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Oakland A’s Community Prospect List No. 18

Oakland Athletics Photo Day Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Getty Images

First baseman Ryan Noda is the latest addition to the Athletics Nation Community Prospect List for the 2023 season. Noda won by five votes over Luis Morales and slots into the No. 17 spot on the list. Outfielder Henry Bolt edged out Connor Capel and joins the voting list for the next round.

Here is a look at the complete list 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
  12. Freddy Tarnok, RHP
  13. Darell Hernaiz, INF
  14. Brett Harris, 3B
  15. J.T. Ginn, RHP
  16. Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
  17. Ryan Noda, 1B

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.

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.

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.

Junior Perez, OF

From FanGraphs

Perez was the PTBNL San Diego sent to Oakland for Jorge Mateo. He posted tremendous output in the 2019 AZL, looking like a prototypical corner outfielder with power during his brightest moments, while showing some underlying swing-and-miss on paper. The swing-and-miss piece dominated his 2021, in both a more concerning statistical way and during in-person looks. Perez just does not appear as explosive as he was in 2019 and has struggled to catch even fringe velocity, though this could be the result of the ultra-long layoff. He’s only 20 and produced among the highest max exit velos in the system this year. As a corner outfield prospect, he’ll need to start producing on paper in 2022, but the raw power he has for his age is keeping his prospectdom afloat for now.

Henry Bolte, OF

From Baseball America

Scouting Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 60. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

Scouting Report: Bolte draws some comparisons to fellow A’s prospect Denzel Clarke in the sense both are extremely tooled up with a clear need to develop their hitting ability. Bolte is already one of the most dynamic athletes in Oakland’s system and has a chance for double-plus raw power as he gets stronger. Bolte’s contact ability will be tested without improvements to his swing, approach and pitch recognition. His swing gets long at times, leading to plenty of swing and miss in the strike zone. The A’s focused on reworking parts of his swing during instructs, toning down his leg kick and stride to help improve his balance and setup. The rest of Bolte’s skill set is eye-opening. He’s a plus runner with a strong throwing arm and a chance to be an elite defender in center field.

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.