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Oakland A’s 2021 Community Prospect List #30: Parker Dunshee adds velocity to sleeper profile

Will a couple extra MPH be enough to elevate the sleeper RHP?

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San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Our 2021 Community Prospect List adds its final member, and an excellent sleeper choice in pitcher Parker Dunshee. 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%)
  17. Jordan Diaz, 3B (+21%)
  18. Seth Brown, OF (+11%)
  19. Junior Perez, OF (+21%)
  20. Buddy Reed, OF (+11%)
  21. Wandisson Charles, RHP (+25%)
  22. Colin Peluse, RHP (+23%)
  23. Lazaro Armenteros, OF (+10%)
  24. Kyle McCann, C (+18%)
  25. Jeremy Eierman, SS (+2%)
  26. Miguel Romero, RHP (+19%)
  27. Cody Thomas, OF (+6%)
  28. Brian Howard, RHP (+4%)
  29. Aramis Garcia, C (+19%)
  30. Parker Dunshee, RHP (+24%)

For the first couple years of his pro career, Dunshee was untouchable. He literally blanked short-season Low-A with a 0.00 ERA in nearly 40 innings, then breezed through High-A and Double-A. Alongside fellow mid-round 2017 draftee Howard, the pair quickly endeared themselves to me as my new favorite sleepers. I’m sticking with them until the end, one way or other.

That doesn’t mean Dunshee is devoid of limitations — can’t be a sleeper without weaknesses or risk to overcome. To this point he’s dominated lower competition with his command of a wide arsenal of offerings, but he’ll need to prove that he can continue to succeed against more advanced batters without big velocity or a menacing out-pitch.

Indeed, the right-hander struggled in his first taste of Triple-A in 2019, but as time went on he settled in and found a rhythm.

  • Dunshee, AAA early: 6.49 ERA, 59⅔ ip, 54 Ks, 29 BB, 16 HR, 7.13 FIP
  • Dunshee, AAA later: 3.34 ERA, 32⅓ ip, 36 Ks, 8 BB, 5 HR, 4.51 FIP

It’s a bunch of small samples, and every minor league level gets a bit weaker at the end of the year when top prospects are called up, but it was still encouraging to see Dunshee improve as he got used to pitching in the ridiculous Pacific Coast League and the launching pad of Las Vegas Ballpark. His good split included seven starts, and five of them were either in Vegas, Albuquerque, El Paso, or Omaha, some of the top hitter’s paradises in the sport.

Like Howard, Dunshee put the lost 2020 pandemic season to good use, strengthening his arm and picking up some extra velocity, 93-95 mph according to MLB Pipeline. Combined with his high spin rate, will it be enough to give him the extra push he needs toward MLB, and success in Oakland’s rotation? In a best-case scenario, we begin to find out this summer.

That wraps up our CPL for the year! However, there’s still the chance someone could be traded or otherwise cut, so we’re doing one more vote in the comments section to choose a couple alternates. The top two finishers on this ballot will take unofficial 31st and 32nd spots on the list, to be elevated if a place opens up in the next few weeks.

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 two players who receive the most Rec’s earn the two alternate spots on the CPL.
  • No need for new nominations, because this is the last ballot for the year.
  • 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 Stevie Emanuels. He was the team’s 5th-round draft pick last summer, so he hasn’t yet pitched in a pro game. He’s got a lot going for him, and we’ll begin to see what he can do in the pros this summer.

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:

Stevie Emanuels, RHP

Expected level: Low/High-A? | Age 22

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (drafted last summer)

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (PRE-DRAFT, SUMMER 2020):

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40

Long and athletic, the 6-foot-5 Emanuels has an ideal pitcher’s frame, though he doesn’t always take full advantage of it. He throws his low-90s fastball, one that will touch 95 mph, with a loose arm and the ball jumps out of his hand, getting on the hitter in a hurry to create a lot of late swings. That happens even though he’s a bit of a short-strider with his delivery and finishes a bit upright. He’ll sometimes show two distinct breaking balls, but they often blend into an average pitch that is more slider than curve. He’ll mix in an average changeup as well.

Emanuels tends to be around the strike zone, though he doesn’t have pinpoint command. It’s possible there’s more in the tank velocity-wise as he adds weight and strength. A team taking him would likely send him out as a starter to see if what he showed this spring is for real, knowing that everything would tick up a bit if he ended up back in the bullpen.

* * *

Hogan Harris, LHP

Expected level: High-A | Age 24

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (A-): 3.12 ERA, 26 ip, 36 Ks, 9 BB, 2 HR, 3.02 FIP
2019 stats (A+): 2.51 ERA, 28⅔ ip, 29 Ks, 10 BB, 2 HR, 3.70 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40

Harris has shown he can really fill up the zone with a three-pitch mix. His fastball sits in the low 90s with some run to it. He also brings a slurvy breaking ball that looks more like a curveball. His changeup gives him another solid pitch to work with.

The injuries continue to pile up for Harris, as he entered 2021 once again having to deal with an elbow injury. When he’s on the field, he can be a very good left-hander. The problem is keeping him healthy for a full season. If Harris can work out the health issues, his repertoire projects him to be a starter in the long term.

* * *

Skye Bolt, OF

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 27

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
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:

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

The switch-hitting Bolt’s raw power has always shown better from the left side. With solid plate discipline that leads to a good number of walks, he’s able to mask his strikeout rates and hit for a decent average. Above-average speed helps Bolt, both on the basepaths and on defense. He has struggled to put together a full season in the Minors, perhaps due to a lean frame.

Bolt will have to show what he can do at the Major League level in order to stick. His solid defense and ability to play all three outfield spots should provide a future as a fourth outfielder.

* * *

Michael Guldberg, OF

Expected level: High-A? | Age 22

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (drafted last summer)

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 35 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 40

The A’s view Guldberg as a throwback-type player given his wiry 6-foot frame and pure hitting abilities. He’s a quick-twitch athlete with athleticism who can play all three outfield spots. He’s a solid runner who can also throw well.

The A’s liken him to a Chris Taylor type for his good bat-to-ball skills and sneaky pop.

* * *

Richard Guasch, RHP

Expected level: High-A? | Age 23

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (A-): 0.00 ERA, 4 ip, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR, 1.65 FIP
2019 stats (A): 4.53 ERA, 59⅔ ip, 77 Ks, 37 BB, 1 HR, 3.25 FIP

Scouting report from Melissa Lockard of The Athletic (pre-2020):

The A’s signed Guasch, an international free agent out of Cuba, in July 2018. ...

His biggest issue was command, as he walked 38. While his ERA from 2019 doesn’t jump off the page, Guasch has two swing-and-miss pitches that portend better results in the future. Patterson says Guasch’s slider is an above-average major-league offering right now and his curveball isn’t that far behind the slider in terms of effectiveness. Guasch got nearly a 50 percent swing-and-miss rate with the slider in 2019, but he threw the pitch only 23 percent of the time. Patterson says that usage rate will increase in 2020.

The right-hander is projected as a starter, and his fastball has enough cut to work effectively with his two breaking balls. Patterson indicated that Guasch will need to improve his changeup to remain a starter longterm, but with the plus breaking ball, he has a strong chance to be an effective major-league reliever and could be a back-end starter if the changeup improves. He turns 22 in April and should begin the season with Stockton.

* * *

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!