A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014

Former top pitching prospect Sonny Gray - who will be the next to make it big?

Former top pitching prospect Sonny Gray – who will be the next to make it big?

With the first A’s players set to report to spring training camp in just a couple of weeks, it’s time to present A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014. We’ve combined half a dozen different A’s prospect lists to come up with a consensus list that reflects a broad base of wisdom where A’s prospects are concerned.

You can find the prospect lists that we used to compile our consensus list at the very end of this piece. Some of the lists we’ve included are from better known sources and some are from lesser known sources, but they’ve all been chosen because they represent intelligent and informed opinions about the A’s system. For the purposes of this list, we’ve looked at the top ten picks from each list and assigned points to each player as follows: 10 points for each first place finish, 9 points for second, 8 for third, all the way on down to 1 point for each tenth place finish.

It’s interesting to note that the A’s 2012 top draft pick, shortstop Addison Russell, was the unanimous choice as the A’s top prospect, and the top five picks on our consensus list – Russell, McKinney, Alcantara, Ynoa and Nunez – were each included on all six lists. Six of the top ten are position players, while only four are pitchers. Half are products of the 2012 draft class. Half will also be 20 years old or younger to start the season, and only two are certain to start out above Class-A (Russell and Muncy, who are both expected to start the year at Midland), with none of the top ten starting out at Triple-A. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014…

 

A’S FARM’S CONSENSUS TOP 10 PROSPECT LIST

#1 – Addison Russell (SS) – 60 points / 6 lists

#2 – Billy McKinney (OF) – 41 points / 6 lists

#3-4 (tie) – Raul Alcantara (RHP) – 40 points / 6 lists

#3-4 (tie) – Michael Ynoa (RHP) – 40 points / 6 lists

#5 – Renato Nunez (3B) – 37 points / 6 lists

#6-7 (tie) – Daniel Robertson (SS) – 26 points / 5 lists

#6-7 (tie) – Matt Olson (1B) – 26 points / 5 lists

#8 – Bobby Wahl (RHP) – 21 points / 4 lists

#9 – Nolan Sanburn (RHP) – 12 points / 6 lists

#10 – Max Muncy (1B) – 10 points / 3 lists

 

arDSC02922dx#1 ADDISON RUSSELL

(60 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

The unanimous pick as the A’s top prospect, Russell got off to a slow start at Stockton in 2013 as the youngest player in the California League. But the then-19-year-old eventually settled in and put together a solid season both at the plate and in the field. The young shortstop slugged 29 doubles, 10 triples and 17 home runs and committed just 15 errors while playing on some pretty rocky California League fields. Russell’s attitude and his ability to learn and adapt has helped to fuel his fast rise. He’s scheduled to start the season at Double-A Midland but, if he gets off to faster start there than he did last year at Stockton, he could find himself in Sacramento before long. And with A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie set to hit free agency after the 2014 season, Russell could be just a year away from landing in Oakland.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)

 

bmc320x#2 BILLY MCKINNEY

(41 points / 6 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2013 – 1st Round

The A’s most recent 1st-round draft pick, the team went after McKinney because of his sweet swing. And the Texas native lived up to his reputation at the plate, hitting .326 in 215 at-bats in 2013. Though he might not flash a lot of power, his ability to make contact seems solid. The center fielder looked strong in the outfield as well. And a full season facing slightly more advanced pitchers in the Midwest League should tell us a lot more about how fast McKinney will rise in the future.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Beloit Snappers (A)

 

raraul-alcantara01b#3-4 (tie) RAUL ALCANTARA

(40 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 21

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

Acquired from Boston with Josh Reddick and Miles Head in the Andrew Bailey/Ryan Sweeney deal, with Sonny Gray and Dan Straily now in the majors, Alcantara has emerged as the top pitching prospect in the A’s minor league system. Splitting the season between Stockton and Beloit, the right-hander posted a 3.11 ERA and led all A’s minor league starters with a 1.16 WHIP. Alcantara flashed an impressive changeup and showed solid control – walking just 24 batters over 156 1/3 innings. The A’s might start Alcantara at Midland but, since he just turned 21, they could still take it slow and have him start the season at Stockton.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)

 

myspringtraining22_4599LI-401x600#3-4 (tie) MICHAEL YNOA

(40 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The biggest bonus baby in A’s history, the team reportedly paid Ynoa $4.25 million when they signed him as a flame-throwing teenager out of the Dominican Republic back in 2008. Many injury issues later, Ynoa made it back onto the mound to throw 75 2/3 innings in 2013. The 6’7” right-hander looked impressive at Beloit, posting a 2.14 ERA in 15 starts, but he put up a 7.71 ERA in just 21 innings at Stockton. Ynoa is capable of flashing a mid-90s fastball and possesses tremendous potential, but he still needs to prove that he can command his repertoire and endure a full season on the mound. Ynoa might get the chance to do that at Midland, but he’s more likely to start the season at Stockton.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

rnNunez_480_copy_rvisuyh3_iun9o7x5c#5 RENATO NUNEZ

(37 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 20

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

Another international bonus baby like Ynoa, the A’s reportedly signed Nunez for $2.2 million out of Venezuela in 2010. Nunez turned 19 on opening day last year and celebrated by hitting a 3-run homer. His raw power is what originally attracted the A’s to the young Venezuelan, and he notched 19 homers and 27 doubles for Beloit in 2013. Nunez could improve his plate discipline a bit though – he struck out 136 times while drawing just 28 walks last season. The third baseman also led all A’s minor leaguers with 39 errors in 114 games at the hot corner in 2013. But Nunez should get the chance to show off his bat with Stockton in the hitter-friendly California League in 2014. And as long as he continues to hit, the A’s will find a way to work around his glove.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

drdanielrobertson_mlb_display_image2#6-7 (tie) DANIEL ROBERTSON

(26 points / 5 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Drafted by the A’s with their next pick after Russell in 2012, Robertson is currently the second-best shortstop prospect in the A’s system. There was originally some question about his ability to play the position, but Robertson played solely at short last season and showed some ability to stick there. While being able to play short clearly increases his value, with Russell penciled in as the A’s shortstop of the future, Robertson should also start seeing some time at second and third to increase his versatility. The California native hit .277 with 9 home runs and a .353 OBP for Beloit in 2013. He spent part of the year hitting near the top of the lineup and showed some ability to get on base, but it’s hoped that Robertson can also develop a little more pop as his bat matures.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n4#6-7 (tie) MATT OLSON

(26 points / 5 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

The next pick by the A’s after Russell and Robertson in 2012, Olson’s raw power potential was what most-impressed scouts. And in his first full season in the A’s system in 2013, he blasted 23 homers for Beloit, which was more than any A’s minor leaguer except for fellow first baseman Max Muncy. Olson also put up 32 doubles to go with 72 walks, 148 strikeouts and a .225 batting average. More than half his hits were for extra bases, putting him in that category of players who walks, strikes out and gets extra-base hits more often than he singles. The Georgia native should have the chance to put his power on display for Stockton in the hitter-friendly California league in 2014. And if the 6’4” first baseman can just cut down on the K’s and put a few more balls in play, he could be a big hit in Mudville.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

bwEP-130529103b#8 BOBBY WAHL

(21 points / 4 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2013 – 5th Round

With more college experience than most of the A’s current crop of pitching prospects, the former Ole Miss hurler could be poised to make a quick rise. Drafted last year in the 5th-round, Wahl signed later than most and only ended up getting into 10 games, all but one with Vermont. The right-hander boasts an impressive slider and clearly was able to fool a few of the NY-Penn League hitters he faced, striking out 27 of them in his 20 2/3 innings with the Lake Monsters. Expect to see him start the 2014 season in Beloit, where the typically chilly Midwest League spring temps could help Wahl put hitters there in a deep freeze.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Beloit Snappers (A)

 

nsresized_99261-5csanburn3colbw_47-15782_t728#9 NOLAN SANBURN

(12 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2012 – 2nd Round

The first pitcher taken by the A’s in the 2012 draft, Sanburn is a hard-throwing right-hander out of the University of Arkansas. And like Wahl, he’s one of the most promising college pitchers among the A’s current crop of pitching prospects. Sanburn didn’t sign quickly after the draft and only ended up making it into 7 games with Vermont in 2012. And injury issues limited him to just 16 games last year. In his 23 appearances since being drafted, Sanburn’s posted a 2.40 ERA while striking out 45 batters in 48 2/3 innings. And with a mid-90s fastball and a solid curve, the Indiana native could move quickly if he can stay healthy and get his work in on the mound.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

mmDSC02951cx#10 MAX MUNCY

(10 points / 3 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2012 – 5th Round

Muncy led all A’s minor leaguers in home runs, RBIs, total bases and walks in 2013. The Texas native is a better-than-average defender at first base too. And his 88 walks attest to the fact that he may have the best plate discipline of any current A’s hitting prospect. 21 of his 25 home runs came in the hitter-friendly California League, which tends to exaggerate almost everyone’s power numbers, but it was still a solid season for Muncy. He struggled a bit after making the move to Midland but, after a rough first few weeks, he seemed to settle in and start having productive at-bats again. Muncy should start the 2014 season back at Midland, where he’ll be joined in the infield by shortstop Addison Russell. And of all the A’s top hitting prospects besides Russell, Muncy is probably the most advanced at this point.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)

 

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Last Year’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List

 

Baseball America’s Top A’s Prospects

MLB.com’s Top A’s Prospects

Oakland Clubhouse’s Top A’s Prospects

Bleacher Report’s Top A’s Prospects

Prospect 361’s Top A’s Prospects

Grading On The Curve’s Top A’s Prospects

 

 

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