Less than two years, ago the Athletics had one of the best prospects in all of baseball. Rated as a top-15 prospect, Addison Russell was the future face of the Oakland franchise. But how things have changed. Instead, Russell was dealt to the Cubs, along with promising outfielder Billy McKinney and power-arm Dan Straily, in exchange for a pair of starting pitchers meant to strengthen a playoff push. Oakland snuck in as the final wildcard team, but that’s about all they have to show for it. Without Russell, the team also dealt raved-about shortstop Daniel Robertson to the Rays for Ben Zobrist ( who’s now playing alongside Addison Russell for the Cubs) and Yunel Escobar — neither of whom still sport green and gold.
General Manager Billy Beane hasn’t always taken a typical approach to building a roster, and his reliance on sabermetrics and advanced statistics has been well documented, but it seems like ages ago that Grant Green, Chris Carter and Michael Choice were clamoring for prospect attention around Oakland.
However, despite their willingness to part with a pair of promising middle infielders, the A’s have set themselves up nicely, with a few replacements on the way. Add in some power bats and projectable arms, and Oakland’s farm system isn’t as gloomy as one might think.
As with all the lists we will be putting out, the rankings are based upon in-person evaluations, video evaluations, extensive readings of scouting reports, and conversations with scouts.