Over the winter, Athletics Nation voted on our annual Community Prospect List. The final result was a Top 31 list of the best prospects in the A’s farm system, and you can click here for the full list and some extra analysis.
However, some new names have popped up since we voted on that list, between last week’s amateur draft and rumors on the international free agent market. Where might they rank if they had been around when we voted?
Let’s find out! To be clear, we are not adding these players to the 2020 CPL. This is just a fun exercise to gauge our initial reactions to some of the newest prospects in the system, including one who isn’t even officially here yet. It’s the same concept as when we do extra votes for youngsters who barely graduated but still feel like prospects — like Franklin Barreto and Austin Allen this year.
We’ve got three names to rank:
- C Tyler Soderstrom, 1st-round draft pick
- RHP Jeff Criswell, 2nd-round draft pick
- OF Pedro Pineda, future international signing
Here’s a quick word about each. We’ll vote in the comments section below.
C Tyler Soderstrom
Drafted No. 26 overall out of high school, and estimated to get a bonus of around $3.3 million (~$700K over-slot). His hitting draws rave reviews, already polished and with the potential for lots of upside, with one scout calling it the best amateur bat he’s seen in his 15-year career. His future behind the plate isn’t for sure, but even if he doesn’t end up as a catcher, he should be able to hit enough to play other positions. Click here for more details.
My initial hunch is that Soderstrom probably ranks around Robert Puason (No. 7). They are both teenagers with loud tools but no professional track record. Puason got the bigger bonus ($5M), but the draft and int’l systems aren’t identical so it’s not a perfect comparison. On the other hand, a good-hitting catcher might have more upside than even a good-hitting shortstop. We’ll start his voting in the 4-10 range, and see what the community thinks.
OF Pedro Pineda
This one is a bit different, because Pineda isn’t actually part of the A’s organization yet. He’s widely expected to sign with Oakland for around $4 million when the international market opens, but we’ll have to wait even longer than normal for that — usually the signing period begins on July 2, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it will be pushed to Jan. 15 (reported by J.J. Cooper of Baseball America).
Like Soderstrom and Puason, Pineda is a teenager, but he won’t even turn 17 until later this year (unless birthdays are also postponed by the pandemic?). He’s billed as an athletic center fielder with power and speed, though he does have the specter of a PED suspension on his resume.
My hunch is that Pineda ranks below Puason, but by how much? Is he around Austin Beck (No. 11)? Lazarito (14)? Brayan Buelvas (18)? We’ll start his voting in the 7-14 range, and then adjust if necessary.
RHP Jeff Criswell
Drafted No. 58 overall, in the 2nd round, out of college at Michigan. He’s got powerful stuff, with a fastball that is either mid- or upper-90s depending on his role, as well as two strong secondaries. He could be a mid-rotation starter or a high-octane reliever, depending on how his shaky control develops. Click here for more details.
My hunch is that Criswell probably isn’t lower than around the Hogan Harris level (No. 22), as after that the pitchers are mostly pure relievers or lower-ceiling starters. Is he above last year’s 2nd-rounder, Tyler Baum (19)? Can he approach the next tier of pitchers like Grant Holmes (13)? Somewhere in between? We’ll start his voting in the 15-22 range.
For some context: MLB Pipeline gives Criswell an overall 50-grade, which only the top nine prospects on their list can match. FanGraphs gives him a Future Value 40-grade, which puts him in the 13-27 range of their A’s list (Heim, Mateo, Holmes, Baum, down to Diaz, Eierman, Smith, and some others who didn’t make our CPL; Pineda also got a 40 FV, while Soderstrom got a 45).
This might take us two posts to complete, if any of my range estimates are off and we have to do a runoff vote. Plus, I’ll add an extra section to see if any of the other new draft picks should be considered for the bottom of the list (3rd-rounder OF Michael Guldberg, 4th-rounder RHP Dane Acker, and 5th-rounder RHP Stevie Emanuels). As a reminder, the current 26-31 spots on the list are held by OF Skye Bolt, RHP Wandisson Charles, RHP Richard Guasch, RHP Parker Dunshee, RHP Brian Howard, and 1B Dustin Harris, in that order.
Read the instructions in the comments section. There are four ballots (one for each of the three top guys, and another to gauge interest in the other three draft picks), so you should be Rec’ing four different Vote comments.