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Luis Morales ranks first in ESPN’s top A’s prospects

Morales ranks as the only top 100 for Kiley McDaniel

Atlanta Braves v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Kiley McDaniel over at ESPN is going through his prospect week for the spring, and on Friday released his list of the top prospects for each American League team. McDaniel did fantastic work as usual and if you have a subscription you should certainly go read it, and for the Oakland Athletics there are some interesting notes from this list. The first is that of course Luis Morales is the top prospect in the system given that in ESPN’s earlier-released Top 100 he was the only Athletics representative. Despite this (and ESPN going with the conventional rookie status disqualifiaction for Mason Miller and Tyler Soderstrom) McDaniel ranked the A’s as the 25th best system in baseball and the 19th in terms of depth, or players he values as 40 FV or higher. In my opinion McDaniel’s inclusion of depth rankings provides critical insight into how the Athletics are viewed nationally, as they lack an elite prospect to build the on-paper value but seem to have a mix of solid-yet-flawed prospects that are deeper than one ranking might suggest.

McDaniel has a rosy view of the offensive talent in the Oakland system, with each of the five players after Morales all being position players. McDaniel notes that he is “lower than others” on Jacob Wilson due to the lack of power in his profile, though given a fringe-top 100 ranking he isn’t all that low comparatively. He feels that fellow shortstop prospect Darell Hernaiz is the prospect with the best chance to make an impact in Oakland this year, an opinion that seems widely held among the people that follow the team. Lastly of the notes I took from this was him calling Steven Echavarria his “favorite projection arm” from the 2023 class, and as the recipient of the high signing bonus given to a high school pitcher in Athletics history (and the highest drafted since their last successful find in Trevor Cahill) he will have to break the mold in an organization that hasn’t developed much prep pitching in recent seasons.