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Oakland A’s 2019 Trade Season Primer, Part Two: Chips

The A’s look like they’ll be buyers this month. What pieces can they use to make an addition?

Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Mmmmm, chips!

On Monday, we took a look at some players that Oakland might look to acquire prior to the July 31 trade deadline. And after a mid-week series victory against the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins, it is now even more likely the A’s will be buyers this month.

*** Click here to re-visit Part One! ***

The last calendar year hasn’t gone quite as planned for the A’s farm system. Top prospects Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy have each been sidelined for extended periods of time with significant injuries, and recent draft picks like Greg Deichmann and Austin Beck haven’t quite met expectations.

But prior to the draft, FanGraphs ranked Oakland’s farm 16th overall, and that was before the additions of top talents Logan Davidson, Tyler Baum and Robert Puason. While the A’s might not have a blue-chipper they’d be comfortable parting with in a deal for, say, Matthew Boyd, their system is deep in mid-level talent and they have plenty of pieces to work with.

So let’s take a look at some of the names Oakland could deal this summer. Prospect rankings are taken from this year’s AN Community Prospect List, and rankings for graduated players are taken from the Alternate Top 10. All player values are taken directly from Baseball Trade Values and are listed in millions of dollars.

Potential Trade Chips

Name Position Rank (AN CPL) 2019 Level Value Trending
Name Position Rank (AN CPL) 2019 Level Value Trending
Franklin Barreto 2B/OF Graduated (5) MLB/AAA 16.2 Steady
Lazaro Armenteros OF 4 A+ 15.8 Steady
Austin Beck OF 5 A+ 11.7 Down
Dustin Fowler OF Graduated (8) AAA 11.1 Down
Jorge Mateo SS/2B 6 AAA 10.4 Up
Jurickson Profar 2B N/A MLB 7.7 Down
Sheldon Neuse 3B/1B 9 AAA 7.3 Up
Nick Allen SS 19 A+ 6.4 Up
Skye Bolt OF 16 AAA 2.7 Up
Gus Varland RHP 22 A+ 1.1 Up
Jonah Heim C 25 AAA 0.7 Up

The A’s are giving former top prospect Franklin Barreto an extended look at second base, and that makes plenty of sense. Barreto is coming off an incredible month of June for Triple-A Las Vegas and is in his final option year. The Athletics need to see what they have in Barreto, and with Jurickson Profar continuing to struggle, there’s no better time than the present. But if he fails to impress and another team still believes in his upside, he could be a valuable trade chip. It’s always difficult to give up on a talent like Barreto, but at this point, it may be what’s best for both sides.

Oakland’s system probably has enough depth to part with one of their two young outfield prospects, Lazaro Armenteros and Austin Beck. The former, originally a high-upside international signing, is producing in High-A despite a 42.4% strikeout rate. Beck, on the other hand, was the A’s first round pick in 2017, but hasn’t yet tapped into his raw power and also has a lofty strikeout rate. Both players have star upside, but come with plenty of risk, and the A’s may be willing to trade whichever outfielder they have less confidence in.

Dustin Fowler is in many ways their opposite. He doesn’t quite have the raw upside of either Armenteros or Beck, but he seems like a fourth outfielder at worst. Fowler doesn’t really have any standout tools, but he has decent power and speed and likely has an MLB future. While he struggled in Oakland in 2018, other teams might see some value here.

Young shortstop Jorge Mateo has been one of the A’s biggest risers this season. The 24-year-old has always had 80-grade speed, but he is combining it with improved contact skills and power. While he has cooled off a bit over the last month or so, it’s still safe to say his stock has risen significantly. But the A’s system is deep in the middle infield, and they may choose to sell high on Mateo’s hot start.

The only full-time major league player on this list, second baseman Jurickson Profar has been a complete bust. So far, he has been unable to replicate his 2018 breakout and just this week lost his starting job to Barreto. But Profar is just 26 and still has significant upside. Controllable through 2020, Profar might be an attractive buy-low for teams looking to compete next season, and if the A’s find another solution at second base they may be willing to move him.

The most obvious trade candidate in the A’s entire system is corner infielder Sheldon Neuse. Originally acquired from the Washington Nationals in the 2017 Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson trade, Neuse has rebounded nicely from his rough 2018 and is once again a legitimate prospect. But the 24-year-old is blocked on the corners by a pair of superstars in Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. His bat will play in the major leagues and plenty of rebuilding clubs should have interest.

Nick Allen is arguably the best defender in Oakland’s system, and that gives the shortstop a very high floor. But the 20-year-old is also hitting very well for High-A Stockton and has improved his stock significantly. He looks like a piece to build around, but if the A’s can find a team that fully believes in his offensive improvements, they may choose to sell high.

Another 2019 breakout is outfielder Skye Bolt. The 25-year-old has been shuttled up and down as Oakland’s 26th man, but there currently isn’t room for Bolt at the major league level. The former fourth-round pick has always been toolsy, but over the past two seasons he’s finally started to put it together.

Righty Gus Varland is the only pitcher on this list. That’s largely because most of the A’s top young pitchers are either currently injured or are still working their way back from a significant injury. But Varland’s stock is high, as the 22-year-old is dominating High-A. A former 14th-round pick, it is already looking like the A’s will be getting an incredible return on their investment.

The list wraps up with another hot hitter in Jonah Heim. Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017 in exchange for Joey Wendle, Heim flew through the minors and is now destroying the ball in Triple-A. He didn’t appear on many prospect lists entering 2019, but the switch-hitting catcher is on fire. Oakland is very deep behind the plate and could look to sell high.

Others of note: Jameson Hannah, OF (7.4); Jeremy Eierman, SS/2B (4.0); James Kaprielian, RHP (3.5); Nick Martini, OF (3.5); Marcos Brito, 2B (1.6); Tyler Ramirez, OF (0.6)

A controllable stud like Boyd is probably out of Oakland’s price range, and the A’s don’t have the pitching depth to match up well with a team like the Toronto Blue Jays. But they have a lot of young hitters, some with significant value. They should have plenty of options available.

Personally, I think Sheldon Neuse and Skye Bolt are likely to be on the move. I could also see the A’s trading one of Austin Beck and Lazaro Armenteros, and either Franklin Barreto or Jurickson Profar, depending on their performance this month.


Which middle infielder (if any) would you trade this month?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Franklin Barreto
    (267 votes)
  • 7%
    Jorge Mateo
    (86 votes)
  • 56%
    Jurickson Profar
    (608 votes)
  • 5%
    Nick Allen
    (56 votes)
  • 6%
    None of the above
    (65 votes)
1082 votes total Vote Now