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Oakland A’s 2021 Community Prospect List #22: Colin Peluse increases his velocity

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The 9th-round pick jumps onto the radar despite the lost 2020 season — or maybe even because of it.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Our 2021 Community Prospect List adds its next member, and a new sleeper in pitcher Colin Peluse. 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%)

To this point, we’d only added five new names to our CPL compared with last year’s list. They included last summer’s 1st-round and 2nd-round draft picks, a top-dollar international amateur free agent, a recent trade acquisition, and a Rule 5 pick with a good chance of making the MLB team.

That lack of movement makes sense, as there was no 2020 minor league season for anyone to break out and raise their stock. Even the new entries so far are all high-profile additions, rather than anyone who was already here last winter.

But that trend is now snapped, as Peluse managed to upgrade his profile without even throwing a pitch in a game last year. The right-hander was the team’s 9th-round pick in 2019 and had a good pro debut in short-season, which probably would have been enough to just miss this CPL Top 30 on its own. Then a recent uptick in velocity suddenly put him on the radar.

Per Baseball America, Peluse operated in the low-90s in college but, after spending the idle summer working out, “sat 96 mph and touched 98” at instructional league last fall. They also praise his slider and overall delivery, and didn’t criticize his changeup, control, or command.

If Peluse shows up firing that kind of heat sustainably in full-season ball, he could stand as one of the few prospects who might have benefited from staying home and not playing games last summer. He was presumably relatively polished as a college pick with some early pro success under his belt, perhaps mitigating the lost year of coaching and live competition, but actually added to his physical ceiling in a way you can’t normally teach — nor achieve during the rigors of a long season.

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 Miguel Romero. He’s pitched in the A’s system since 2017 and steadily worked his way up the ladder, reaching Triple-A in 2019 and holding his ERA in check in the hitter’s paradise of Las Vegas. He spent last summer at the MLB alternate site camp and then Oakland added him to the 40-man roster during the winter, making him a strong candidate to appear in green and gold sometime this season.

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:

Miguel Romero, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 27

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AAA): 3.96 ERA, 72⅔ ip, 81 Ks, 36 BB, 11 HR, 5.27 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and Baseball America 2021 updated scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40

Romero has long looked the part of a major league reliever. His fastball sits 95 mph with sink and touches 98. He pairs it with an 86-88 mph breaking ball that shows late life. He previously struggled to commit to a third pitch, allowing hitters to sit on his heater if command of his breaking ball went awry, but his new changeup could be the answer to those problems and has the look of a potentially plus pitch. Romero’s control is firmly below-average and his walk rate has increased successively at each new level.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

Parker Dunshee, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 26

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AA): 1.89 ERA, 38 ip, 34 Ks, 11 BB, 1 HR, 3.19 FIP
2019 stats (AAA): 5.38 ERA, 92 ip, 90 Ks, 37 BB, 21 HR, 6.21 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

During his rapid climb up the ladder, Dunshee relied on deception more than stuff to miss bats and get hitters out. His fastball will sit 90-91 mph on most days and he throws a solid slider while also flipping in a get-me-over curve and his changeup is close to average now. Like many A’s farmhands, he’s worked on a cutter that’s sort of a hybrid off of his slider. He would often leave evaluators scratching their heads at how he could miss so many bats despite the overall lack of movement of his stuff.

Some of that got exposed when he got to Triple-A as his lack of an out pitch made it tough for him to find consistent success. He has to learn to live on the corners more and he’s working on throwing up in the zone more to change a hitter’s eye level. Smart on the mound and very athletic, Dunshee could be a poor man’s Kyle Hendricks type if it all clicks.

* * *

Cody Thomas, OF

Expected level: Triple-A? | Age 26

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY
2019 stats (AA): 532 PA, 108 wRC+, 23 HR, 8.6% BB, 27.1% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Thomas’ raw power is his carrying tool and it immediately puts him among the best in the A’s system in that category, and he translates it into production against both left-handers and right-handers. However, his long left-handed stroke and aggressive approach limit his ability to make contact and have resulted in a 29 percent strikeout rate as a pro. He showed a better understanding of his swing during Spring Training in 2020, fueling optimism that he could break out this year before the coronavirus canceled the Minor League season.

Thomas moves well for a 6-foot-4, 211-pounder, showing average speed once he gets going. He ran well enough to play mostly center field in his first two years in pro ball, though he has settled in right field since. He’s an average defender on the corners with a solid arm, and his power fits the right-field profile well.

* * *

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!