The 2017 season saw the Oakland Athletics finish last in the American League West for the third straight year, with an overall record of 75-87.• MLB's Top 10 farm systems | A's Top 30 Prospects listThere were plenty of bright spots along the way, however, many of which were tied
The 2017 season saw the Oakland Athletics finish last in the American League West for the third straight year, with an overall record of 75-87.
• MLB's Top 10 farm systems | A's Top 30 Prospects list
There were plenty of bright spots along the way, however, many of which were tied to the arrivals and subsequent successes of several highly touted homegrown position players.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
Matt Chapman, the A's 2014 first-rounder and a Top 100 prospect a year ago, made his big league debut in mid-June and quickly established himself as Oakland's long-term third baseman. In addition to offering Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner, Chapman's big raw power translated to 14 home runs in 80 games.
Speaking of power, no hitter in baseball was more impactful with his swings than Matt Olson (No. 47 overall pick in the 2012 Draft), who after struggling in his five previous big league auditions, emerged as a future star by blasting 24 home runs in just 159 at-bats. Chad Pinder (No. 71 overall pick in 2013) also showed considerable pop with his 15 homers in 87 games, and the same can be said for current No. 66 overall prospectFranklin Barreto during his brief time with the A's.
:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::
Barreto should return to the Majors at some point in 2018, and he should eventually be joined by Oakland's next wave of prospects, a group that includes top prospect A.J. Puk (No. 32 overall prospect), speedster Jorge Mateo (No. 72) and outfielder Dustin Fowler.
Both Mateo and Fowler were acquired with righty James Kaprielian from the Yankees at last year's Trade Deadline in the Sonny Gray blockbuster, continuing a trend that has seen the A's hedge against an inevitable roster turnover by making shrewd trades for impact prospects on both sides of the ball. Altogether, exactly one-third of Oakland's 2018 Top 30 prospects, including seven players ranked in the Top 15, entered the system via a trade.
And with the A's future looking increasingly bright, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the club continued down that path in 2018 as they prepare for sustained success and competitiveness in the years to come.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.
Jump: Tyler Ramirez, OF (2017: NR | 2018: 18)
Fall: Dakota Chalmers (2017: 14 | 2018: NR)
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: 55 -- Franklin Barreto (Dustin Fowler, Marcos Brito)
Power: 55 -- Renato Nunez (Austin Beck, Lazaro Armenteros, Greg Deichmann)
Run: 80 -- Jorge Mateo
Arm: 70 -- Sean Murphy
Defense: 65 -- Sean Murphy (Nick Allen)
Fastball: 70 -- A.J. Puk
Curveball: 60 -- Grant Holmes
Slider: 65 -- A.J. Puk
Changeup: 60 -- Logan Shore (Jesus Luzardo)
Control: 60 -- Jesus Luzardo
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.