One of the downsides to teams seeing multiple top prospects graduate to the next level is how thin it can leave a farm system. For the A’s, the recent emergence of some former top prospects now contributing in Oakland leaves them redeveloping their next crop of young talent.
After brief stints in the Major Leagues in 2019, the 2020 season saw graduations for left-hander Jesús Luzardo and catcher Sean Murphy, who began last year as the top two prospects on this list before becoming key pieces for an A’s club that won the American League West and reached the ALDS last October. Other Top 10 prospects like shortstop Jorge Mateo and third baseman Sheldon Neuse were traded away in the past year.
As a result, the top of the A’s system still features some exciting prospects, but many are young and still developing at the lower levels of the Minors. That’s part of why they were the only team to not place a player on MLB Pipeline’s 2021 Top 100 Prospects list.
The replenishment process begins with No. 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom, who was already in the Top 100 conversation despite not having played in a Minor League game yet. Soderstrom is one of a few teenage prospects who could soon rocket up the A’s system, along with No. 6 prospect Robert Puason and No. 14 prospect Pedro Pineda, who were both among the high-profile names in their respective international signing classes over the past two years.
There is also talent ready to contribute now. No. 2 prospect A.J. Puk has already had a taste of the big leagues, impressing out of the bullpen during the club’s run to the American League Wild Card Game in 2019. Returning from shoulder surgery, he is expected to contribute at the Major League level this year, though it’s unclear if his role will come as a starter or reliever. No. 3 prospect Nick Allen’s stellar defense is considered Major League ready, and he could see some time in Oakland this year if his bat develops in the upper levels. No. 4 prospect Daulton Jefferies made his Major League debut last year and enters this year as an option the A’s will not hesitate to call up should they need him in the big league rotation.
Here's a look at the A’s top prospects:
1. Tyler Soderstrom, C
2. A.J. Puk, LHP
3. Nick Allen, SS/2B
4. Daulton Jefferies, RHP
5. Logan Davidson, SS
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2020 preseason list to the 2021 preseason list.
Jump: Wandisson Charles, RHP (2020: NR | 2021: 23) -- Charles has long impressed with the highest average fastball velocity in the organization, and now that he’s got more experience under his belt, the A’s believe he can make an impact at the Major League level at some point this year.
Fall: Brian Howard, RHP (2020: 25 | 2021: 28)/Hogan Harris, LHP (2020: 22 | 2021: 25) -- Howard displayed higher velocity than usual at instructional league last year, but his secondary pitches still need some work. Injuries have continued to slow down the development of Harris, who enters 2021 dealing with an elbow injury and the club unsure of when the lefty could return to the mound.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 60 -- Tyler Soderstrom
Power: 55 -- Kyle McCann (Junior Perez, Greg Deichmann, Cody Thomas)
Run: 70 -- Buddy Reed (Luis Barrera)
Arm: 60 -- Jeremy Eierman (Nick Allen, Robert Puason, Buddy Reed)
Defense: 65 -- Nick Allen (Buddy Reed)
Fastball: 75 -- Wandisson Charles
Curveball: 60 -- Grant Holmes
Slider: 65 -- A.J. Puk
Changeup: 60 -- Daulton Jefferies
Control: 60 -- Daulton Jefferies
How they were built
Draft: 16 | International: 8 | Trade: 5 | Rule 5: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2021: 14 | 2022: 9 | 2023: 3 | 2024: 3 | 2025: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 3B: 1 | SS: 4 | OF: 10 | RHP: 11 | LHP: 2