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Oakland A’s Community Prospect List No. 19

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Chicago Cubs Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Right-hander Luis Morales is the latest addition to the Athletics Nation Community Prospect List for the 2023 season. Morales won this round in a landslide easily outpacing Luis Medina. Right-hander Ryan Cusick won the nomination for the next round and joins the voting list.

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
  18. Luis Morales, RHP

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 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.

Ryan Cusick, RHP

From Baseball America

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 55. Changeup: 40. Control: 40

Scouting Report: Scouts loved Cusick’s power potential in college but harbored concerns about his inconsistent command. That assessment has held true so far as a pro. His plus fastball sat more in the 95-97 mph range in 2022 and the metric-savvy righthander worked with the A’s to tweak the grip on his fastball to restore some induced vertical break. He’s still working to find a consistent feel for his breaking ball. The Braves worked with Cusick to throw a harder, vertically-breaking slider. The pitch sat 85-86 and has above-average potential, but was inconsistent in both shape and command. He rarely turns to his firm, low-90s changeup that needs considerable refinement. There’s some reliever risk in Cusick’s delivery, although his injury may have contributed to his strike-throwing woes in 2022.

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.