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MLB Pipeline Top 30 A’s prospects list bolstered by new acquisitions

New list includes 8 prospects from latest rebuilding trades

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Dodgers
Cristian Pache slides in at No. 4
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s farm has undergone a revamp since last summer. Several prospects were traded away at the deadline in July, and then over the offseason a slew of new youngsters arrived in rebuilding trades.

This week, MLB Pipeline released its updated Top 30 list for the A’s farm system. The No. 1 spot is the same, sticking with the exciting bat of Tyler Soderstrom, but the rest of the rankings have changed substantially. Nine of the names joined the organization since the end of last season, including eight from the blockbuster deals in March, plus another four from last summer’s draft.

See below for the full list. I’m reproducing it in its entirety because it changes during the season, quickly and frequently, whenever anybody graduates to MLB or moves teams. This is here as a record of how the list started, since that info is not saved anywhere else.

  1. Tyler Soderstrom, C
  2. Shea Langeliers, C
  3. Zack Gelof, 3B
  4. Cristian Pache, OF
  5. Nick Allen, SS
  6. Max Muncy, SS
  7. Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
  8. J.T. Ginn, RHP
  9. Ryan Cusick, RHP
  10. Brayan Buelvas, OF
  11. Pedro Pineda, OF
  12. Colin Peluse, RHP
  13. Daulton Jefferies, RHP
  14. A.J. Puk, LHP
  15. Jordan Diaz, 3B
  16. Kevin Smith, IF
  17. Denzel Clarke, OF
  18. Joey Estes, RHP
  19. Mason Miller, RHP
  20. Lawrence Butler, OF
  21. Jeff Criswell, RHP
  22. Zack Logue, LHP
  23. Robert Puason, SS
  24. Jorge Juan, RHP
  25. Luis Barrera, OF
  26. Logan Davidson, SS
  27. Cody Thomas, OF
  28. Jonah Bride, UT
  29. Michael Guldberg, OF
  30. Brent Honeywell, RHP

Before we go further, a quick note about our own Community Prospect List here at Athletics Nation.

Normally we vote on it in January, but the lockout got in the way. We all knew significant trades were coming that would reshape the entire farm, and indeed that happened, so it would have been pointless to vote before the rebuild because we would have needed to redo the whole thing anyway. There is a mechanism for retroactively inserting new acquisitions, but it’s designed for individual exceptions, not for retconning 30% of the entire list including a couple top-five candidates. The CPL will still happen soon!

In the meantime, here’s a closer look at Pipeline’s rankings.

Trade acquisitions

Since the lockout ended, the A’s traded away three stars (Bassitt, Olson, Chapman) and received 10 prospects in return. Eight of those newcomers rank on Pipeline’s updated list.

  • 2: Shea Langeliers, C
  • 4: Cristian Pache, OF
  • 7: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
  • 8: J.T. Ginn, RHP
  • 9: Ryan Cusick, RHP
  • 16: Kevin Smith, IF
  • 18: Joey Estes, RHP
  • 22: Zack Logue, LHP

Two of them land in the Top 5, with Langeliers and Pache both representing high talent that’s close to MLB-ready. Half of the Top 10 is new from the trades, including a few lower-minors pitchers with strong ceilings. Among the lower ranks, Smith and Logue have lower upsides but could contribute in the majors this year, while Estes is a young lower-minors sleeper.

In addition to that list, Brent Honeywell (No. 30) was acquired in a smaller trade back in November. He was expected to compete for an MLB rotation spot, but unfortunately he’s been shut down indefinitely due to injury.

2021 draft

There are a few more relatively new names, from last summer’s draft.

  • 3: Zack Gelof, 3B (2nd round)
  • 6: Max Muncy, SS (1st round)
  • 17: Denzel Clarke, OF (4th round)
  • 19: Mason Miller, RHP (3rd round)

The 2nd-rounder Gelof had a strong pro debut after the draft, and he already jumped up above 1st-rounder Muncy. As for the others, although Miller was drafted ahead of Clarke, the latter got a higher signing bonus, so perhaps it’s not a surprise to see them in this order so early in their careers. Miller’s 70-grade fastball is tied (with Cusick) for the highest rating among this A’s list for that particular pitch.

Risers and fallers

There was some movement among the incumbent prospects. A few notables, including their ranks from Pipeline’s pre-2021 list:

  • 13: Daulton Jefferies, RHP (last year: 4)
  • 14: A.J. Puk, LHP (last year: 2)
  • 23: Robert Puason, SS (last year: 6)
  • 25: Luis Barrera, OF (last year: 7)
  • 26: Logan Davidson, SS (last year: 5)

The hope was for Jefferies and Puk to stick on the MLB team last year, but they’re both still working on it. Puk has continued to deal with injury setbacks, though at this exact moment he’s healthy. The book is not closed on them by any means, but their stock will now fall with each passing summer until or unless they pan out in the majors.

Barrera is also on the cusp of the majors, and made his debut last summer for Oakland. Last winter’s high ranking represented some optimism that he might make an even bigger jump into MLB in 2021, but it’s not terribly concerning that he didn’t yet, beyond just knocking him down the new list a bit. His 70-grade speed is tied for the highest on the list (with Pache).

Puason was a high-profile international signing whose career has gotten off to a slow start, and Davidson was a 1st-round pick (2019) who hasn’t hit much yet. Both still have time to turn things around, but they’ll need to re-establish excitement in their potential.

Two notable name who fell off the list entirely are RHP Grant Holmes, who was No. 15 the previous year, and OF Skye Bolt, who was No. 17 before. Both are on the 40-man roster but haven’t yet made the jump to MLB, though Bolt has at least debuted.

As for the risers:

  • 10: Brayan Buelvas, OF (last year: 13)
  • 11: Pedro Pineda, OF (last year: 14)
  • 12: Colin Peluse, RHP (last year: 30)

Moving up three spots might not seem like much for Buelvas and Pineda, but remember that seven of the names above them are new to the organization since last winter’s list, so it’s more like they jumped into the Top 5 of the holdovers. Peluse made the biggest overall jump after a breakout campaign that included a promotion to Double-A, and he’s one of five pitchers on the list with a 55-grade slider (with Puk, Cusick, Criswell, Honeywell).

And new additions who stepped up from within the farm:

  • 20: Lawrence Butler, OF
  • 24: Jorge Juan, RHP
  • 28: Jonah Bride, UT

Juan and Bride were added to the 40-man roster a few months ago for protection from the Rule 5 draft, though that draft ended up being canceled anyway due to the lockout. Butler was a high school draft pick in 2018 who is now making some noise entering age 21.

Who might we see in MLB in 2022?

The likeliest candidates to graduate, or at least debut:

  • 2: Shea Langeliers, C
  • 4: Cristian Pache, OF
  • 5: Nick Allen, SS
  • 13: Daulton Jefferies, RHP
  • 14: A.J. Puk, LHP
  • 16: Kevin Smith, IF
  • 22: Zack Logue, LHP
  • 25: Luis Barrera, OF
  • 27: Cody Thomas, OF
  • 28: Jonah Bride, UT
  • 30: Brent Honeywell, RHP

All of them except Langeliers are on the 40-man roster. Pache, Jefferies, Puk, Smith, Barrera, and Honeywell have already made their MLB debuts. Honeywell and Thomas are currently injured.

Among unranked prospects who are on the 40-man roster, a few more potential graduates could be Bolt or Holmes, or RHP Adam Oller or LHP Kirby Snead. Oller and Snead were the other acquisitions in this month’s rebuilding trades.

Stay tuned to vote on our own 2022 Community Prospect List here at AN!