Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oakland A's Top 10 Prospects Summer 2008

This is the first in what I hope will be at least a weekly series of team by team prospect rankings. We're going to start off with the A's and see how it goes.

I don't like to rank hitters against pitchers and vice versa, so I'll be doing a Top 5 pitchers list followed by a Top 5 hitters list. Feel free to throw in your own suggestions.


1. Brett Anderson -- Not a big surprise here. He's got all the right stats (unless you care about minor league ERAs, which you shouldn't), and a nice family pedigree to go along with it. I still can't believe the Diamondbacks let this guy go.
Prime Projection: #1 Ace
Comparable Player: Francisco Liriano mixed with Brandon Webb

2. Trevor Cahill -- You could almost swap Cahill and Anderson if you really wanted to, but right now Cahill's control is a bit of an issue. He doesn't walk a lot of hitters, just more than Anderson walks. Cahill is very gifted and very intelligent, and I think he'll be a dominant major league starter in a few years.
Prime Projection: #1 Ace
Comparable Player: Francisco Liriano

3. Gio Gonzalez -- Gonzalez would be the #1 pitching prospect on just about every other major league team. His AAA stats this year haven't been as good as previous seasons, but he's got a lot of talent and has the potential to be a great #2 or even a solid #1 starter down the road.
Prime Projection: Great #2, solid #1
Comparable Player: Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden

4. Vincent Mazzaro -- There's a big divide between Mazzaro and the other 4 pitchers on this list, but he's still got decent talent. Good strike out numbers, good control, above average ground ball rates.
Prime Projection: Good #3
Comparable Player: Roy Oswalt, Zach Duke

5. Michel Inoa -- At 16 years old it's hard to say how successful Inoa will be. But if the A's like him to the tune of several million dollars, then I'll at least give him the #5 spot until we see more from him.
Prime Projection: ?
Comparable Player: ?

Honorable mentions: Henry Rodriguez, James Simmons, Jared Lansford


1. Chris Carter -- While not a big hitter for average, Carter is capable of a .900+ OPS and 40+ home runs. I'll be interested to see what happens at first base between him and Daric Barton.
Prime Projection: .290 ave., 44 home runs, .930 OPS
Comparable Player: Eric Davis, Jay Buhner

2. Aaron Cunningham -- Decent numbers all around, but nothing great. Think Lastings Milledge on the west coast.
Prime Projection: .310 ave., 31 home runs, .885 OPS
Comparable Player: Lastings Milledge, Joey Votto

3. Sean Doolittle -- Similar to Cunningham, but sees more pitches at the plate. Should fit right in with the A's offensive philosophy.
Prime Projection: .295 ave., 33 home runs, .880 OPS
Comparable Player: Elijah Dukes

4. Adrian Cardenas -- If we were to take into consideration Cardenas' defensive worth, he would probably be higher on this list. But this is a Top 5 hitter's list, so we're sticking strictly to offense. Good player, solid stats. Should make a very reliable major league starter.
Prime Projection: .315 ave., 24 home runs, .825 OPS
Comparable Player: Ryne Sandberg

5. Jemile Weeks -- Since being drafted this summer, Weeks has done well for himself, but it's still hard to say how successful he'll be. He has a variety of tools, but none of them really stand out.
Prime Projection: ?
Comparable Player: ?

So, there you have it. Once again, if you have any players you'd like to suggest, feel free to do so. Also, feel free to let me know if you would like me to change the format or my approach to these team ranking posts. Any and all comments are appreciated.
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Joel L said...

I agree with most of the rankings, very well done. I like the first 4 hitters in that order, as for Jemile I like him a lot but right now I'd put Josh Donaldson, Mathew Sulentic, and Jesus Guzman over him.

As far as the pitchers go I couldn't agree more. I like the first three a lot, however, I am not sold on Mazzaro yet. I know he's putting up impressive #'s right now but he worries me a little. I think Simmons is better. I love Inoa's hype and I hope he can be the nexy Felix H. Two pitchers who have been lights out this year are Andrew Carignan and Sam Demel. They're both closers with very good stuff. But with so many pitchers to choose from, I can see why they're left out.

Thanks for having this post up so soon.

James Qu said...

Man what's up w/ the high prime hr numbers for the top 3 hitters? I think Cunningham's prime maybe 15-20. But I can def see their top 3 pitching becoming the new hudson, mulder, and zito. Perhaps w/ even higher ceiling

Btw congrats on the success of your website. keep it up!

Adam G said...

Hey James, thanks for the comment.

Keep in mind that the hr totals are career highs, and not what I expect to happen every year. Of the 3 hitters you mentioned, I think maybe Carter will be the only one hitting 30+ on a frequent basis.

As for the pitchers, they're gonna' be way better than the Hudson, Mulder, Zito trio. It'll take a few years since they're all so young, but the A's are stacking they're starting pitching so well right now that they'll be dominating the west for a decade, much like the Braves in the mid 1990's.

A's pwn said...

Good analysis of the players overall, however I would just take exception to your projections of the players. I think you're a little too high on Anderson, Cahill, and Gonzalez, and WAY high on Mazzaro. Comparing him to Oswalt is doing an injustice to Oswalt who is capable of pitching 230+ innings with a 3.5:1 K:BB ratio with an ERA in the 2's. (I don't really like ERA when other stats are handy, but Oswalt's 137 ERA+ is exceptional.

I think you're too optimistic of the hitters as far as their projections go. Cunningham will never hit 30 homers and Cardenas won't OPS over .800, in my opinion. I love the optimistic tone you apply to your work though, and I would love for the projections to work out.