clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Oakland A’s 2021 Community Prospect List #16: Tyler Baum finally gets to play full-season ball

New, 34 comments

The 2nd-round pick from 2019 had to wait through a canceled 2020

Same photo as last year
Photo provided by Oakland A’s

Our 2021 Community Prospect List adds its next member, and only its sixth pitcher so far in Tyler Baum. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

  1. A.J. Puk, LHP (+42%)
  2. Tyler Soderstrom, C (+16%)
  3. Nick Allen, SS (+26%)
  4. Robert Puason, SS (+29%)
  5. Daulton Jefferies, RHP (+42%)
  6. Logan Davidson, SS (+15%)
  7. James Kaprielian, RHP (+32%)
  8. Luis Barrera, OF (+34%)
  9. Greg Deichmann, OF (+24%)
  10. Grant Holmes, RHP (+3%)
  11. Jeff Criswell, RHP (+10%)
  12. Brayan Buelvas, OF (+19%)
  13. Pedro Pineda, OF (+23%)
  14. Austin Beck, OF (+13%)
  15. Ka’ai Tom, OF (+3%)
  16. Tyler Baum, RHP (+1%)

Everyone in the world had a tough time in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, often in direly serious ways, but purely in the strictest baseball terms one group you have to feel for is 2019 draft picks. They left school, maybe got their first taste of the pros in short-season ball, and then had to sit out an entire year when the minor leagues got canceled. Right when their time-sensitive careers were supposed to begin, they hit pause.

Such is the story of Baum, the Oakland A’s 2nd-round pick, a pitcher out of University of North Carolina. He got some action in Low-A Vermont after his draft and posted impressive strikeout and walk rates, hidden behind a mediocre ERA, but then had no chance to build on it the next year. It wasn’t a completely lost summer, though, as he was invited to work out at the A’s alternate site camp, with the following report from Baseball America:

Baum was lights out his first week of the alternate site, running his fastball up to 96 mph and stymying older A’s hitters. But his stuff faded over the duration of camp, leading the A’s to wonder if he simply ran out of gas.

Now Baum can finally test himself in some proper game action in full-season ball, and we can begin to see what his solid four-pitch arsenal is capable of — a low/mid-90s fastball, curve, slider, and change, all at least 50-grade on MLB Pipeline but with something to prove in terms of control and command. Like so many pitching prospects, there’s still a question of whether he’ll end up as a starter or a reliever.

The voting process is explained below. Please take a moment to read this before participating:

  • 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 for the next ballot.
  • 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 Kyle McCann. Like Baum he was a 2019 draft pick (4th round), and one who could really have used a 2020 season after an intriguing pro debut. But Baseball America reports strides in his development at the A’s alternate site camp last summer, especially on defense behind the plate, and they list him as the best power hitter in Oakland’s farm system.

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:

Kyle McCann, C

Expected level: High-A | Age 23

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (A-): 225 PA, 94 wRC+, 7 HR, 11.1% BB, 36.0% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 40

The left-handed hitter has legit power to all fields, reminding some of the Orioles’ Chris Davis power-wise. He can lift it out to the opposite field and has a little hook to the pull side and like Davis, his power will come with considerable swing and miss (He struck out in nearly 35 percent of his plate appearances in 2019). He may never hit for a high average, but he does mitigate the strikeouts a bit by working counts and drawing walks.

McCann caught and played first base during his pro debut, partically because he was nursing a sore shoulder. He showed off a much better arm during instructs, but while his hands work, his blocking and overall receiving are works in progress. If it all clicks, he could fit the profile of a lefty power-hitting backstop, but he also might have enough pop to be a first baseman if the catching end of things doesn’t come together.

* * *

Seth Brown, OF

Expected level: MLB? | Age 28

2020 stats (MLB): 0-for-5, 2 Ks
2019 stats (MLB): 83 PA, 120 wRC+, 0 HR, 8.4% BB, 27.7% Ks
2019 stats (AAA): 500 PA, 126 wRC+, 37 HR, 7.6% BB, 25.4% Ks

Baseball America scouting report (from January 2021):

Brown re-tooled his swing in search of more launch angle prior to 2017 and unlocked considerable power. It has yet to translate to the big leagues in a very small sample size — zero homers in 88 at-bats—but his plus raw power is as good as any in the A’s system. He makes solid contact and has a chance to be an average hitter against righthanders as part of a platoon. Brown has worked hard to improve his outfield defense in the hopes of enhancing his versatility and giving him more avenues to playing time. He’s a fine defender at first base.

* * *

Jordan Diaz, 3B

Expected level: Low-A | Age 20

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (A-): 300 PA, 118 wRC+, 9 HR, 6.0% BB, 15.3% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Diaz has perhaps the best bat-to-ball skills in the organization. He has an advanced feel to hit with outstanding bat-to-ball skills, limiting his strikeouts. He’s more of a gap-to-gap hitter and he’s not a quick-twitch kind of hitter, though there is potential power in there.

While there’s faith Diaz is going to hit, there are more questions about whether he’ll defend. He doesn’t always keep focus there and while his hands and arm work, he needs to improve his footwork to stick at third long term. He can get caught flat-footed and make errors as a result. Some of that can get chalked up to youth, but he’ll need to be more consistent as he moves forward. The power will have to come more for him to really profile at the infield corner, but the A’s feel the bat will keep him going up the ladder.

* * *

Lazaro Armenteros, OF

Expected level: High-A? | Age 22

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (A+): 538 PA, 107 wRC+, 17 HR, 13.6% BB, 42.2% Ks, 22 SB

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 40 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

In 2019, Armenteros struck out in more than 42 percent of his plate appearances, only partially offset by his high walk rate. When taking that into consideration, it’s a testament to how strong he is that he still managed to hit 17 homers. But he really needs to re-work his swing because his barrel isn’t in the zone long enough for him to make contact to get to that power. He started working on that during instructs and it’s an adjustment, especially with breaking stuff, he’ll have to make if he wants to progress.

Armenteros is a physical specimen who can really run and should continue to be able to steal bases. His defense has improved, but he’s probably limited to left field because of a below-average arm. The good news is he’s still young enough to figure things out, but there will have to be some considerable changes to his swing and approach to make it happen.

* * *

Junior Perez, OF

Expected level: Low-A? | Age 19

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (RK): 238 PA, 126 wRC+, 11 HR, 10.1% BB, 24.8% Ks, 11 SB

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

That Perez possesses a strong, physical frame for a teenager makes it easy to dream on his power potential from the right side of the plate. He also makes a lot of quality contact, combining his strength with a quick bat and lofty swing. His swing-and-miss issues aren’t uncommon for a player his age and stand to improve as he gains experience and learns to recognize spin better.

Perez’s below-average speed limits him to an outfield corner, and he spent much of his 2019 campaign manning right field in the AZL. He may be a better long-term fit in left, though, because his arm strength is only a tick above average.

* * *

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!