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A’s prospect watch: Luis Pino rumors; pitcher updates; 15 players released

The latest from the A’s farm system

MiLB: APR 09 Sacramento River Cats at Las Vegas Aviators Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There wasn’t as much prospect news as usual this year, since there was no minor league season to play. But there are still some little bits and pieces, so here’s the latest.

First we look back just over a week, to a handful of player releases. Every year, some players are let go around this point, it’s just that usually there was a season preceding it with which to better judge their performances. On Oct. 23, Melissa Lockard of The Athletic reported the following 15 players had been cut (including the highest level where they played more than a couple games):

  • RHP Peter Bayer (A+)
  • RHP Boomer Biegalski (A+)
  • LHP Dennis Herrera (RK)
  • RHP Marcelo Hernandez (RK-DSL)
  • LHP Livan Sanchez (RK)
  • RHP Peyton Miller (—)
  • C Jordan Devencenzi (A+)
  • C John Jones (A)
  • C Skyler Weber (A)
  • C Cesare Astorri (RK)
  • IF Michael Woodworth (A)
  • IF Christopher Quintin (A-)
  • IF Iraj Serrano (RK)
  • OF Payton Squier (A+)
  • OF Rafael Rincones (RK)

Unless you follow the minors closely, you probably won’t recognize any of those names, as none ever factored into our Community Prospect List in any way. The biggest one is Biegalski, who put up great numbers in High-A but was rarely healthy.

Among the others, Bayer was acquired for pitcher Wilmer Font, and Rincones was picked up for Rajai Davis in an August 2017 trade. Woodworth is a local product from Alameda High School, drafted in 2019. Miller, drafted that same year, stands out because he never even got a chance to play a game in the A’s system. Astorri was born in Italy, which has produced only a small handful of big leaguers. Devencenzi played one game in Triple-A and recorded a hit in his only at-bat there.

Luis Pino rumors

Looking away from subtractions and toward future additions, the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are “leading the race” for Cuban prospect Luis Pino, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

Pino, who turned 16 in February, is eligible to sign as part of the upcoming international class, which was pushed back from this past July to January 2021. A brief scouting report, per Kylie McDaniel of ESPN: “Above average running back, a little more tweener (skills for center field or right field) defensively, more power than some scouts expected, seven-figure chance.”

The story doesn’t note where Pino might rank amid the overall int’l class, but the possibility of a bonus over $1 million is notable. The A’s are already expected to spend several million of their hard-capped allowance on outfielder Pedro Pineda, considered one of the better players in the class, so Pino wouldn’t be the top name they sign — but perhaps he could show up in our Community Prospect List voting.

And since this is Halloween, here’s a scary thought for many of us: Pino was born in 2004 and is now old enough to sign with a pro ballclub.

Dunshee and Howard update

After missing out on a full season of play, some A’s prospects are at least logging game action and other work at instructional league this month. Click here for previous updates from instructs.

The latest news involves Parker Dunshee and Brian Howard, two popular sleeper pitching prospects on Athletics Nation. Per our friend Bill Moriarity of Athletics Farm: “A’s special asst Grady Fuson says that Parker Dunshee has been up to 93-94 mph & Brian Howard has been up to 95-96 mph at instructs in AZ.”

Dunshee and Howard have both succeeded as starters as high as Double-A, but one thing they’ve each lacked is velocity. They’re known for working in the 90 mph range, or maybe a tick or two above that for Howard, earning them a smoke-and-mirrors reputation. If they’ve now added a few miles to their heaters, then that could significantly alter their prospect stock and boost their future potential.