Baseball America Top 10 Prospects Released
Every year I wait in anticipation for the Baseball America Prospect Handbook to come out. Today we get the short preview of sorts, the release of the Top Ten Prospects for the Oakland A’s on their website. They are:
- RHP – Jarrod Parker
- RHP – Brad Peacock
- RHP – Sonny Gray
- RHP – A.J. Cole
- OF – Michael Choice
- OF – Grant Green
- C – Derek Norris
- OF – Jermaine Mitchell
- OF – Michael Taylor
- LHP – Tommy Milone
Of course the full guide will have the top 30 prospects in the A’s system but the top third for now is all we can go on and wow some surprises are present. It is immediately obvious just how big an impact this December’s trades had on the A’s farm system depth as of the Top 10 half came from the trades, the four prospects that came back for Gio Gonzalez all made the list.
Most interesting to me is that Jermaine Mitchell is so high up there. Mitchell, just recently added to the 40-man roster, turned 27 in November but has just 59 games and 287 plate appearances above Double-A to his name. In 2011, he split his time between Midland and Sacramento. With the RockHounds he had 360 plate appearances hitting .355/.453/.589 which are phenomenal numbers but one has to wonder how much one can attribute to an out of this stratosphere .426 BABIP, which resulted in a .443 wOBA and 170 wRC+, a drastic improvement from the 68 wRC+ he put up in Midland in 2010. The crazy BABIP stuck with him all year as in Sacramento it was a “more reasonable” .359 leading to a .302/.401/.453 line with an equally high .383 wOBA and 117 wRC+. But it seems that Baseball America at least is fooled by his 2011 campaign. While I think there might be something there and he might be worth giving a shot (something that looked likely prior to the onslaught of ridiculous January roster moves) I have trouble believing he has more worth to the A’s than someone like Milone, or even the thus far disappointing Taylor. Clay Davenport has him projected as at best a .269/.349/.406 hitter, but probably ending up around .247/.329/.363. If this is the eighth best guy in our hundred plus player farm system… yikes. The list however does note that Mitchell is the best baserunner and the best defensive outfielder in the A’s system so that could account for a good portion of the heft that they give him that would not show up in mere batting statistics – though I don’t know how good a baserunner he really is if he had such an abysmal success rate of 59.1% (26-for-44). For what it is worth over at Scout.com Melissa Lockard and her team who see the A’s system everyday have Mitchell way down the list at #28.
Also interesting on these things is the projected future lineups. The lineup is for three seasons in the future which just happens to be the 2015 team that the A’s hope to contend with. Baseball America has it looking like this: Norris behind the plate, Chris Carter at first, Jemile Weeks at second, Cliff Pennington at shortstop, Green manning the hot corner, an outfield from left-to-right of Choice, Mitchell and Josh Reddick, with Seth Smith sticking around to DH. The rotation looks good with it being Parker, Peacock, Brett Anderson, Gray and Cole. Fautino De Los Santos is given ninth inning duties for the 2015 A’s. I gotta say that outfield really surprises me as it really is indicative of how strong they are on Mitchell, lest we forget Choice is a center-fielder right now as is Green. Fun stuff, but as we know from previous editions, this can all go up in smoke pretty quickly.