Getting to Know the A’s Hot New Prospects

It’s been a busy week for the A’s – and for A’s fans trying to keep up with all the team’s latest acquisitions. The bottom line is that the A’s dealt Ben Zobrist and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard for four pitching prospects and a young catching prospect – all between the ages of 20 and 25. With the A’s not looking like a winning team this year and the players they dealt all set to hit free agency after the season, there was no reason not to trade them for the best prospects the team could get. But who are these talented youngsters and what can A’s fans expect from them in the future? Let’s take a look…

 

jn641924Jacob Nottingham – Catcher

Acquired: from Houston Astros for Scott Kazmir

Drafted: 2013 – 6th Round

Age: 20 / Height: 6’3” / Weight: 230

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A/A+): 359 PA / 14 HR / .321 AVG / .379 OBP / .535 SLG / .914 OPS

The only position player the A’s acquired in their recent haul, Nottingham was drafted by the Astros in the 6th round in 2013 as a hot-hitting high school catcher. Now 20, the California native has really blossomed this season, hitting 14 home runs and 24 doubles while putting up a .321/.379/.535 slash line in 83 games in the Midwest League and the California League. His 24 walks in 359 plate appearances is atypical for the A’s, and he tends to strike out a little too much too. Nottingham is starting out in Stockton, but as long as he can keep hitting for power and hitting for a high enough average to assure that he gets on base, then the big backstop should move quickly through an A’s system that is currently devoid of top-tier catching talent.

 

dm596043Daniel Mengden – Pitcher

Acquired: from Houston Astros for Scott Kazmir

Drafted: 2014 – 4th Round

Age: 22 / Height: 6’2” / Weight: 190

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A+/A): 93 1/3 IP / 90 H / 35 ER / 26 BB / 92 K / 3.38 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

Drafted by the Astros last year in the 4th round out of Texas A&M, Mengden has the least professional experience of any of the A’s recent pitching pickups. The Houston native pitched only 11 innings after signing in 2014, but he’s put up a 3.38 ERA over 93 1/3 innings in the California League and the Midwest League this year. Mengden has shown solid command, walking just 27 while striking out 109 in 104 1/3 career minor league innings. He had a perfect game through 4 2/3 innings in his first start for Stockton last weekend and ended up allowing just 1 hit over 5 innings of work in his debut. And if that wasn’t enough to start him off on the right foot, Mengden has also been known to wax his mustache a la Rollie Fingers at times, which ought to help endear him to A’s fans as well.

 

cm641861Casey Meisner – Pitcher

Acquired: from New York Mets for Tyler Clippard

Drafted: 2013 – 3rd Round

Age: 20 / Height: 6’7” / Weight: 190

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A/A+): 111 IP / 94 H / 29 ER / 33 BB / 89 K / 2.35 ERA / 1.14 WHIP

The youngest and the tallest of the A’s pitching pickups, the 6’7” righty was drafted by the Mets in the 3rd round in 2013 as a hard-throwing high schooler. Many consider Meisner to be the best pure pitching prospect of the pack, and MLB.com currently ranks him as the A’s #10 prospect. The Texas native just turned 20 in May and has thrown just 35 innings in High-A, so he’s still got a ways to go. But with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 111 innings in the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League this season, Meisner clearly knows what he’s doing despite his young age, and he’ll have the chance to try to work his magic on California League hitters when he soon joins Stockton.

 

sm640455Sean Manaea – Pitcher

Acquired: from Kansas City Royals for Ben Zobrist

Drafted: 2013 – 1st Round

Age: 23 / Height: 6’5” / Weight: 235

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2015 (AA/A+/Rk): 31 2/3 IP / 33 H / 13 ER / 11 BB / 39 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.39 WHIP

The only 1st-round pick in the pack, Manaea was selected 34th overall with the Royals’ second pick in the 1st round of the 2013 draft and many think he has the biggest upside of the bunch. The big lefty out of Indiana State was slowed by an abdominal injury earlier this season but, when healthy, has shown the ability to accumulate strikeouts in bunches. Manaea has whiffed 185 batters over 153 1/3 career minor league innings while allowing just 7 home runs over that time. And after dominating at High-A last season, he’ll get the chance to show what he can do with Midland at Double-A during the final month of the minor league season.

 

ab605156Aaron Brooks – Pitcher

Acquired: from Kansas City Royals for Ben Zobrist

Drafted: 2011 – 9th Round

Age: 25 / Height: 6’4” / Weight: 220

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (AAA): 106 2/3 IP / 118 H / 44 ER / 21 BB / 92 K / 3.71 ERA / 1.30 WHIP

2015: (MLB): 4 1/3 IP / 6 H / 3 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 6.23 ERA / 1.39 WHIP

The most experienced of the A’s recent pitching acquisitions, the 25-year-old Brooks has appeared in a total of 4 games for the Royals over the past two seasons while also pitching in 43 games at Triple-A. The California native has shown exceptional control over his career and has walked just 21 batters in 106 2/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha this year. Since he isn’t particularly overpowering, Brooks probably profiles as more of a back-end starter, and he’ll get the chance to make his first start for the A’s this Saturday against Cleveland.

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