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A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:09 am

A's farm improvements



http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob



posted: Friday, January 4, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: MLB

Upon the A's trading Nick Swisher to the White Sox yesterday for three prospects, Athletics Nation asked John Sickels about the young players the A's got. Here's Sickels on the better two, Gio Gonzalez and Faustino De Los Santos:

Gonzalez is a left-handed power pitcher with two Double-A seasons under his belt at age 22. He projects as a number two starter at the major league level, and showed much improved command this year. He could use some Triple-A time, but should be ready for a spot by 2009. De Los Santos is further away, but he's got a terrific arm and had a breakout season in the Sally League. He'd be more of a 2010 guy depending on how fast they want to rush him, but his upside is terrific.

Three weeks ago, A's GM Billy Beane picked up a bunch of prospects when he traded Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks. So what have these deals done for the organization? These were Sickels' top dozen Athletic prospects before the Haren deal:

1. Daric Barton, 1B, Grade B+
2. James Simmons, RHP, Grade B
3. Henry Alberto Rodriguez, RHP, Grade B
4. Trevor Cahill, RHP, Grade B-
5. Corey Brown, OF, Grade B-
6. Andrew Bailey, RHP, Grade B-
7. Sean Doolittle, 1B, Grade B-
8. Javier Herrera, OF, Grade C+
9. Dan Meyer, LHP, Grade C+
10. Greg Smith, LHP, Grade C+
11. Sam Demel, RHP, Grade C+
12. Andrew Carignan, RHP, Grade C+

Frankly, that's a pretty lousy list. There are plenty of teams that don't have any Grade A (or A-) prospects, but not many have just one prospect above Grade B.

And now? Here's the Top 10, with recent additions in bold:

1. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Grade B+
2. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Grade B+
3. Faustino De Los Santos, RHP, B+
4. Daric Barton, 1B, Grade B+
5. Brett Anderson, LHP, Grade B+
6. Chris Carter, 1B, Grade B+
7. James Simmons, RHP, Grade B
8. Henry Alberto Rodriguez, RHP, Grade B
9. Trevor Cahill, RHP, Grade B-
10. Aaron Cunningham, OF, Grade B-
11. Corey Brown, OF, Grade B-
12. Ryan Sweeney, OF, Grade C+

This must rank as one of the more dramatically quick transformations of a farm system in major league history. The A's have immediately gone from having one of the weaker systems in the majors to one of the best, with only the absence of a Grade A prospect preventing it from ranking among the very best.

Analytically, Beane had no choice. Last season the A's won 76 games. If they brought back the same team next season, they'd have been lucky to win 86 games, which almost surely wouldn't qualify them for the postseason. Essentially, 85 isn't much better than 75, and if you're going to win 75, you might as well win 65. Assuming, of course, that winning 65 puts you on the road to 95.

Five years ago, the A's were MLB's model franchise. They won a lot of games with just a little money.

The A's are no longer a model franchise. Now, that's the Indians. In 2003 the Indians won 68 games. In 2005 they won 93, and in 2007 they won 96. Their two best hitters? Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, both of whom were picked up in trades.

I don't know if the A's will win 95 games anytime soon. But this is the way to try.

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:11 am

Sickels on the A's Deals

http://www.athleticsnation.com/storyonly/2008/1/3/15274/46815

by Blez Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 12:57:01 PM PDT

Since I'm not exactly an expert on minor leaguers, I decided to go to someone who is one of the biggest minor league experts in all of baseball. SB Nation's very own John Sickels, who runs the absolutely stellar Minor League Ball that should be a part of your daily reading. He also does an annual minor league prospect book that is a must-own. Especially for teams like the A's that are all about their minor league system now.

Without further ado, here is my chat with John Sickels about the prospects coming to the A's in the Swisher deal:

Blez: First of all, what do you think of the players the A's got for Nick Swisher?

John Sickels: I had Gonzalez as my number one White Sox prospect, and De Los Santos as number two, both Grade B+, both among the best pitching prospects in baseball.

Blez: Can you tell me about them without giving away too much of what's in your prospect book?

Sickels: Oh, sure. Gonzalez is a left-handed power pitcher with two Double-A seasons under his belt at age 22. He projects as a number two starter at the major league level, and showed much improved command this year. He could use some Triple-A time, but should be ready for a spot by 2009. De Los Santos is further away, but he's got a terrific arm and had a breakout season in the Sally League. He'd be more of a 2010 guy depending on how fast they want to rush him, but his upside is terrific.

Blez: What about Sweeney? Some scouts seem down on him at this point. Could we see him starting for the A's in 2008?

Sickels: I must admit that I am not sanguine on Sweeney. He strikes me as an outfield version of Sean Burroughs, in the sense that his power is just not developing the way it was supposed to. I don't think he will just disappear like Burroughs, but I think he's going to be just a platoon player, not an impact bat.

Blez: If you put the Swisher deal together with the Haren deal, how much have the A's improved their farm system?

Sickels: Well, look at the Top 20 list I posted a few days ago at MinorLeagueBall.com. These two trades, plus the good early returns on the 2007 draft class, completely rebuild the farm system. It has been a huge infusion of talent in a short period of time. 2008 might be a rough year, but the future looks really good. Masterful rebuilding by Beane.

Blez: What prospects that Beane acquired do you think are the most major league ready?

Sickels: The two Gonzalezes, Gio and Carlos, should both be ready late in 2008 or in 2009. Carlos might get pushed sooner and could struggle initially.

Blez: In your estimation, are any of these guys "star" quality players? By that I mean, will there be adequate replacements for Haren and Swisher down the road? (I understand there is guesswork involved in this). I guess I'm asking who has the highest ceilings.

Sickels: Both Gonzalezes have the ability to be stars. Anderson is more of a three/four starter type, but a good one. Chris Carter could be a slugging star if he holds up at higher levels as well as he did in the Sally League. It's an impressive group, these guys aren't just role players.

Blez: It'll be interesting to see if Beane continues to add to the collection too by dealing guys like Blanton, Street and even Harden if he proves to be healthy.

Sickels: Well there is rebuilding, and then there is gutting.

Blez: I suppose A's fans actually NEED your prospect book this year just to know who is on their team.

Sickels: LOL. Probably.

Blez: You mentioned the A's 2007 draft. Will the A's also be seeing some stars come out of that draft?

Sickels: It's too early to say for sure, of course. At the least they should get some solid contributors. Simmons should get to the majors pretty soon. There are a lot of polished guys in this draft class who could advance rapidly, but no sure-fire stars.

Blez: Without doing a lot of research and just giving me an off-the-cuff answer, where would you rank the A's minor league system now? Is it among baseball's best?

Sickels: I'm not quite done with the book yet so I don't know for certain, but these trades are probably enough to get it into the top half again. They now have six B+ prospects, and that's a lot

Blez: What's a guy have to do to earn an A from Sickels?

Sickels: I'm a tough grader. To get a Grade A- or even the very rare regular Grade A is quite tough. For me, B+ is high praise.

Blez: I know, that's why I was asking. I'm glad you weren't my teacher in high school. Thanks for your time. Where can ANers pick up your prospect book?

Sickels: LOL. Basically to get a Grade A or A-, you can't have any major question left about your ability. B+ means there is still some doubt there, but the preponderance of the evidence is in your favor. Carlos Gonzalez, for example, is "just" a B+ because of his plate discipline. The book is for sale only through me. You can go to my website Johnsickels.com and order via paypal, or you can send me a check at the address listed there. It should go out in the mail the first Monday in February, and the Top 50/50 list will be sent to everyone who gives us a valid Email address as soon as it is done, probably early next week.

Blez: Thank you so much for your time, John.

Sickels: No problem!

As an aside, Sickels just happened to publish his top 20 White Sox prospects over at Minor League Ball. Go take a look. Three of the top five now reside in Oakland.

* ::

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Oakland A's Minor League System Revised

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:14 am

Oakland A's Minor League System Revised



http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2008/1/3/163048/8333

By smk1363
Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 03:30:48 PM CDT

According to BaseballProspectus

This is according to BaseballProspectus:

Five-Star Prospects

1. Daric Barton, 1B
2. Carlos Gonzalez, OF
3. Fautino de los Santos, RHP

Four-Star Prospects

4. Gio Gonzalez, LHP
5. Brett Anderson, LHP
6. Trevor Cahill, RHP

Three-Star Prospects

7. Chris Carter, 1B
8. James Simmons, RHP
9. Aaron Cunningham, OF
10. Henry Rodriguez, RHP
11. Andrew Bailey, RHP
12. Corey Brown, OF
13. Jermaine Mitchell, OF

I'd have to say this definitely makes the A's Minor League system one of the more solid ones in baseball.

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:18 am

Both Sanchez and Monasterios signed out of Venzuela in 2004 and have made their U.S. debuts this season in the GCL. Sanchez, 18, is quite athletic for a catcher and has promising catch-and-throw skills. His biggest drawback is a lack of power at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds. He's hitting .264/.343/.319 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 23 games.

Monasterios, 20, has a live, loose arm and has a fastball that has been clocked up to 96 mph. The rest of his stuff is fringy at this point. He owns a 1-2, 2.97 record in seven games (three starts). He has a 24-3 K-BB ratio, .207 opponent average and two homers allowed in 30 innings

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:23 am

Pillaged

Wow, this definitely hurts the ChiSox from 2010 and beyond. Apparently with Dye, Thome and their aging pitching staff, KW feels he is in a win-now mode.

I am also curious if this has anything to do with the talent that KC, Cleveland and Minnesota are assembling? Either way, the AL has further separated itself from the NL.

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:28 am

Wallace is Yankees Fan, Does Mitchell loses credibility as well? Sen Mitchell has ties with Boston Redsox and He's Redsox Director?

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:29 am

Wallace is Yankees Fan, Does Mitchell loses credibility as well? Sen Mitchell has ties with Boston Redsox and He's Redsox Director?

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:32 am

Top 10 Catching Prospects

1/2/08
by Adam Loberstein


http://www.projectprospect.com/top-10-catching-prospects/


7. Jesus Montero (11/28/89), ETA: 2011

After signing with the New York Yankees for $2 million as an international free agent in 2006, Jesus Montero entered the 2007 campaign with such a big target on his back that only a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder could support it. And support it he did. A native of Guacara, Venezuela, Montero posted a .280/.366/.421 vital line and .350 wOBA in 123 Rookie League plate appearances last season—as a 17-year-old. While his ceiling is hard to rival, the depth of this year’s catching class—paired with the long journey he still has to overcome to reach the Majors—slides Montero to the No. 7 slot on our list.


9. Francisco Cervelli (3/6/86), ETA: 2010

Posting a .279/.383/.397 vital line in the pitcher’s paradise that is the High-A Florida State League, Francisco Cervelli becomes the second Yankee catching prospect to earn his way into our Top 10. While it could easily be overlooked given his low slugging percentage, Cervelli managed a 34.6% XBH rate a season ago—with 24 of his 28 XBH coming in the form of doubles. Like Jesus Montero, Cervelli still has a long ways to go to reach the big leagues, but certainly has the abilities to do just that in due time







Evan, you said Hank wasn't interested in bringing back Clemens.

Hey Evan, Did you watch Clemens putrid performance against Indians in the playoffs? Where would Yankees put him , The Yankees already have 6 starters. Clemens will be a distraction to the Yankees ballclub all season long with BS Mitchell report and He's 46 years old. Let Redsox sign him or the Mets. I would rather see young kids ready to contribute and pitch. There's too much bias going against Clemens right now . Evan please can you admit it,Do you hate Clemens? Do you think it will be wise for the Yankees to invest their money on Johan who's 29 or sign Clemens who broke down last year?
Jm

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:33 am

Evan, you said Hank wasn't interested in bringing back Clemens.

Hey Evan, Did you watch Clemens putrid performance against Indians in the playoffs? Where would Yankees put him , The Yankees already have 6 starters. Clemens will be a distraction to the Yankees ballclub all season long with BS Mitchell report and He's 46 years old. Let Redsox sign him or the Mets. I would rather see young kids ready to contribute and pitch. There's too much bias going against Clemens right now . Evan please can you admit it,Do you hate Clemens? Do you think it will be wise for the Yankees to invest their money on Johan who's 29 or sign Clemens who broke down last year?

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Re: A's farm improvements

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:33 am

Top 10 Catching Prospects

1/2/08
by Adam Loberstein


http://www.projectprospect.com/top-10-catching-prospects/


7. Jesus Montero (11/28/89), ETA: 2011

After signing with the New York Yankees for $2 million as an international free agent in 2006, Jesus Montero entered the 2007 campaign with such a big target on his back that only a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder could support it. And support it he did. A native of Guacara, Venezuela, Montero posted a .280/.366/.421 vital line and .350 wOBA in 123 Rookie League plate appearances last season—as a 17-year-old. While his ceiling is hard to rival, the depth of this year’s catching class—paired with the long journey he still has to overcome to reach the Majors—slides Montero to the No. 7 slot on our list.


9. Francisco Cervelli (3/6/86), ETA: 2010

Posting a .279/.383/.397 vital line in the pitcher’s paradise that is the High-A Florida State League, Francisco Cervelli becomes the second Yankee catching prospect to earn his way into our Top 10. While it could easily be overlooked given his low slugging percentage, Cervelli managed a 34.6% XBH rate a season ago—with 24 of his 28 XBH coming in the form of doubles. Like Jesus Montero, Cervelli still has a long ways to go to reach the big leagues, but certainly has the abilities to do just that in due time

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