Tag: Washington Nationals minor league players

A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2012

Former top prospect Jemile Weeks - who will be the next to make it big? (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It seems like there’s a new top prospect list popping up from someone everyday for A’s fans to chew over and debate. There are usually certain similarities amongst them that you can count on, like Jarrod Parker and Michael Choice being somewhere in the top tier. Each of them usually has its own particular peculiarities though, like slotting someone in the top 10 whom no one else even bothers to mention.

So it occurred to me to take a look at a sampling of credible top prospect lists and construct a consensus top ten prospect list for the A’s. I’ve chosen to include half a dozen lists from sources that seem credible to me, including Jonathan Mayo/MLB.com, Baseball America, Oakland Clubhouse/Scout.com, John Sickels, Baseball Prospectus, and Top Prospect Alert. All of them have been updated in the last month to include all the prospects acquired in the deals with the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Red Sox.

For the purposes of this list, I’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.

You’ll notice that half of the consensus top ten prospects are pitchers, including four of the top five prospects. Half the list is also made up of new players acquired in the deals with the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Red Sox, showing just how much these deals served to rejuvenate the A’s minor league system.

Interestingly enough, all four of the prospects acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals made the consensus top ten, showing that no matter how reluctant some A’s fans were to accept life without Gio, his trade could really end up forming the basis of a highly effective A’s starting rotation for many years to come.

Since some of these players also appeared in a recent “new prospects” roundup on this blog earlier in the week, some of these player profiles might seem a little familiar to you. But hey, you might as well start getting familiar with these guys ‘cause, with any luck, you’ll be looking at them for a long time to come! So without any further ado, let’s take a look at the A’s consensus top ten prospect list…


#1 Jarrod Parker (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


(58 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2007 – 1st Round

Arizona’s first-round draft pick in 2007, Parker missed all of the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, but came back in 2011 to post a 3.79 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings at Double-A Mobile. Acquired in the Trevor Cahill trade, the 23-year-old clearly has the stuff to eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the A’s, but he could still benefit from a little more seasoning. There’s no need for the team to rush him, but it’d be a surprise if Parker didn’t lay claim to his spot in the A’s rotation by 2013.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats


#2 Michael Choice (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


(46 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2010 – 1st Round

The A’s first-round draft pick in 2010, Choice has done little to disappoint since his signing. The 22-year-old hit 30 homers and posted a .285/.376/.542 slash line while playing center field for Class-A Stockton last year. His 134 strikeouts provide the only potential cause for concern. But he’s worked to shorten his swing and, as the best pure power hitter in the organization, the slugging outfielder should be able to quickly move up through an A’s system that’s not currently clogged with power-hitting outfielders.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds


#3 Brad Peacock (photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)


(45 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2006 – 41st Round

The lowest draft pick on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Peacock was selected straight out of high school by the Nationals in the 41st round in 2006. But he’s definitely found a way to turn heads, posting a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg in 2011. Any pitcher who manages to go from the 41st round to the top three prospects of any organization obviously has a pretty good idea what he’s doing out there on the mound, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Peacock in the A’s rotation before the 2012 season is through.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats


#4 A.J. Cole

#4 A.J. COLE

(42 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2010 – 4th Round

Another high-school draft pick, the lanky, 6’4” Cole appears to be all arms and legs. But his right arm seems to have the power mesmerize mortal men, striking out batters at a rate of 10.9 per 9 innings over his short minor league career. Acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, the Florida native could turn out to be the gem of the deal. Like most 20-year-old pitching prospects, Cole still has a few things to work on. But at his young age, he’s got plenty of upside and plenty of time to maximize it.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Stockton Ports


#5 Sonny Gray (photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)


(37 points / 5 lists)

Right-handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2011 – 1st Round

The A’s first-round draft pick in 2011, Gray has already managed to log 5 starts at Double-A Midland, giving up just 1 run in 20 innings while striking out 18. The 5’11” right-hander has been compared to Tim Hudson in that while he’s not all that physically impressive, his confident, gritty and fearless attitude sets him apart from the competition. With a good fastball and curve, it shouldn’t take long for the tough 22-year-old to fight his way into the A’s starting rotation.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds


#6 Grant Green


(34 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2009 – 1st Round

The fourth first-round draft pick on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Green was selected by the A’s in 2009 as a shortstop but has since been moved to the outfield. Midway through the 2011 season, Green took over in center field for Double-A Midland, where he turned in a .291/.343/.408 slash line. But his home run numbers dipped from 20 at Class-A Stockton in the 2010 season down to just 9 last year. His plate discipline has been an issue too, as he’s struck out three times as often as he’s walked in his minor league career. Still, he hits the ball hard and Green could earn a shot in the A’s outfield before long.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats


#7 Derek Norris (photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


(27 points / 6 lists)

Right-handed Hitting Catcher

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2007 – 4th Round

The only hitter the A’s picked up in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals, Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. His career minor league OBP of .403 no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he slugged 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. If he can just keep his average above the Mendoza line, Norris could serve to bridge the gap between Kurt Suzuki and young catching prospect Max Stassi.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds


#8 Chris Carter


(16 points / 5 lists)

Right-handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2005 – 15th Round

Acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Diamondbacks, it was originally hoped that the slugging first baseman would be anchoring the heart of the A’s lineup by now. He’s put up big power numbers in the minors, clubbing 31 home runs at Triple-A Sacramento in 2010 and posting a career minor league slugging percentage of .540. Carter could finally have a legitimate shot at showing what he can do in the majors at either first base or designated hitter for the A’s in 2012.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s


#9 Tom Milone (photo by Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)


(6 points / 3 lists)

Left-handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2008 – 10th Round

The oldest and most experienced pitcher on the A’s consensus top ten prospect list, Milone is probably the most ready to step into the A’s major league rotation in 2012. The left-hander was acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals after he posted a 3.22 ERA in 148 1/3 innings while walking a paltry 16 batters at Triple-A Syracuse last season. Milone won’t blow anyone away with his stuff, but he’s a smart lefty who knows how to make the most of what he’s got, and he should get a shot to show the A’s what he can do in 2012.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s


#10 Michael Taylor (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


(4 points / 2 lists)

Right-handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 26

Drafted 2007 – 5th Round

Along with Carter, Taylor had lots of expectations thrust upon him as soon as the A’s managed to pry him away from Philadelphia. And while the 6’5” outfielder put up stellar numbers in the Phillies system, his progress has stagnated a bit since coming to the A’s. But Taylor does still have a .296/.371/.476 career minor league slash line along with some good tools. At 26 though, 2012 may be his last real opportunity to show the A’s just what’s he’s capable of.

Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats


Honorable Mentions: Collin Cowgill (OF) 3 pts. / Jermaine Mitchell (OF) 3 pts. / Yordy Cabrera (SS) 3 pts. / Aaron Shipman (OF) 2 pts. / Renato Nunez (3B) 1 pt. / Ian Krol (SP) 1 pt. / Raul Alcantara (SP) 1 pt. / B.A. Vollmuth (3B) 1 pt.


Looking at this list, if the A’s are able to move into a new stadium in 2015, the team could be looking at an extremely talented starting rotation consisting of Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Sonny Gray and A.J. Cole, along with a promising outfield made up of Grant Green in left, Michael Choice in right and either Josh Reddick or Collin Cowgill in center. And if things go according to plan, that seems like a pretty good plan to me!



#1 – Jarrod Parker (SP) – 58 points / 6 lists

#2 – Michael Choice (OF) – 46 points / 6 lists

#3 – Brad Peacock (SP) – 45 points / 6 lists

#4 – A.J. Cole (SP) – 42 points / 6 lists

#5 – Sonny Gray (SP) – 37 points / 5 lists

#6 – Grant Green (OF) – 34 points / 6 lists

#7 – Derek Norris (C) – 27 points / 6 lists

#8 – Chris Carter (1B) – 16 points / 5 lists

#9 – Tom Milone (SP) – 6 points / 3 lists

#10 – Michael Taylor (OF) – 4 points / 2 lists


Jonathan Mayo’s Top A’s Prospects

Baseball America’s Top A’s Prospects

Oakland Clubhouse’s Top A’s Prospects

John Sickels’ Top A’s Prospects

Baseball Prospectus’ Top A’s Prospects

Top Prospect Alert’s Top A’s Prospects



Landon Powell Back In The Fold: So Who’s The A’s Back-Up Catcher?

Landon Powell - go ahead, send me back to Sacramento, I dare ya! (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Catcher Landon Powell cleared waivers and has reportedly gotten over any hurt feelings and decided to accept his assignment to Triple-A Sacramento, with an invitation to spring training. That means that, besides starting catcher Kurt Suzuki, the A’s will have three catchers with some degree of major league experience in camp this spring, all fighting it out for the chance to be Suzuki’s seldom-used back-up.

The 29-year-old Powell has served as the A’s primary back-up catcher for the past three years, averaging just 121 at-bats per season, with a career slash line of .207/.284/.328. 28-year-old backstop Anthony Recker’s line was .176/.333/.235 in just 17 at-bats with the A’s last year. And 26-year-old catcher Josh Donaldson got 32 at-bats with the A’s in 2010, with a .156/.206/.281 line. Recker had an OPS of .889 at Sacramento in 2011, while Donaldson’s Sacramento OPS was .783.

One would think that, with his experience, Powell would have the edge to open the season on the major league roster. That would put Recker and Donaldson back at Sacramento once again, with new acquisition Derek Norris and Ryan Ortiz likely to be the catching duo at Double-A Midland.

What do you think? Should Powell be favored to reclaim the back-up catching job? Should Recker or Donaldson finally be given a real shot at backing up Suzuki? Or does it really even matter who rides the pine behind Suzuki? You can check out all the contestants’ major and minor league stats at the links below…

Landon Powell – Majors

Landon Powell – Minors

Anthony Recker – Majors

Anthony Recker – Minors

Josh Donaldson – Majors

Josh Donaldson – Minors

Landon Powell

Anthony Recker

Josh Donaldson

A’s Deal Gonzalez To Washington For Four Prospects

The A’s have traded starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam to Washington for four of the Nationals’ top prospects. With the deal, the A’s will add three talented pitchers along with a power-hitting catcher to their system.

Left-hander Tom Milone had an ERA of 3.32 and struck out 155 in 148 1/3 innings last year at Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Brad Peacock had an ERA of 2.39 and struck out 177 in 146 2/3 innings while splitting the season between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. 19-year-old hurler A.J. Cole had an ERA of 4.04 and struck out 108 in 89 innings last year at Single-A Hagerstown. And catcher Derek Norris hit 20 homers in his first season at Double-A Harrisburg.

Milone and Peacock will compete for spots in the A’s starting rotation this season.

Check out all the important coverage of the trade:

Baseball Nation analyzes the developments that led to the trade

John Sickels profiles the prospects in the trade

MLBTradeRumors.com sums up the trade

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser thinks the A’s got a major haul in the deal

MLB.com’s Jane Lee says that three of the new players are better than most of the A’s current prospects

19-year-old hurler A.J. Cole

Baseball-Reference.com offers up the 4 players’ minor league stats: 

Tom Milone

Brad Peacock

A.J. Cole

Derek Norris

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