- C – Argenis Raga – 21 yo
- 2.60/.661 – PAG/APPA – (HiA Stockton)
- 2016 stats: .263/.329/.356; .686 OPS; 19 doubles, 2 home runs; 27% CS rate; .985 Fld%
Shuffling through the extensive lineup of catching prospects, it quickly became apparent that there were only a select few worthy of UTR consideration. The only catching prospect inside the current MLB Pipeline top 30 is 2016 – 3rd rounder Sean Murphy. The Wright State University (Dayton, OH) draftee posted a 2.30/.602 PAG/APPA; and batted .228 with only three extra-base hits in 23 games (across two levels – AZL and Short Season Vermont). This shifted my OAS pointer toward 2010 free agent signee Argenis Raga. The 6’1″ – 175 lb. Venezuelan began his career logging consecutive seasons in the DSL (2011-’12) followed by two seasons in the AZL (2013-14); and in his first 534 at-bats he batted .245 with 25 doubles, 3 home runs and a meager 2.06/.547 PAG APPA. Last season, Raga started with Vermont of the New York-Penn League playing only five games with the Lake Monsters (2.80/.700) before receiving a promotion to LoA Beloit. He broke out the power with 16 doubles, a couple of home runs and finished within the team’s top five in batting (.278) and slugging percentage (.383). This season Raga spent all year with HiA Stockton and showed off suggestive power, good batting average and defense that still could use some polishing. I’d like to see Raga (finally) post a full season worth of games. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend more time in HiA to begin 2017 or an assignment to AA Midland; with hopes of breaking out even more because he has the skills to do it.
- 1B – Chris Iriart – 21 yo
- 3.31/.818 combined – PAG/APPA – (AZL – 4.50/1.500; LoA Beloit – 2.94/.734; HiA Stockton – 5.00/1.111)
- 2016 stats combined: .250/.340/.503; .843 OPS; 22 home runs; .990 Fld%
It’s certainly no secret that 2012 – 1st round draft choice Matt Olson is the future at first. In his five years as a minor leaguer, Olson averaged 30 home runs, 72 runs scored and 74 RBi’s per season. Sure, he also averages 121 strikeouts per season, but we all know that’s what comes with prototypical power hitting first basemen. Now, analyzing Oakland’s first base vector, it comes in much different a fashion than their catching corp. There’s an ample amount of quality first baggers toiling in the low minors and this season’s OAS came down to two kids: Sanber Pimentel and Chris Iriart. Pimentel, a 2011 free-agent signee out of the Dominican Republic, registered a good season for HiA Stockton clubbing 18 doubles and 21 home runs, but batted only .237 with 145 strikeouts. Enter Iriart. The 2015 – 12th rounder from the University of Houston brought serious power to Short Season Vermont, but struggled to show it during games, slugging only five long balls in 69 New York-Penn League games. This season Iriart made a rather crooked ascension starting the season with the AZL squad (2 games), totally bypassing Short Season Vermont into LoA with Beloit (79 games), then onto HiA Stockton (16 games). His overall numbers indicate that despite having work to do with his plate discipline, Iriart can hit a ball far, but he needs to work on not pulling the ball, as 83% of his balls in play went to the pull side. I think Iriart (and his 70-grade power) could spend all season in HiA, and if so, could easily challenge for the California League home run crown, which could (possibly) skyrocket him up prospect boards.
- 2B – Max Schrock – 21 yo
- 3.31/.818 combined – PAG/APPA – (LoA Hagerstown – 3.67/.823; HiA Potomac – 3.33/.738; HiA Stockton – 0.50/.111; Double A Midland – 2.67/.667)
- 2016 stats combined: .331/.373/.449; .823 OPS; 32 doubles, 9 home runs; 22 stolen bases; 31:42 BB:K ratio.
With hindsight being 20/20, 2014 was a pretty darn good year for UTR Organizational All-Stars when you look at MLB Pipeline’s current Oakland Athletics top 30. Franklin Barreto tops Pipeline’s list and was a UTR OAS in 2014 while with the Toronto Blue Jays. Oakland’s number seven prospect Yairo Munoz, number five ranked Renato Nunez and number eight Chad Pinder were all 2014 UTR Organizational All-Stars as well. Not bad huh? Repeating this feat may be a tall task, but all I do is report on who’s performing well. It’s not about projection here. One kid I’m a year behind, but wished like hell was UTR eligible is 2012 – 6th rounder Joey Wendle. Drafted by Cleveland, Wendle hit the prospect scene by storm. But over five minor league seasons, the West Chester University (West Chester, PA) draftee — and friend of my close friend, fantasy football contributor @rotounderworld Brennan Pankiw (@FFBren) — logged a five year PAG/APPA of 3.31/.759. So, you get the idea that Oakland is pretty loaded with middle infield prospects. There’s a caveat, however, to my A’s second base choice Max Schrock. Despite the fact that the vast majority of his playing time this season was spent as a Washington National, he’s now an Oakland A; and if someone asks for fantasy advice, I have to point to Oakland’s prospect list. However, I scratch my head over the trade that brought the 2015 – 13th rounder out of South Carolina to Oakland. But regardless, Schrock can flat out hit. He posted a combined 3.43/.759 PAG/APPA over four levels this season. I have a feeling the A’s will assign the 5’8″ – 180 lb. lefty back to HiA Stockton to help him get back on track after a late season production dip, but he could shoot up prospect boards with a repeat of his 2016.
- 3B – Jose Brizuela – 23 yo
- 2.97/.737 – PAG/APPA – (HiA Stockton)
- 2016 stats: .254/.337/.446; .784 OPS; 18 doubles, 16 home runs
The Oakland third base vector is stacked. According to Jason Martinez (@jasonmartinez) at RosterResource.com (@rosterresource), the A’s plan to go with 24-year-old Ryon Healy at third base next season. Yet, he’s just the tip of the iceberg. Also in the fold is 23-year-old Matt Chapman and 22-year-old Renato Nunez, both of whom are embedded within several Athletic top 5 prospect lists. So, this year’s OAS choice, Jose Brizuela, has a big hill to climb. Thirty-nine percent of his hits for the Ports this year went for extra bases and his 16 home runs ranked second only behind first baseman Sandber Pimentel. Brizuela’s production has maintained consistency throughout his three years in the organization. With Healy in the majors, and Chapman, and Nunoz both at AAA, I project Brizuela to begin 2017 at Double-A Midland, where he could prove whether he belongs in the conversation as a legitimate third base prospect or not.
- SS – Richie Martin – 21 yo
- 2.74/.623 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Stockton – 2.65/.597; Double-A Midland – 4.20/1.167)
- 2016 stats: .235/.327/.322; .649 OPS; 15 doubles, 3 home runs; 14 stolen bases.
Looking into Oakland’s crystal ball, the future up the middle will be where #1 prospect Franklin Barreto and fellow top 5’er Yairo Munoz play. Both are more than capable of playing both shortstop and second base. If the decision was up to me, Barreto would man second base, as Munoz’ natural defensive skills are a better fit at short. However, let’s not allow this situation to overshadow the fact that 2015 – 1st rounder Richie Martin is a future star in his own right. The former Florida Gator debuted with Vermont of the New York-Penn League where he registered a 2.82/.637 PAG/APPA in 51 games. This was enough for the organization to promote the 5’11” – 160 lb. righty to HiA Stockton to start the 2016 season. His numbers dipped slightly from 2015, but that took a turn for the better once Martin was promoted to AA Midland. Now I know Martin’s five games for the RockHounds is a small sample size, but Martin is a premium athlete who can drive the ball to all parts of the field and is most effective going the other way. However, it’s Martin’s highlight reel wizardry in the infield that will vault him to the majors. With the aforementioned Barreto and Nunez ahead of Martin on the depth chart, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Martin was the focal point of future trade talks.
- LF – Luis Barrera – 20 yo
- 3.03/. combined – PAG/APPA – (Short Season Vermont – 3.22/.746; LoA Beloit – 2.63/.658)
- 2016 stats combined: .310/.361/.428; .789 OPS; 14 doubles, 3 home runs
Barrera fits perfectly into the UTR mold. The 6’0″ – 180 lb lefty came to the A’s as a free-agent signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. The organization assigned him to the Dominican Summer League, which is where he spent his first two seasons as a pro batting a combined .174 in 55 games. The 2015 season saw a breakout of sorts in the Arizona League, as Barrera hit .287, but only logged five extra-base hits and drove in only 12 runs. This past season, the Traboril native saw even more improvements across two levels and Barrera finally began showing the power that the organization was hoping to see from the very beginning. Barrera brings a good swing to the plate and scouts say, “His bat stays in the hitting zone a long time, he hits to all fields and he offers average power potential.” He lacks speed and will need to work on strengthening his arm in order to stay in left, but the A’s hope that his methodical progression will eventually produce the left field prospect the system needs.
- CF – B.J. Boyd – 22 yo
- 3.00/.661 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Stockton – 3.08/.746; AAA Nashville – 1.86/.406)
- 2016 stats combined: .287/.344/.386; .730 OPS; 14 doubles, 8 home runs
The Athletics drafted Boyd in the 4th round of the 2012 draft after scouts raved about his four-tool ability. Boyd came out of Palo Alto HS (CA) boasting supreme athleticism, plus-plus speed, above average defense and the ability to hit for high average. Boyd’s first two seasons as a pro went as planned. In his debut with the Arizona League, he posted a 39-game PAG/APPA of 4.05/.946. The following season he posted 71 games with Vermont of the New York-Penn League. His production dipped a little, but the 5’11” – 230 lb. lefty still logged a 2.85/.763 PAG/APPA. Boyd’s first year in full-season ball was a bit of a struggle registering a 2.45/.587 with Beloit of the Midwest League, which is known as a pitcher’s league. He rebounded in 2015 with a promotion to HiA Stockton, but it wasn’t the robust increase the organization was expecting (2.70/.697), but he did hit .270 and recorded career highs in doubles and steals. This season, Boyd repeated HiA and worked on becoming the hitter the organization saw when he was drafted batting .288. I expect the A’s to promote Boyd to AA Midland for 2017 with hope he can continue to build upon the bevy of skills he flashes on the field.
- RF – Tyler Marincov – 24 yo
- 3.37/.783 combined – PAG/APPA – (HiA Stockton – 4.28/.922; AA Midland – 3.05/.728)
- 2016 stats combined: .265/.341/.436; .776 OPS; 26 doubles, 19 home runs; 12 stolen bases
This is a rather bitter sweet moment of sorts. Not in my choosing Tyler Marincov as my Oakland A’s Organizational All-Star right fielder. But it’s the end of the line for the only right fielder who’s ever graced the Oakland A’s Organizational All-Star right field spot. Sadly, Marincov has reached UTR age limit requirements, but the thing is, he’s earned every accolade sent his way starting in 2014 (here’s what I had to say about him.) Unfortunately I was unable to post write-ups for the 2015 UTR OAS installment, but that was then. Now, I’ve always expressed my distaste for player comparisons. However, Marincov’s reign ends with more questions than answers; and it’s based upon comparison to fellow outfielder, organizational mate Jaycob Brugman. If you click on the link above, you’ll see that I compared Marincov to Brugman; and when you look at their stats from two years ago, they were quite similar. So, why is Brugman sitting in Oakland’s top 30 and Marincov isn’t despite their career numbers being strikingly similar? In 460 career games, the 6’2″ – 205 lb. North Florida draftee Marincov carries a slash line of .257/.331/.426/.757 with a 3.18/.753 PAG/APPA. The Brigham Young alum Brugman boasts a 433 game slash of .274/.343/.434/.777 with a 3.20/.747 PAG/APPA. I mean, has there been that much of a disparity between the two over the last four years? The numbers say all they need to and I believe Marincov’s ground work and upper minors projection means he should garner major league consideration soon.