Lawrence Butler comes in at No. 4 on the Athletics Nation mid-season community prospect list for the 2023 season. Butler won easily over infielder Darrel Hernaiz who finished second in the latest round of the voting. Right-hander Luis Morales won the latest nomination and joins the voting list.
Here is a look at the complete list:
- Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B
- Zack Gelof, 2B
- Mason Miller, RHP
- Lawrence Butler, 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.
Darrel Hernaiz, INF
Athleticism is the first thing that stands out about Hernaiz. Last season brought encouraging improvements to his offensive game, as he displayed strong bat speed and a solid ability to make contact, while also tapping into more of his power than he’s shown in the past.
Having swiped 32 bags last season, Hernaiz is a real threat on the basepaths. He could use some refining on the defensive end, with an average arm that eventually could lead to him moving off shortstop. With the A’s always placing an emphasis on versatility, he’ll likely see plenty of time at second base and maybe even third in addition to short, depending on other personnel.
Denzel Clarke, OF
With family ties that include baseball players for cousins in Josh and Bo Naylor, as well as an Olympic heptathlete in his mother, Donna, it’s no wonder why Clarke is such a superb athlete. The hitting mechanics remain raw, as he does come with a good amount of swing-and-miss, particularly against pitches with good spin, though the A’s are still hoping he can clean them up. But he brings excitement whenever he puts the ball in play, both with impressive raw power to all fields and fast-twitch actions.
Clarke does not profile as a center fielder from a body standpoint given his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame, though his plus speed and strong arm make him more than capable of handling the position on a regular basis. That speed also makes him a serious threat on the basepaths. With arguably the most exciting tools of any prospect in the system, he will continue to be a fun player to watch as he works to refine his tools.
Jacob Wilson, SS
Wilson, whose dad followed him to Grand Canyon and was an assistant coach this past season, has an intriguing combination of baseball IQ and tools. He might be one of the better pure hitters in the class, one who consistently finds the barrel and struck out in just 4.4 percent of his plate appearances during his college career. While there has been some concern over his ability to impact the ball, he did tap into his power some, smashing 12 homers and slugging .585 in 2022 and .635 this past spring.
A fringy-to-average runner, Wilson has the skills to stick at shortstop, with good actions, range and an above-average arm. He might not have the pure power profile should he have to slide over to third base, where he played as a freshman, but the contact and pitch recognition skills should enable him to reach the big leagues in a hurry regardless of where he plays defensively.
Daniel Susac, C
Susac was a standout dual-threat quarterback in high school, so he brings some athleticism along with his big 6-foot-4 frame. He has good bat-to-ball skills with legit raw power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields, which gives him the potential to impact the game on both sides of the ball.
Susac’s defensive prowess partly led to him being the second-highest ranked catcher of his Draft class. He’s agile enough behind the plate with solid receiving skills, though there is still some room for improvement. Equipped with a strong arm and lauded for his natural leadership skills in college, the A’s will look to continue his development as a backstop as he progresses through the system.
Luis Morales, RHP
Morales boasts an electric arm with a fastball that has clocked as high as 99 mph in the past and sits 94-97. He also utilizes a slider, changeup and curveball as secondary pitches that are still developing, and the A’s will look to get to work on helping him refine those offerings as he enters the system.
Morales has worked hard on preparing his body by adding about 10 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame, which should help his durability. Command is going to be key to his success, as he’s struggled with controlling his pitches in the past. If he can improve that aspect of his game, he should be able to move through the organization rather quickly and could be a frontline starter in the future if he can fulfill his potential.
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.