A’s Prospect Watch: May 2021

Nick Allen, Mesa Solar Sox, Arizona Fall League, October 8, 2019 - photo credit rd_79 on Flickr and @dropthearrow on Twitter

With the MiLB season finally underway, a long-awaited sight for sore eyes, all MLB teams have assigned their prized prospects to their minor league affiliates. As fans, this should start to give us an idea of how each team views its prospects. Who is close to getting the call to the majors? Who needs additional seasoning? Who is 1+ years away from making an impact? Are players blocking other players causing a glut of positional issues?

Here is my look at the A’s MiLB rosters and which prospects we might see get promoted, even graduate to the MLB level in 2021.
*All rankings listed below are based on my preseason A’s Top 50 prospects. Some players in my Top 50 are no longer with the Oakland organization.

Las Vegas Aviators (AAA):

There isn’t much to see here, as far as pitching and infielders go. The A’s have a lot of depth at the major league level, so a lot of these guys might be waiting quite a while, sans injuries to the guys ahead of them on the MLB depth chart. There are some veterans, mixed in with a few of my top 50, such as Daulton Jefferies (4), James Kaprielian (12), Grant Holmes (16) Miguel Romero (28), Brian Howard (31), and Parker Dunshee (33).

As of this writing, Jefferies is injured, otherwise, I’d say he has the best chance of seeing some serious time at the top level in 2021. The A’s have added other players such as Reymin Guduan (age 29) and Deolis Guerra (age 32, signed as a FA in late March 2021) to their 40-man, suggesting they don’t believe some of their farm arms are ready, as of yet.  Both Guduan and Guerra have performed below expectations thus far, so maybe that opens up 1-2 spots at the back-end of the bullpen for the A’s.

Where we see some possible opportunities arise is in the OF. Yes, the A’s have solid depth, but Ramon Laureano and Stephen Piscotty have shown themselves to be injury-prone in their respective careers (both have already missed time, albeit minimal, this season). Las Vegas is only carrying 4 OF’ers, as of this writing, but all 4 have a chance to see time with the A’s this season. I have them listed below in order of how I had them ranked in my preseason top-50, which also happens to be in the same order I can see them having an impact at the major league level in 2021.

*Seth Brown has already graduated to the A’s, from the alternate site, so it might still be a bit before any of the MiLB OF’ers get their phone call. 

Greg Deichmann (9): Deichmann is a power hitter, and the A’s have that covered, so maybe Barrera gets the edge due to his versatility. It will be interesting to see how quickly Deichmann’s bat gets going.

Luis Barrera (10): As I mentioned above, Barrera’s ability to play multiple OF positions coupled with his speed, might give him the edge over Deichmann should one get the call.

*Both Deichmann and Barrera are on the A’s 40-man

Buddy Reed (27): He piqued the interest of a lot of people inside and outside the organization with his play in Spring Training. I see Reed as “AAAA” type player, but there’s an outside chance he gets a shot. However, for me, I think he’s blocked by far too many players on the depth chart at this point.

Cody Thomas (NR): Acquired in the trade with the Dodgers that brought the A’s RP Adam Kolarek in exchange for Sheldon Neuse (3), Thomas just missed being eligible for my top 50. I would’ve had him ranked alongside Buddy Reed in the late 20’s/early 30’s. Thomas’s path is equally as blocked, just like Reed’s.

Midland RockHounds (AA):

Just because a guy is at AA, and not AAA, doesn’t mean he won’t get a call before someone at a higher MiLB level. Often times some of the best prospects are put in AA, due to the level of competition. Here are a few quick hits from my top 50 list:

Nick Allen, SS (5): MLB-ready glove who needs plenty of seasoning with the bat. Elvis Andrus has done very little at SS, as a replacement for Marcus Semien. Andrus has a contract for 2022 for a LOT of money, so I doubt we see a move. But pay attention. Allen could get the call if Andrus’ bat continues to struggle.

Logan Davidson, SS (6): The A’s have Allen at this level as well. Allen is the SS. So where does that leave Davidson? He will get time at 3B as a potential replacement for Matt Chapman someday perhaps. He will also see time in the OF. This is one positional change to keep an eye on.

Wandisson Charles, RP (21): Charles is on the A’s 40-man, despite being in AA. I could see him getting the call, especially as the aforementioned Guerra/Guduan are struggling.

Ty Damron, RP (47): Damron is a fringe prospect, who wouldn’t make most team’s top 50, which shows how thin the A’s minor league system is. He won’t see any time in Oakland this season and probably not at all.

Lansing Lugnuts (High-A)
Stockton Port (Low-A)

There’s really nothing of note here, as of right now. I guess the most surprising thing is that the A’s started Austin Beck (17) here (High-A) again. He is 23 and was the 6th overall pick in the 2017 draft. You would expect… No demand a player of his pedigree (as of Draft day) to be much higher in the organization. Is AA too much to ask? He is headed for a bust sooner rather than later if he doesn’t turn things around.

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