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Oakland A’s 2023 Community Prospect List No. 16

The top 15 is set.

MLB: JUL 06 Blue Jays at Athletics Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Right-hander J.T. Ginn narrowly defeated Gunnar Hoglund to claim the 15th spot on the Athletics Nation Community Prospect List. Robber Salinas joins the voting list as the latest nominee.

Here is the Top 15:

  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
  12. Freddy Tarnok, RHP
  13. Darell Hernaiz, INF
  14. Brett Harris, 3B
  15. J.T. Ginn

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.

Luis Morales, RHP

From MLB Pipeline

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

The right-hander is one of the most interesting and dynamic prospects in the class. His arm is electric, and it continues to dazzle scouts.

Back in Cuba, he was the best U-18 pitcher on the island, setting a record for strikeouts (161) in 82 2/3 innings between 2019 and 2020. He made his debut with Cuba’s Serie Nacional with Sancti Spiritus in 2021 and defected later in the year while playing for the Cuban U-23 team in Mexico.

He projects to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher as his fastball sits between 94-97, and he has emerging secondary pitches, including a slider, changeup and curveball. While in Mexico, Morales trained with Maels Rodríguez, a former Cuban National team pitcher and Olympian who is best known for his 100 mph fastball, to help hone his primary pitch. Morales has added about 10 pounds of muscle mass in recent months to quell any concerns about his overall strength. He is represented by Magnus Sports. The Athletics are among the teams who have shown strong interest in Morales.

Ryan Noda

From FanGraphs (Note: Write up is from last year’s Dodgers list via The Board)

The Dodgers have two older corner defender/DH types who have been superlative performers in the upper levels of the minors, both of whom were acquired from other teams. You have Justin Yurchak, who came over from the White Sox a few years ago in exchange for Manny Bañuelos, and Noda, who was a PTBNL from Toronto in the deal for Ross Stripling, and who has one of the more selective approaches in pro baseball. Not only does Noda know how to take a walk (he’s walked at a 13.3% career clip), but he tends to swing at pitches in a specific part of the strike zone, typically offering at strikes up and away from him. While he’s not toolsy or explosive in any way, Noda has enough power to be dangerous, enabled partly by his keen notion of which pitches to hunt. Average at first base (his hands are pretty good over there, his range is not) and below average in both outfield corners, Noda could play a lefty-hitting corner role for a contender or be a low-end everyday first baseman for a needy club.

Luis Medina, RHP

From MLB Pipeline

Scouting grades: Fastball: 75 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 40 | Overall: 50

Medina features electric arm speed and produces premium stuff with little effort, beginning with a fastball that sits at 96-99 mph and peaks at 103 with natural cutting action. At its best, his low-80s curveball is a true hammer that can be more unhittable than his heater. His changeup also grades as a well above-average offering at times, sitting around 90 mph and diving at the plate with splitter action.

Though Medina is athletic and has no glaring flaws in his delivery, he averaged 6.3 walks per nine innings in his first five seasons as a pro and 5.1 walks per nine last year. He doesn’t require pinpoint command to succeed with his arsenal, but he won’t be able to stay in the rotation unless he becomes more efficient. While he still has a ceiling of a frontline starter, it’s becoming increasingly more likely that he’ll wind up in a relief role.

Royber Salinas

From Baseball America

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65. Curveball: 60. Slider: 60. Control: 40

Scouting Report: Salinas is a big-bodied righthander listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, though he’s quite a bit heavier than that listed weight. He attacks hitters with a powerful three-pitch mix headlined by one of the best fastballs in the system. Salinas sat 93-95 mph with his four-seam fastball and touched 98 in 2022. The pitch has plus carry in the top of the zone, with high spin (2,400 rpm) and more than 18 inches of induced vertical break. He pairs his fastball up with multiple breaking balls that have improved significantly during the 2022 season. Salinas previously threw his slider and curveball with slower, loopier shape. By the end of the season, he was throwing a gyro slider around 87 mph that touched 90 as well as a hammer, downer curveball in the 80-82 mph range. Scouts are mixed on which breaking pitch they prefer, though both were bat-missing pitches at a high level. Salinas’ slider was thrown for a strike more frequently and was used more often, while his curve could pair nicely as a north-south complement to his fastball, with more velo separation. Salinas currently has below-average control.

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.