-hander has been dealing with a concerning right shoulder injury that caused him to begin 2018 on the disabled list. There are many evaluators who still worry about his ability to pitch deep into games, and some scouts have already pegged him as a future reliever. The A’s, however, plan to keep Holmes in the rotation for as long as possible, with the hope that he can refine his delivery, develop a more consistent change and improve his command.

* * *

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.

* * *

Jeremy Eierman, SS

Expected level: High-A | Age 22

2018 stats: 267 PAs, 95 wRC+, 8 HR, 10 SB, 4.9% BB, 26.2% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Eierman’s bat speed and strength create natural power from the right side of the plate, but he sold out for home runs as a junior with negative results. He widened his setup, adopted more of a crouch and was overly aggressive and pull-happy. Though he doesn’t always get out of the box quickly when he takes a big hack, Eierman can show plus speed once he gets going.

Eierman may not have true shortstop quickness, but he has a chance to stay at the position with his good body control, soft hands and cannon arm. He may wind up at third base, where his tools could make him a Gold Glover. His grinder makeup is another asset.

* * *

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.

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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!