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Oakland A’s 2023 Community Prospect List No. 12

Denzel Clarke is the latest prospect to join the list.

Mesa Solar Sox v. Glendale Desert Dogs Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Outfield prospect Denzel Clarke is the latest addition to the Athletics Nation Community Prospect List for the 2023 season edging out right-hander Freddy Tarnok. Brett Harris wins the nomination for the next round and joins the list.

Here is what the list looks like so far:

  1. Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B
  2. Ken Waldichuk, LHP
  3. Zack Gelof, 2B/3B
  4. Esteury Ruiz, OF
  5. Mason Miller, RHP
  6. Kyle Muller, LHP
  7. Jordan Diaz, INF
  8. Lawrence Butler, OF
  9. Daniel Susac, C
  10. Max Muncy, SS
  11. Denzel Clarke, OF

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

From MLB Pipeline

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.

J.T. Ginn, RHP

From MLB Pipeline

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.

Darell Hernaiz, INF

From FanGraphs

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.

Freddy Tarnok, RHP

From MLB Pipeline

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.

Brett Harris, 3B

From MLB Pipeline

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

Harris’ approach at the plate is simple. He makes good contact with solid bat-to-ball skills that keep his strikeout rate low. There previously didn’t seem to be a ton of power to his game, though he was tapping into what raw pop he has more often during the start of his full-season debut. He’s an average runner on the basepaths.

Early impressions of Harris are that he’s a hard worker with good makeup who demonstrated strong leadership qualities at Gonzaga. His defense is what really stood out from his college career, both at third base and shortstop. He was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year for 2021 and demonstrated the best actions of all the young A’s infielders who played in the instructional league last fall. He’s almost exclusively been a third baseman as a pro, and if the offensive improvements he made late in his college career continue to translate, his defensive abilities should help him reach the big leagues at the hot corner. That puts more pressure on his bat, but even if that slows down, he has the feel for the game to be a solid utility type.

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.