The votes are in and infielder Max Muncy will round out the top 10 of the Athletics Nation Community Prospect List for the upcoming season. Muncy beat out Denzel Clarke for the 10th spot. Right-hander Freddy Tarnok joins the list as the latest nomination.
Here is what the list looks like so far:
- Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B
- Ken Waldichuk, LHP
- Zack Gelof, 2B/3B
- Esteury Ruiz, OF
- Mason Miller, RHP
- Kyle Muller, LHP
- Jordan Diaz, INF
- Lawrence Butler, OF
- Daniel Susac, C
- Max Muncy, SS
Here is the process:
- Five nominees will appear on the ballot. The one who receives the most votes earns the top spot in the CPL while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by the next nominee.
- In the comments, commenters will nominate a player to be put onto the ballot for the next round. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec’ing that comment. The player with the most Rec’s earns the nomination.
- The format for the comment should be “Nomination: Player Name”.
- 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 players should rank.
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 60 | Overall: 50
Hoglund’s stuff plateaued in his first two college seasons, as he showed the same 89- to 93-mph riding fastball and average breaking ball that he had in high school. His stuff ticked up last fall, however, and he now works at 92-95 for five innings at a time and displays a tighter, harder slider at 84-86. His low-80s changeup serves as a solid third pitch and he can give batters a different look by dusting off a curveball he relied on more as a prepster.
With a durable 6-foot-4 frame, an easy delivery and a history of quality strikes, Hoglund already had a high floor as a back-of-the-rotation starter. Multiple scouts have likened him to a bigger version of Tanner Burns, another SEC right-hander whom the Guardians drafted 36th overall last June. Now the A’s will have to be patient to see how his stuff and control returns from the surgery, but if it does, it’s possible they got a top-10 talent from last year’s Draft.
Denzel Clarke, OF
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Clarke seems to have inherited genes from an athletic family that includes an Olympic heptathlete in his mother, Donna, as well as cousins who also happen to be professional baseball players in Josh and Bo Naylor. He’s a quick-twitch athlete whose plus speed makes him a serious threat running the bases. As expected for a player less experienced than other prospects, Clarke has room to grow in his approach at the plate, as he does swing and miss often at pitches with some spin. His raw power is evident, though, with the ability to crush fastballs well out of the yard to the opposite field.
Clarke’s ability to move around allows him to play center, but with his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, he’s likely to end up as a corner outfielder. He has all the makings of what you want in terms of player development, from the body type to his raw tools. Now he just needs to play every day.
J.T. Ginn, RHP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Ginn was hoping 2022 would be go-time after proving he was healthy, but forearm issues forced him out of action for more than two months. A sinker-heavy style has some benefits in the modern game, but it’s not as desirable as a profile that can elicit more whiffs. A few more ticks of consistent velo could be what solidifies Ginn as a mid-rotation type. Otherwise, he has a decent floor as a No. 5.
While his numbers during his full-season debut are merely decent, Hernaiz’s 2021 campaign excited the Orioles, as he entered professional baseball as a raw talent and was one of the youngest players in the Low-A East, taking only eight plate appearances against pitchers younger than he was. Hernaiz has plenty of tools and great makeup, which should help those tools actualize. He’s a plus runner with graceful defensive actions, and while he’s been primarily a shortstop so far, some wonder if he’ll need to slide left or right as his frame fills out, as he’s already much more physical than he was in high school. There’s plenty of bat speed on display here, but Hernaiz fails to really drive balls or stay through on his swing, and more than 80% of his hits in 2021 were singles. He’s a player with plenty of upside, but there’s still a good bit of time and distance between what he is now and what he could be.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Tarnok was one of the most improved pitchers in the Braves’ system prior to the trade. His stuff ticked back up after that early regression, starting with his fastball that averages around 95 mph. He’s long had an effective curve and, like many pitchers in the system, he more recently added a slider, with positive results. His average changeup is effective, especially against left-handed hitters.
He’s missed a lot more bats over the past two seasons, including whiffing 10.5 per nine in 2022 and while his command isn’t pinpoint, he’s generally around the strike zone. His athleticism should help him continue to repeat his delivery and refine his command and he should get the opportunity to impact the A’s big league staff at some point in 2023.
Vote in the comments below for your favorite by Rec’ing his “Vote: (Player Name)” comment, and post your nomination for the next round as well.