Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Oakland A's Prospect Top 10's: Catchers
A positional deficiency present within the A's organization, backstops have been at a premium recently with limited potentiality and overall ceiling abounding the system behind the plate. Having experienced a mild uptick with breakthrough campaigns by Seong-Min Kim and Chago Chavez predominantly within short season affiliates, the recent draftee in Max Kuhn converting towards the position during a controlled six weeks at the Papago complex during the Instructional League and bonus baby catching acquisitions in Jorge Gordon and Jose Rivas as the lone six figure additions during the ongoing present amateur signing period with a minimal pool and slot trading spree placing a leash on Oakland's ability to splurge overseas during the third to last period before an International Draft is expected to be implemented. Still, the position has yet to be replenished through the upper portions of the organization with a mere three represented upon the top ten listing having had full season experience and three additionally having played the position exclusively for less than a season with significant risk and minimal upside dotting those represented throughout, though of course not intentional with drafting not organized by positional preference but rather talent available when selecting and opposing organizations being extraordinary protective of catching prowess as chips in trades (For good reason).
Prospect: (OFP Ceiling/Realistic probability of ceiling achievement and risk associated with prospect)
1. Bruce Maxwell (45/Medium-High)
Oakland's current leading representative within a positionally depleted catching crop, Bruce Maxwell serves as the most realistic bet upon the listing to achieve a major league ceiling with plus makeup and significant tweaks to his defensive minutiae such as arm accuracy, receiving and footwork with the mitt despite raw offensive intangibles that have failed to actualize and develop to draft expectations thus far as a professional. Initially prescribed plus-plus raw pop ceiling by some amateur evaluators, Maxwell's raw power has failed to demonstrate up to collegiate expectations with his bat possessing above average 5 o' clock stuff on occasion and when warranted with an insufficient barreling ability during in-game situations that has sapped his capability to materialize his tool and presents a realistic projection of fringe with absolute average ceiling as loose hands, periodical swing elongation, in-game immaturity at the plate with frustration easily and at times viscerally being showcased by Maxwell and inconsistent extension and follow through to complete contact through the zone that had diminished his offensive potency within Stockton and has boded less than desirable statistical outputs despite ingredients still present to amass to something of major league worth. Demonstrating decent recognition abilities, Maxwell has showcased consistent tendencies to lay off middle-in breaks and stuff with elevated release with quick hands when committing to a pitch and flashing a tick above average bat speed at times with vacillating bat path that can flash an less than desirable pronounced uppercut at times with a frame that's thick through the lower half and has seen improvement as a professional after his weight had fluctuated previously with him trimming excess weight off of his midsection and thus assisting his agility behind the plate during his most recent campaign through Stockton and Midland. Maxwell's difficulty with the lumber was heavily exposed within Texas and periodically for Stockton with armside slides from the left side, outer velocity, gloveside tailing stuff from righties and middle-in plus stuff frazzling Maxwell with a nagging quality surfacing with chasing tailing spin down and away and bat speed not elite enough with his timing to catch velocity consistently towards the inner portions of the plate resulting in visible bouts of irritability and immaturity/poor body language regularly. Zone command has additionally served as a present means of development and adjustment as stuff commanded through the zone has stunted the thickly built backstop with issues catching to stuff not true or fluky appropriately spotted while sometimes forgeting to maintain shortness into the zone that has exacerbated his addressed flaw. Maxwell has made strides defensively with physical regimen boosting his quickness at catcher with improved catch and release skills and arm accuracy to capitalize upon a consistently solid average arm that can flash above average at times. Establishing a rapport with pitching staffs and receiving recognition as a backstop arms within the organization have prefered throwing to and creating batteries with, the German born bat has made an internal reputation as a quality glove with a positive clubhouse presence despite immaturity during contests that can pose a negative impact. Cumulatively, Maxwell's potential defensive attributes and stock increase behind the plate has kept his profile and major league potentiality treading water with an exploitable swing requiring significant refinement and instruction having yet to be overtly demonstrated and an insufficient barreling ability with inconsistency regarding his shortness into the zone depleting probable materialized pop impact with the stick, concluding with 40/45 (Hit), 45 (Power/55 Raw), 20 (Run), 50 (Glove) and 50/55 (Arm) potential grades that point towards a probable backup position at the majors with his initial full upper minors campaign upon the horizon during 2015. Rule 5 eligible following the conclusion of the approach season, Maxwell's offensive success and ability to acclimate to upper minors arms shall undoubtedly determine as to whether or not the Alabama product shall secure a 40 man position or rather be stashed upon the Nashville roster to avoid AA/AAA portion plucking. Showcasing a somewhat pull intensive approach with difficulty allowing the ball the travel deep into the zone and dropping the back shoulder while maintaining hand position and barreling up through extension, Maxwell's copious flaws with his hitting capability have placed a present cap upon his hit tool until an ability to counter adjust can be shown with adequate recognition ability being negated by nagging tendencies on gloveside break and spin and middle-in command/velocity that shall have to be addressed and corrected prior to arriving within the majors and being exposed to genuine advanced scouting with his hitting instruction ultimately determining his upcoming probability to sustain a major league opportunity.
2. Seong-Min Kim (45/Extremely High)
Instructional League report:
"Serving as the backstop for the hefty majority of the arms for Oakland during his short season and Instructional League campaigns, Seong-Min Kim burst forth to prominence his loud tools behind the plate and with the lumber that vault the thickly proportioned backstop into the upper echelon of the Athletics developmental system. Boasting a massive 6'2"/250 pound frame, though with the weight fairly well distributed and not centralized within any one lone region, Kim announces his presence instantaneously upon stepping footy onto the diamond with the extremely thick Korean bonus baby inking for $510,000 during the 2011 offseason additionally weilding plus to plus-plus raw power potentiality to accompany his heavy build. Incorporating a pronounced uppercut through his bat path, Kim utilizes his average bat speed and strong frame to make loud contact upon tracking and recognizing a pitch appropriately, an aspect the rare Pacific Rim catcher must greatly continue to improve upon. Kim often commits towards fastballs, with an exaggerated side step and foot raise that shall cost the Korean as he ascends to grapple with full season arms as sliders tailing outside and 12-6 breaks consistently trip Kim and diminish his capability to demonstrate his plus potential power projection with a swing often loopy and a tendency to sometimes be forgetful to remain short into the zone. Kim's mobility behind the plate additionally presents an issue as the gigantic backstop struggles to appropriately get behind balls and get into glove position while still amending his defensive negatives with an ability to call contests and a rapid release. Kim's arm strength boasts another awe inspring attribute with an easy plus grade stamped upon the 21 year old's cannon with a capability to generate pop times from 1.82 to 1.91 with lackluster footwork which presents more significant incremental subtractions upon sharpening his quickness as Kim likely presents the most superior catching arm throughout the Oakland organization. With a nelegable tool within that of his blatantly subpar speed upon the basepaths, Kim concludes with 40 (Hit). 60+ (Raw Power), 20 (Run), 60+ (Arm), 40-55 (Glove) grades with significant developmental instruction still for the collegiate draftee age catcher following two consecutive campaigns in which Oakland refrained from utilizing Kim within significant in-game situations prior towards his AZL breakthrough versus underwhelming rookie league repetiores. Essentially a pure fastball dependent bat the moment with pull tendencies and an inherent difficultly to recognize and track breaking offerings, Kim still requires copious seasoning and assistance through his gradual ascent upwards through Oakland's affiliates as one of the Athletics' more toolsy and upside based positional prospects with his probable potentiality to eventually acquire a major league opportunity definitively hinging upon the ability of Kim to greater recognize secondary offerings and ultimately prioritize his hitting development. Still certainly an unaccustomed and loud flag to plant within the often untapped amateur Pacific Rim market, Seong-Min Kim shall service as a pivotal representative for the Oakland development staff as a posterchild for future Asain recruiting endeavors even if Kim's ultimate offensive ceiling may have an extraordinarily slight chance of actualizing"
The heaviest tool oriented name on the listing, Kim's easy plus arm with soft hands and rapid release and plus raw pop, though predominantly 5 o' clock at the moment, provide some dreaming off of the rarely seen high dollar Pacific Rim amateur signing. With the frame a probable issue, already 250+ pounds with footwork, blocking and mobility issues with the mitt though fairly evenly distributed, Kim shall have to prioritize physical condition and attempt to develop his hit tool and recognition ability to an extent where his pop can be utilized consistently during game situations. Showcasing an exaggerated slide step and often selling out on fastballs, leading to continuously getting poached off the front foot by fringe secondaries, Kim's recognition ability, aggressiveness, occasional tendency to collapse the inner elbow and elongate the swing and short duration within the zone due to a pronounced uppercut while often selling out for power shall have to be modified with miticulous instruction with fringe bat speed and middle-in holes dotting his swing at the moment preventing the Korean addition from consistently flashing stuff as he was able to demonstrate during this most recent AZL stint, proving an ability to capitalize off of mistakes and true stuff with discipline refinement that gradually dissipated through Vermont and the Instructional League.
3. Santiago "Chago" Chavez (40-45/High)
Instructional League report:
"Flanking his International backstop companions, Santiago Chavez flashed admirable maturity throughout his stateside debut following two consecutive campaigns amongst within the La Victoria Dominican academy and a 2011 acquisition for $200.000 from the Saltillo region in Mexico. The thickly built 19 year old boasting a 5'11"/190 pound frame possesses minimal offensive upside with subpar bat speed and thus a lessened ability to square plus velocity unless having guessed on pitch location, which Chavez did ultimately guess correctly in instances through his Instructional League stay on velocity ranging from 91-95 MPH with a decent ability to recognize exaggerated breaks, though frazzled by any secondaries flashing average with a low minors caliber pitch recognition, thus encountering difficulty upon confronting changeups and average to above average curves and sliders. A product of lackluster bat speed, Chavez' power potentiality bodes an extraordinarily low ceiling given the tradional catching offensive profile though could potentially increase to a marginal extent as he becomes more in touch and coordinated with his physical frame and develops more strength. Routinely generating 4.8-4.9 times out of the box, Chavez also presents subpar speed upon the basepaths, though an aspect not relevant for a backstop given his profile and potential projection. Chavez' redeeming components amongst his skill set lie within that of his defensive capabilities, capable enough to lift the teenage Latin American catching prospect towards the cusp of the majors with pinpoint and outstanding blocking, arm accuracy,release, footwork, receiving and game calling tendencies accumulating to potential plus-plus defensive grades while already demonstatring an above average defensive package at the moment just weeks following his 19th birthday while flashing extreme maturity given his youth as well. Chavez' arm strength routinely generated 50-55 grades with consistent release and mechanics behind the plate which permits the Carribean youngster to play up his average arm considerably as Chavez was able to successfully gun 13 of 18 attempted basestealers within Vermont and 7 of 8 including a pair of pickoffs at first and third base during a four game duration amongst his fellow Instructional League competition in Arizona with superb accuracy off his throws laced directly in front of bag continuously. Chavez' extraordinarily polished defensive intangibles provide a probable major league projection for the stocky backstop, though his offensive tools lag significantly behind his glove not weilding a stick boding even average potentiality with a definitive permanent 9th position within a probable lineup having to feast and ultimately capitalize upon being a mistake bat. Regardless, Chavez' glove at the very least vaults him to a capable backup post with a floor residing in that of an organizational asset that shall provide instruction and guidance to upcoming pitching and catching farmhands throughout the system. Concluding with 35 (Hit), 25 (Power), 30 (Run), 65 (Glove) and 55 (Arm) projections, Santiago Chavez still shall become a useable cog to some extent for Oakland as he gradually ascends and embarks upon a 2015 campaign in which the Mexican catching prospect shall remain 19 until August and possibly vacillate between affiliates as he experienced through his stateside debut"
With pronounced maturity with the leather, Chavez at the very worst services as an organizational piece that can service as an impromptu coach for imcoming batteries throughout the system. With outstanding arm accuracy, release and footwork despite some occasional misjudgements on pitch movement, Chavez has established himself as a mitt pitchers within the organization have enjoyed and prefered throwing to with helium enough on the glove and polish probable to actualize on a backup ceiling despite underwhelming bat speed, recognition, strength and periodical mechanical inconsistency that diminish his likely ability to capitalize with the bat against upper caliber competition.
4. Max Kuhn (40-45/High)
Instructional League report:
"Forming the battery with Kyle Finnegan during his mechanical tweak was Max Kuhn, the previous utility cog at Vermont following his 13th round selection by Oakland after being plucked for the second consecutive instance by the Athletics after his preparatory selection out of high school in 2011. A blatantly offensively oriented prospect, Kuhn provides value through a thunderous bat with 60 grade raw power which, while likely shall not actualize to its full potential, has been flashed in instances including an appearance within the NYPL clearing a batter's eye at 420 feet to CF and making some of the most visceral contact at the Instructional camp injuring tagging a fastball middle of the zone at Papago well out of the ballpark to pull center keeping the bat head steady through the zone with a solid follow through with strong, quick wrists that resulted in a monsterous blast out of the facility that highlighted the power oriented contingent of the cast this Fall coupled with Sandber Pimentel, who tagged one on a line 400 feet to opposite center in Scottsdale, and Seong-Min Kim. Kuhn additionally possesses a swing intensive approach, with a projection having a rely upon average and power percentages to ascend through the organization with an ability to recognize and square slightly below average to slightly above average fastball velocity and make contact consistently off offspeed offerings, with the most susceptible being to changeups. Despite decent yet lacking awe inspring projection upon the offensive edge, Kuhn's defensive capabilities could easily stunt his offensive arsenal as the Kentucky alumni struggled mightily primarily stationed at third base collegiately for the Wildcats before bouncing from 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and DH duties between the AZL complex and Vermont throughout his initial Oakland professional debut. In an attempt to have Kuhn definitively latch onto a defensive post, the organization opted to audition the newly found catcher behind the plate as the 23 year old would be prevented from debuting within a game situation until the latter portion of camp. Despite never acquiring an opportunity to recordi a pop time through his appearances, Kuhn surprisingly demonstated sufficient receiving abilities with some blocking and footwork startlingly registering with just a below average grade for someone having immediately shifted to one of the more demanding defensive posts within the sport. Having demonstrated a 45-50 grade arm within left field previously during the October schedule, one could deduct Kuhn's potentiality gunning baserunners had he acquired an opportunity as Kuhn would routinely amass ~2.10 times inbetween innings when properly receiving the ball. The aspiring Snapper shall have an opportunity to greatly improve defensively upon acclimating towards the position during the offseason and March while currently settling with 40 (Hit), 55 (Power), 35 (Run), 40 (Glove), 45 (Arm) projections at the moment."
Kuhn's adequate pitch recognition, tick below average bat speed and mistake recognition coupled with extreme raw pop from the right side with strong and quick hands make him an intriguing bat first prospect with his defensive intangibles behind the plate probable to see him shift back to corner outfield or right infield duties despite some progress made with receiving ability and overall adjustment to the high glove profile position during his brief Instructional League tenure.
5. Lana Akau (45/Extremely High)
Yet another Instructional League participant within Papago to close out the tenure of the long accustomed Oakland minor league facility, Iolana Akau played sparingly similarly to his sophomore campaign within the AZL as the Hawaiian overslot acquisition continued to encounter difficulty with professional acclimation as Oakland, similarly to Seong-Min Kim, has opted to retain Akau outside of excessive game situations for controlled and concentrated development preference with Akau not providing enough of a sample to provide a tangible and definite scouting report. Showcasing a moderate, stout frame behind the plate with minimal physical projection remaining as the 19 year old has essentially filled out to the entirety of his adult stature with an average build and thick backside, Akau has been under watchful observance and been treated with kid gloves after losing a developmental campaign prior to his drafting after missing his senior high school campaign with a fractured thumb. With a lone campaign of AZL eligibility remaining, Akau is expected to ascend towards an incorporated affiliate momentarily after serving as a reserve backstop within Beloit breifly during the previous spring with his advertised defensive maturity as an amateur still flashing in stretches. Akau's offensive upside remains restrained however, with moderate bat speed sapped through continuously loose hands and an elongated stroke while having reoccurring difficulties with pitch recognition, often getting caught off on the front foot when combating and encountering a rare quality complex level changeup with armside wiggle and tailing breaks towards the outer portion of the zone, plus velocity and crisp 11-5/12-6 curves through the zone figuring difficult for Akau to track from release and lay off of. Often extending his inner elbow, Akau's barreling ability has been extremely minimal despite flashing quick hands and adequate bat speed at times with strength still needing to be prioritized for the still exceedingly raw farmhand with well below average raw pop not bailing out Akau and thus having to remain dependent upon his hitting development to carry him offensively. Flashing solid defensive intangibles behind the plate with consistently mature receiving and blocking ability, Akau pertains to less polish than fellow glove based backstop, Chago Chavez, presently with arm accuracy inconsistency with a presently fringe cannon that can eventually play to average thus having to play up on a rapid release, above average footwork and accurate ropes, all attributes still underdeveloped for the Hawaiian product with agility and mobility at the dish still clunky at times while demonstrating periodically choppy hands and tense movements at times as Akau visbilibly remains uncomfortable in game situations occasionally. Still showcasing attributes that can accumulate to an average mitt, Akau's development shall remain gradual and steady with his potential ceiling remaining extremely lofty at the moment with his status within the organization only for that of the patient. With potential grades amassing to that of 40 (Hit), 30 (Power), 30 (Run), 50+ (Glove) and 50 (Arm), Akau's ultimately ideal scenario lies in that of a leather oriented reserve backstop with some potential hit tool ability with recognition refinement and instruction to retain a shortness into the zone with proper hand placement. Only permitted to participate for a minimal amount of time within the AZL and Instrcutional League, reevaluation shall be available for Akau as he begins to progress through the system and reaches physical maturity.
6. Jose Rivas (45/Extremely High)
"Rivas is a very good athlete. Soft hands, good transfer, flashes a present average arm. Some raw power, solid contact, good bat speed"
The presently youngest player in the Athletics organization, the 16 year old Venezuelan product celebrates his 17th birthday on August 5th while already possessing a mature 6'1"/175 pound build behind the plate with tantilizing raw instincts and tools that have made the Julio Franco signee the present and ultimately likely 2014-2015 signing period bonus baby at $220,000 joining Jesus Lopez ($950K/2013), Luis Barrera ($450K/2012), Seong-Min Kim ($510K/2011), Renato Nuñez ($2.2M/2010), Wilfredo Solano ($750K/2009) and Michael Ynoa ($4.25M/2008) from previous years past. Despite minimal excessive information on the acquisition with limited international tournament exposure, the right handed bat showcases average raw pop presently that can project to above average with solid bat speed, contact rates, and a supposedly notable arm behind the plate with decent blocking ability and agility as Rivas honed his arm strength as a member of the 15U Venezuelan national javelin team. With a notable DSL debut campaign amongst fellow Caribbean signees within La Victoria this summer, the youthful backstop could head stateside as early as the impending 2015 Instructional League which would serve as the youngest Arizona Instructs participant since 2013 with Jesus Zambrano and the then 16 year old Jesus Lopez. With the potentiality to see his prospect ascend rapidly with more eyes gazing upon him and in a depleted positional sect, Rivas addresses himself as a possible breakthrough name with upcoming physical development and maturity upcoming over the next couple seasons.
7. Beau Taylor (40>/Medium)
Having continuously struggled to acclimate towards Texas League competition with difficulty adjusting to secondary command with fringy bat speed, inconsistent hands and breaking recognition issues, Taylor has been teetering upon non-prospect status for Oakland following a successful statistical romp through Stockton in 2012 and standout run following his 2014 demotion with recognition ability enough to diagnose and capitalize off of mistakes with average raw pop and condensed stroke despite bat path vacillation and inconsistency with barreling on stuff towards the inner portions of the zone. With an iffy defensive skill set possessing a fringe arm with clunky release and stiff movements and footwork, Taylor's bat likely doesn't last within the upper regions of the minors and ultimately seems destined to float throughout middle minors opportunities with some mistake hitting ability and decent semblance of the zone allowing him to tread water within amongst AA competition as a reserve component. Essentially already actualized to the extent of which his raw intangibles have shown, Taylor possesses minimal risk as an upper minors flier and filler though unlikely to achieve a major league ceiling with a potential cup of coffee possible with successful swing experimentation and a slough of injuries as Bruce Maxwell, his Texas League postseason companion, shall undoubtedly take prospect precedence and surpass the former collegiate bat.
8. Robert Mullen (40-45/Extremely High)
The Panamanian backstop now flanking fellow recent signee from the region in Jorge Gordon, Mullen's $225,000 acquisition ushered him into the La Victoria complex where the stout and average built catcher had been housed for the previous couple campaigns prior to his stateside Instructional League debut and consequential Dominican Instructs stint afterwards alongside fellow La Victoria graduate, Sandber Pimentel, with only sparingly seen participation during game situations, similarly to Lana Akau, to work within a controlled developmental environment with personal coaching from Sam Geaney inbetween appearances before San Diego's swiping the Oakland's former International scouting director to oversee their farm across the valley in Peoria. Though limited in opportunities, Mullen demomstrated a solid average arm with above average stuff flashing, though erratic and often inaccurate, with consistent 1.90-1.96 pop times behind the plate with some clunky footwork and a rapid trigger on the release to compensate with decent receiving and blocking abilities that can be further refined. Still learning how to orchestrate contests and refine his game calling abilities, Mullen showcased adequate hands with some decent agility and blocking though still somewhat underdeveloped that seemingly point towards an ultimately average ceiling with the leather and thus allowing Mullen to profile and remain at the position defensively. Flashing inconsistency with the lumber within limited offensive chances within Arizona, Mullen often demonstrated loose hands and a less than desirable bat path, remaining loopy and remaining a short time within the zone, with an aggressive, slightly early trigger and showing off inadequate recognition on armside breaks, guessing on flashing fringe changes and cuts and struggling to get around on firm, boring velocity with authority. However, Mullen's offensive raw intangibles were more visibly present while participating within Panama's Probeis ALBP league for the Industriales de Herrera with consistent, quick hands and a compact, short stroke and barreling ability that permitted his average raw pop to be showcased during in-game situation versus more immature and inferior repetiores that presents a more promising potential ceiling and means for reevaluation upon returning towards Mesa for an assured extended spring training and AZL stint this upcoming season. Visibly uncomfortable with unfavorable body language at times during his stateside appearances, acclimating towards the new nation could've potentially had a psychological affect on the teenage product, not to mention having to combat an uptick of arm effectiveness. Ultimately flashing intangibles to provide a fringe offensive résumé with a 40/45 hit tool ceiling and 45 (50 Raw Pop) power grades showcased with 30 (Run), 45/50 (Glove) and 55 (Arm) grades that could eventually amass to a consistent reserve profile despite pitch recognition difficulties, fringe bat speed and an unrefined, significant development remaining on tracking and timing to more advanced arms and velocity with a tangible and excessive sample against stateside and mature pitching not having been witnessed thus far that make his ceiling achievement unlikely to be actualized at the moment until more sufficient developmental strides are proven to be taken.
9. Argenis Raga (40>/High)
Instructional League report:
"One of Oakland's numerous international backstops showcased during the Fall within Arizona, Argenis Raga flashed improved defensive ability behind the plate with his blocking revisions glowing as the most notable with the glove. Having manned post throughout the entirety of the infield previously amongst Oakland's Dominican academy, Raga has definitively settled into a permanent catching post domestically with a fringy bat enough to carry him towards the California League with bat speed and offensive consistency not likely enough to vault him forth into the Texas League caliber fray. Having inked amongst Oakland's 2010 Caribbean splurge behind Renato Nuñez and Vicmal De La Cruz, Raga split opportunities between third, shortstop and second base while only demonstrating a legitimate capability to remain at second base throughout his dual campaigns in La Victoria prior towards a 2013 AZL debut manning primarily third base before his shift towards backstop during the most recent summer and now corresponding Instructional League. Demonstrating decent receiving ability with game calling intangibles, Raga shined for his blocking attributes and consistent capability to body behind errand breaks and hops and prevent offerings from heading towards the backstop despite a fringe average arm at best, poping within a 2.01-2.07 range throughout his Instructional League, with some inconsistent release mechanics that degrade his cumulative defensive attributes behind the plate. Still somewhat acclimating towards the position following a professional résumé predominantly consistenting of infield work, Raga could aspire to enough of a defensive package to possesss the fringe amount of potential glove to stay at the post without presenting a significant quantity of defensive production. Raga's offensive capability leans heavily upon an adept all fields oriented slap hitting approach, often not short into the zone and having to guess upon plus velocity to compensate for mediocre bat speed with some inconsistent hand placement and bat paths that shall have to be more so refined should he wish to progress forward into full season competition, though does weild a pitch recognition and tracking capability vastly superior to complex league competition while being consistently able to acknowledge fastballs upon release and secondary offerings up to fringe average potential. Raga boasted gap power potential as well, despite having to compensate with a slide step, as he consistently punched up to above average velocity to all fields for average rates at times with some deceptive might housed within a somewhat underwhelming frame as he was able to often turn upon fastballs within the upper reaches of the zone. Boding a 35 (Hit), 40 (Power), 35 (Run), 40 (Glove), 45 (Arm) résumé, Raga likely doesn't possess the qualifications to ultimately aspire towards a major league ceiling with offensive mechanical inconsistency and a definitively fringy package behind the plate that was able enough to tread water within Arizona based upon his opposite field prowess and game calling ability though shall be heavily exploited upon assimilating amongst incorporated affiliates without a significant developmental undertaking. Likely to ascend to Vermont regardless given a statistical breakthrough during the AZL campaign and Instructional League in which Raga was able to flash maturity wholeheartedly deserving of another opportunity past Papago, the positionally versitile Venezuelan shall likely spend the remainder of his contractual period with Oakland bouncing through Vermont and Beloit."
10. Jorge Gordon (40/Extremely High)
"He's doing well. Remember that he used to be a third baseman and he's only been catching since October 2014 in the DR Instructional league. You know, that isn't easy for young kid. I like him, flashing good stuff like flexibility behind dish, soft glove. Poor range now, but will come. Soft 4/5 Arm with consistent transfer. Most instructions come from dugout at this level, bat needs to be more focused and attack his pitch while not missing it. Young guy that should improve with development. Bat will have to carry him to the major league level. Chance to be a backup catcher in the majors."
The offspring of an affluent dentist in Panama and additionally linguistically sound in Mandarin Chinese, Gordon is a representative the organizational, and often universal industry preference, revering that of international makeup with the foundation to develop into a quality human being and sound baseball player having been laid for the now 17 year old converted Panamanian backstop. Having already participated through Oakland's Dominican academy Instructional League where the Panama City native initially shifted permanently to catcher, Gordon arrived as Oakland's initially substantially notable International acquisition from this ongoing signing period, inking for $100,000 week past July 2nd following the immediate addition of Jesus Lage from Venezuela. Already gone through an excessive catching gauntlet through his Dominican debut and continual opportunities within the Panamaian Fedébeis juvenile league, Gordon receiving abilities have become more visibly polished despite some sluggishness and lack thereof of consistent agility and footwork behind the plate thus far, showcasing a present below average arm with average ceiling and a reliable release. Despite a muzzle placed upon his projected raw pop with some occasional barreling difficulty and lack of overt upper body strength at the moment, Gordon demonstrates quick hands and consistent shortness into the zone with potential average bat speed that signify his hitting capability shall have to be leaned upon in order to ascend through affiliates as a professional with decent preliminary recognition abilities and some occasional adjustment and timing struggles additionally accompanying the compact, fundamentally sound stroke. Keeping his bat in zone long, Gordon pertains to a present hard contact, line drive oriented approach with some budding opposite field ability having been shown that can blossom into gap potential with below average pop as the sturdy, 5'8" backstop develops and eventually matures while thick through the lower half already with a moderate build through the torso that can withstand muscular and strength development through the shoulders and chest. Expected rudimentary game calling abilities shall have to be harnessed as he matures and attempts to head stateside as a couple Dominican campaigns shall be likely prior to Gordon acquiring an opportunity to head towards the Fitch Park facility within Mesa with potential 45 (Hit), 40 (Power), 35 (Run), 45 (Glove) and 50 (Arm) grades spell a potential reserve position should Gordon mature sufficiently and begin to actualize with a significant amount of risk associated with the undersized and recently converted backstop possessing moderate tool upside. To eventually arrive at a major league plateau, Gordon all but certainly shall have to incorporate the lower body, currently adopting an upper body intensive and exclusive torque oriented swing, and develop shoulder/wrist strength to accompany his mechanics and exceed his hit tool ceiling with his defensive intangibles and raw pop likely not distinguished enough to compete for a prolonged major league position.
Nick Rickles (Surgery/Rehab)
Phil Pohl (Stockton/Beloit/NP)
Andy Paz (Short season/NP)
Kyle Wheeler (Short season)
Ryan Gorton (Middle minors)
Barry Hernandez (Complex)
Jesus Monserratt (Complex)
Ryan Ortiz (Organizational/NP)
Ryan Lipkin (Organizational/NP)
Luke Carlin (MiLB signee/AAA-Coffee)
Carson Blair (MiLB signee/AA-AAA)