Starting spots for Athletics' Top 30 prospects

April 4th, 2019

With the 2019 Minor League Baseball season getting underway, here's a look at where the A's Top 30 prospects are starting the year. We also identify the prospect who just missed the Top 30 list, a player who didn't make the big league Opening Day roster but should make an impact this year, a prospect who is ready to break out in 2019 and the team's best defensive prospect.

  1. Jesus Luzardo (MLB No. 12), LHP -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  2. A.J. Puk (MLB No. 41), LHP -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  3. Sean Murphy (MLB No. 44), C -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
  4. Lazaro Armenteros, OF -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  5. Austin Beck, OF -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  6. James Kaprielian, RHP -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  7. Jameson Hannah, OF -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  8. Jorge Mateo, SS -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
  9. Sheldon Neuse, 3B -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
  10. Jeremy Eierman, SS -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  11. Greg Deichmann, OF -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  12. Grant Holmes, RHP -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  13. Luis Barrera, OF -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  14. Daulton Jefferies, RHP -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  15. Nick Allen, SS -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  16. Marcos Brito, 2B -- Beloit Snappers (A)
  17. Kevin Merrell, SS -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  18. Parker Dunshee, RHP -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  19. Skye Bolt, OF -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
  20. Tyler Ramirez, OF -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
  21. Brian Howard, RHP -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  22. Gus Varland, RHP -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  23. Alexander Campos, SS -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  24. Alfonso Rivas, 1B -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  25. Yerdel Vargas, SS -- Extended spring training
  26. Jordan Diaz, 3B -- Extended spring training
  27. Hogan Harris, LHP -- Extended spring training
  28. Brady Feigl, RHP -- Stockton Ports (A Adv)
  29. Jonah Heim, C -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
  30. Dairon Blanco, OF -- Midland RockHounds (AA)
    Complete list »

Just missed Top 30: J.B. Wendelken, RHP
It hasn’t been the straightest path for Wendelken. Drafted by the Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft, he’s been traded twice and had Tommy John surgery. But he bounced back with a strong 2018 that saw him get back to, and pitch well, in the big leagues. He has the stuff to be a big league reliever right now.

On the shelf
Luzardo had the chance to break into Oakland’s rotation on Opening Day, but a muscle strain in his left shoulder put his big league debut on hold. Since he may not start throwing until the end of April or the beginning of May, A’s fans might have to wait until the second half to see him throw a Major League pitch.

Impact prospect: Jesus Luzardo
If it weren’t for a muscle strain in his throwing shoulder, we might have seen Luzardo in the big league rotation on Day 1. Instead, the timetable has been slowed down as he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks. Once he’s built back up, it shouldn’t take him long to be big league ready, with a big second-half contribution a very strong possibility.

Breakout prospect: Austin Beck
Beck led the Class A Midwest League in hits during his first full season in 2018, and hit close to .300 despite a rough overall approach that led to a 117/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio. There’s bat speed and raw power to tap into, and he has all the tools to be a dynamic center fielder. Better plate discipline in 2019 should lead to an even more productive season.

Best defensive prospect: Nick Allen
Allen was viewed by many scouts as perhaps the best defensive prospect available in the 2017 Draft, and he's done nothing to diminish that reputation after signing for more than double slot value as the A's third-round pick. There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond.