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Oakland A’s 2021 Community Prospect List #6: Logan Davidson looks to prove skills in full-season ball

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The A’s top 2019 draft pick has waited a long time for a chance to play

Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Our 2021 Community Prospect List adds its sixth member, and already its third shortstop in Logan Davidson. 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%)

The Oakland A’s drafted Davidson in the 1st round in 2019, at No. 29 overall. He brought a promising set of tools, with above-average grades for everything from power to speed to fielding to throwing. If all went well then he could stick at shortstop and be a good defender there, while also contributing at the plate as a switch-hitter with some pop.

The downside was a college reputation that he’d struggled to hit with wood bats, and a question of whether he would make enough contact in the pros to unlock the rest of his potential — in other words, his Hit tool. He got off to a shaky start in short-season Low-A ball after the draft, but heated up and finished strong.

And then, the 2020 season got canceled in the minors. With no game action in which to test himself, he at least spent the summer at A’s alternate site camp and reportedly made progress, but that still meant pressing pause on fully proving himself in the box score.

And so, a year later, we’re still waiting to see just what Oakland has in Davidson. There’s so much to like! Now we can finally begin to find out, as he makes his long-anticipated debut in full-season ball.

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.

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The new nominee is Grant Holmes. The right-hander got back on track in 2019 after some injury obstacles and even reached Triple-A, but like everyone else on this list his progress was stalled by the pandemic. He doesn’t get the fanfare of Daulton Jefferies and James Kaprielian, but he’s another strong pitching prospect who could get a chance in Oakland this summer.

Hitter rates (poor/avg/great):

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

Nominees on the current ballot:

Grant Holmes, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AA): 3.31 ERA, 81⅔ ip, 76 Ks, 27 BB, 9 HR, 4.20 FIP
2019 stats (AAA): 1.93 ERA, 4⅔ ip, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HR, 5.08 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Cutter: 55 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45

For much of his Minor League career, Holmes has been more stuff than production. Much of that had to do with hitters being able to pick the ball up out of his hand too well and he worked on adding more deception in 2019 with some success. He still features a sinking fastball that sits in the low-90s that gets a lot of groundball outs and his curve is still a plus pitch that misses bats. Like most A’s farmhands, he’s developed a cutter, giving him a third at least above-average offering and his changeup has also improved.

Holmes was a more consistent strike-thrower in 2019 and he’ll have to continue to refine his command to remain a starter. He sometimes came out of the bullpen in a tandem system with Midland last year and his stuff was very impressive in shorter outings, something the A’s surely will discuss when talking about how the right-hander can impact the big league staff.

* * *

James Kaprielian, RHP

Expected level: MLB | Age 27

2020 stats: 2 games, 3⅔ ip, 3 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HR
2019 stats (A+): 4.46 ERA, 36⅓ ip, 43 Ks, 8 BB, 6 HR, 4.43 FIP
2019 stats (AA): 1.63 ERA, 27⅔ ip, 26 Ks, 8 BB, 2 HR, 3.60 FIP
2019 stats (AAA): 2.25 ERA, 4 ip, 6 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HR, 0.80 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (note that the info about his velocity is out of date, and he topped out at 97 mph in the majors in 2020):

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45

No one has worked harder than Kaprielian to get back on the mound and start moving towards the big leagues. If his 2019 is any indication, he’s not going to be the guy who was pumping mid-90s heat with potentially plus secondary stuff back in college. Instead, he’s learning to pitch at 91-93 mph while occasionally touching 95, commanding the pitch very well. Because of his injury history, Kaprielian was a little tentative in throwing his secondary stuff. He still throws a curve and a slider, with the latter being a bit better, but they do blend into each other at times and neither were better than average last year. He does show a solid changeup with fade at times.

While Kaprielian is a physical pitcher, kind of in the mold of a Kevin Brown type, he’s going to have to be more of a finesse and command type and he did fill up the strike zone consistently in 2019. There’s a chance his stuff snaps back a bit the further removed from injury he gets, but he looks more like a back-end starter than the potential frontline one he projected to be coming out of college.

* * *

Luis Barrera, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 25

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AA): 240 PAs, 139 wRC+, 4 HR, 5.0% BB, 20.0% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 35 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

Even when he was trying to play through his injury, Barrera was still doing what he does best: hit. The left-handed hitter is aggressive at the plate and makes a ton of contact with a line-drive, slashing kind of approach. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he also doesn’t strike out much. He’s never going to be a big home run guy, but he has shown the ability to hit the gaps on a regular basis, with his extra-base thump showing up more in Double-A last year. Barrera is a plus runner who can steal a base and is as aggressive on the basepaths as he is at the plate.

Barrera’s passion for the game shows up on defense as well and his shoulder injury wasn’t helped by diving for balls in the outfield. He’s probably best suited for an outfield corner, where his above-average arm plays well, but he’s also shown the ability to play center field if needed and the A’s love how fearless he is. He might break in as a fourth outfielder, but he has the ability to be a big league regular on both sides of the ball if the opportunity arises.

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Greg Deichmann, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 26

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AA): 340 PAs, 90 wRC+, 11 HR, 10.0% BB, 30.3% Ks
2019 stats (AFL): .256/.347/.634, 9 HR, 10.5% BB, 30.5% Ks (in 95 PAs)

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Before the injuries hit, Deichmann was a very stiff-bodied hitter, one who would over-rotate and whose shoulder would fly open too often, with his arms and hands not working independently at all. While he was rehabbing, he focused more on flexibility than just hitting the weight room and being more elastic at the plate allowed for more shoulder and hips separation. Staying on pitches more, keeping his shoulder in and being on time cut down on his swing and miss, allowed his walk rate to go up and he started to show the ability to drive balls to left-center field. He learned that as he barrels up the ball more, he didn’t need to chase power; it was going to come naturally with his strength and natural loft.

With a strong arm, Deichmann could fit the power-hitting corner outfielder profile well. Though he has below-average speed, he is a good baserunner who can steal a base. More than anything, though, he needs consistent and healthy reps so he can keep working on getting to his tremendous raw power.

* * *

Sheldon Neuse, IF

Expected level: MLB? | Age 26

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AAA): 560 PAs, 126 wRC+, 27 HR, 10.0% BB, 23.6% Ks
2019 stats (MLB): 61 PAs, 63 wRC+, 0 HR, 6.6% BB, 31.1% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

Neuse’s future as a big leaguer lies largely in how much he’ll hit. After losing his way in terms of his game plan at the plate in 2018, he regained his footing late that year and then saw his strikeout rate drop considerably in Triple-A last year while his walk rate went back up. That allowed him to hit for average again and tap into his considerable raw power more consistently, though hitting in Las Vegas, and the Pacific Coast League in general, no doubt helped. He’s a below-average runner, but he’s a better athlete than people think when they see him.

That athleticism allows him to be an effective defender at a number of positions. Blocked by Matt Chapman at third, his best position, he showed he could handle second base during his time up with Oakland, can still play an acceptable shortstop in a pinch and even is an adequate left fielder. Neuse could be a big league regular in another organization, but for now looks like a very solid super-utility type whose bat will force its way into the lineup more often than not.

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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!