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Oakland A’s 2020 Community Prospect List #22: Hogan Harris starts pro career strong

The left-hander pitched well at High-A.

Photo provided by Oakland A’s

Our 2020 Community Prospect List adds its 22nd member, and its first left-handed pitcher since the top two spots. 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 (+84%)
  2. A.J. Puk, LHP (+1%)
  3. Sean Murphy, C (+95%)
  4. Daulton Jefferies, RHP (+10%)
  5. Nick Allen, SS (+1%)
  6. James Kaprielian, RHP (+2%)
  7. Robert Puason, SS (+32%)
  8. Sheldon Neuse, IF (+26%)
  9. Jorge Mateo, SS (+5%)
  10. Jonah Heim, C (+2%)
  11. Austin Beck, OF (+9%)
  12. Logan Davidson, SS (+45%)
  13. Grant Holmes, RHP (+28%)
  14. Lazaro Armenteros, OF (+13%)
  15. Greg Deichmann, OF (+36%)
  16. Luis Barrera, OF (+14%)
  17. Seth Brown, OF (+48%)
  18. Brayan Buelvas, OF (+17%)
  19. Tyler Baum, RHP (+9%)
  20. Jordan Diaz, 3B (+5%)
  21. Marcus Smith, OF (+26%)
  22. Hogan Harris, LHP (+4%)

It took slightly longer than expected for Hogan Harris to get his pro career started. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 2018, but he didn’t take the mound until last June. It turned out to be worth the wait, though, as the lefty breezed through a month in Low-A Vermont, and continued to pitch well in seven starts for High-A Stockton. He finished the year with 13 scoreless innings in his last three games.

Harris is exactly the kind of lotto ticket you’d expect for this section of the CPL, and for the 3rd round of the draft in general. There are pluses and minuses in his profile. He’s performed well so far, but it’s been in a small sample. He’s a lefty with a promising track record, but he was injury-prone in college. He’s got good stuff, but has work to do on his command and delivery. It could all come together, or fizzle out.

So far, so good, though. Once Harris took the mound in 2019 he stayed healthy to the end, and he pitched consistently well. A full season of work in 2020 would tell us a lot more about where he’s at, and what heights he could reach someday.

Here is the voting 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 Wandisson Charles. He’s a relief prospect who offers top-notch velocity, as high as triple-digits. Last year he finally showed signs of figuring out how to use his powerful stuff, succeeding at three different levels of the minors including Double-A. The A’s opted not to protect him on the 40-man roster this winter, and were justified when nobody stole him in Rule 5, but he’s still got intriguing potential that’s impossible to ignore.

Hitter rates (poor/avg/great):

  • wRC+ (75/100/135)
  • BB% (5.0%/8.5%/12.0%)
  • K% (30%/22%/14%)

Nominees on the current ballot:

Wandisson Charles, RHP

Expected level: Double-A | Age 23

2019 stats (A): 3.22 ERA, 22⅓ ip, 37 Ks, 20 BB, 1 HR, 3.54 FIP
2019 stats (A+): 3.16 ERA, 25⅔ ip, 39 Ks, 18 BB, 1 HR, 3.59 FIP
2019 stats (AA): 1.88 ERA, 14⅓ ip, 17 Ks, 5 BB, 1 HR, 3.03 FIP

FanGraphs “Excited Longshot Arms” honorable mention (pre-2019):

Charles is a 6-foot-6, 220 pound beast with elite arm strength (95-98, touching at least 99) but zero feel for pitching. He’ll snap off the occasional plus slider in the 86-90 mph range, but he’s relatively undercooked for 22.

Oakland Clubhouse scouting report (pre-2018) (lightly edited):

A behemoth on the mound, Charles has a very similar build to Jansen and similar arm strength. Charles is a currently a two-pitch pitcher with his fastball and his slider. The A’s may try to add a reliable third pitch once he is commanding his two primary offerings more consistently. His fastball sits 96-98, running up above the 100 MPH mark, and his slider sits in the mid-80s and has some late-breaking action.

For Charles to find success in full-season ball, he will need to be able to command his pitches more consistently. “A year ago [in the 2017 season], he couldn’t throw the ball over the plate. It’s an amazing transformation for him,” said A’s director of player development Keith Lieppman. ... “He was still 97-99 this [2017] Instructional League and during the [2017] season he had some 102s,” said A’s minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson.

* * *

Buddy Reed, OF

Expected level: Double-A | Age 25

2019 stats (AA): 441 PA, 93 wRC+, 14 HR, 9.5% BB, 28.6% Ks, 23 SB

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (mid-2019):

Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 40 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 45

A switch-hitter, Reed has the potential to hit for both average and power, though he’s historically been better form the right side. Before the 2018 season, he made an adjustment, allowing him to be shorter to the ball with more extension after contact. But he’ll need to continue to cut down on the strikeouts. If he can add more contact to his game, he has plus-plus speed — which translates on both sides of the ball.

Reed has a tall, athletic build that gives him the potential to do a lot of things well on the baseball field, but he still has gains to make as a hitter. If he can get back to a more refined approach and better swing mechanics, he has the tools to be an impact player. But questions linger as to whether his game, particularly his hitting, will translate at higher levels.

* * *

Vimael Machin, IF

Expected level: MLB or bust | Age 26

2019 stats (AA): 498 PA, 129 wRC+, 6 HR, 12.7% BB, 11.4% Ks
2019 stats (AAA): 31 PA, 144 wRC+, 1 HR, 19.4% BB, 16.1% Ks

Baseball America scouting report (from January) (lightly edited):

As a lefthanded hitter, he has the potential to fill a need for the righthanded heavy Oakland batting order. He has played every infield position, and “he has stood in the outfield,” [A’s Assistant GM Dan] Feinstein joked. ...

A’s scouts rank Machin as a plus hitter (most impressive to the A’s was that he drew 69 walks while striking out only 62 times last year). He is a slightly below-average runner and ranks about average defensively at shortstop and second base. Feinstein believes that Machin plays above his talent levels because he has such good baseball sense. He has below-average power. ...

”What we really like is that he has continued to show improvement,” Feinstein said. If that carries over to the major leagues, the A’s may well have plucked a prize from the [Rule 5] draft.

* * *

Jeremy Eierman, SS

Expected level: High-A? Double-A? | Age 23

2019 stats (A+): 552 PA, 71 wRC+, 13 HR, 7.1% BB, 32.1% Ks, 11 SB

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (mid-2019):

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

There’s little question Eierman has legitimate raw power from the right side of the plate, with both bat speed and strength. He got into bad habits as a junior when he tried to sell out for power too much, changing his impact as an all-around hitter. While he homered eight times in his pro debut, he also struck out more than 26 percent of the time with a low walk rate, and will have to improve his pitch recognition so he can tap into that power more consistently. While not a burner, he’s an effective basestealer.

Eierman has every chance to stay at shortstop thanks to his plus arm, really good hands and quick feet. If he were to move to second or third, where he did see a little time during his debut, he could be a plus defender in either spot.

* * *

Skye Bolt, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 26

2019 stats (AAA): 347 PA, 96 wRC+, 11 HR, 10.7% BB, 27.1% Ks
2019 stats (MLB): 11 PA, 1-for-10, double, 1 BB, 3 Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (mid-2019):

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

The A’s always felt Bolt had the ability to succeed, but just hadn’t been able to find the level of consistency to tap into his tools. He can hit for average and power from both sides of the plate, though the power really shows up left-handed (17 of his 19 homers in 2018 came from that side). He has enough speed to steal a base, and he finished just one home run and one steal shy of a 20-20 campaign last year.

Bolt has the speed and instincts to play center field and the strong arm to play right. He has the acumen to play all three outfield positions and he’s likely to be a fourth outfielder in the big leagues. Now that he’s starting to put it together on a daily basis, though, don’t rule out Bolt finding a regular spot in the lineup.

* * *

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!