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Oakland A’s 2021 Community Prospect List #25: Jeremy Eierman has four out of five tools

Can he develop the crucial fifth one?

Photo provided by Vermont Lake Monsters

Our 2021 Community Prospect List adds its next member, and their highest remaining 2018 draft pick in Jeremy Eierman. 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%)

The A’s took Eierman as their third selection in the 2018 draft, in a post-2nd competitive balance round. But 1st-rounder Kyler Murray played football instead, and 2nd-rounder Jameson Hannah was traded to the Reds for Tanner Roark, leaving Eierman as the highest remaining pick from the class. After him came lefty Hogan Harris in the 3rd round, and then first baseman Alfonso Rivas in the 4th — and Rivas was also traded, for Tony Kemp.

As for Eierman, his story is the same as so many others on the list, from Davidson to Deichmann to Beck to Perez to Lazarito to McCann. He does lots of good things, but the key to it all is that he needs to make more contact and reduce his strikeouts.

In Eierman’s case, he does everything else well. He has power and speed, both of which he showed in High-A in 2019 in the form of homers and steals. His defense is rated as a plus at shortstop, and Baseball America gives him the Best Infield Arm in the A’s system. All he has to do is get that strikeout rate down from the 32.1% mark he posted in the most recent minor league season, and if he does then he could become an especially interesting prospect really quickly given all his other impressive tools.

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 Aramis Garcia. The catcher was acquired in the Elvis Andrus trade, essentially replacing Jonah Heim on the depth chart. His main tool is power, if — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — if he can make enough contact to use it. He’s got some brief MLB experience under his belt, and if he hadn’t missed the 2020 season to an injury then he may have been the Rangers starting catcher.

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:

Aramis Garcia, C

Expected level: MLB | 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 ***FROM 2019***:

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

Garcia has settled on a pull-heavy approach designed to get the most of out of his solid raw power, the product of his strength and the loft in his right-handed swing. He might hit 15-20 homers per year with regular playing time in the Majors, but his pop comes at a cost. He rolls over more soft grounders to the left side of the infield than he should and his aggressiveness means that he rarely walks.

Somewhat rough behind the plate when he entered pro ball, Garcia has worked hard to improve defensively. He has turned himself into an average receiver while also getting quicker and more accurate with his throws. The Giants have Buster Posey in the big leagues and drafted Joey Bart No. 2 overall last June, so they’ve tried to add to Garcia’s versatility by having him play first base.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

Brian Howard, RHP

Expected level: Triple-A | Age 26

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (AA): 3.25 ERA, 130 ip, 118 Ks, 39 BB, 7 HR, 3.33 FIP
2019 stats (AAA): 13.81 ERA, 14⅓ ip, 16 Ks, 8 BB, 4 HR, 7.29 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

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

Despite his size, Howard isn’t a pure stuff or power pitcher, though he does throw everything from a very good downward angle. His fastball is typically in the 89-92 mph range and he attacks the strike zone well with it. His cutter/slider is really one pitch that Howard manipulates, adding and subtracting from it when he wants to create two different offerings. He does fold in a fringe-average curve and has an OK changeup as part of his repertoire.

There’s very little margin for error for Howard since he doesn’t have put-away stuff, and while he’s generally been a strike-thrower, he’ll need to improve his ability to pitch up and down in the zone as well as his pitch sequencing to succeed as a starter. Some feel the bullpen might be a better place for him, where his fastball might tick up and he can become a two-pitch, fastball-cutter type in shorter stints.

* * *

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!