20.) Sandber Pimentel – 1B
Date of Birth: 9/12/94
Height/Weight: 6’3/220 Pounds
Acquired: International Free Agency in 2011
I could have gone in a couple directions with this spot, but I chose to highlight an intriguing bat. Pimentel spent his first three seasons in Dominican Summer League, where his bat struggled to live up to expectations. However, in 2015, Pimentel came to the United States, and swatted 13 HR for Beloit. His other numbers were fringy at best, but the bat — and specifically the power bat — is what prompted Oakland to to throw six figures at him four years ago.
What to look for in 2016 is whether his power takes another step forward, or he flames out and become a first-base clog with limited power and no on-base skills. Could be higher on the list a year from now, or not even in consideration … 2016 will tell a lot.
19.) Rangel Ravelo – 1B
Date of Birth: 4/24/92
Height/Weight: 6’2/220 Pounds
Acquired: Trade with Chicago White Sox in 2014
Rangel Ravelo can hit. But what he can’t do is hit for power. This was already problematic for Ravelo at third base, but now, two full seasons into a permanent switch to first base, Ravelo appears primed for a bench role. He holds a career .302 AVG across 1741 minor league ABs with a respectable 173/270 BB/K ratio, but has just 21 HRs to his name. He does have two 30-double seasons under his belt, including 37 as recent as 2014, but unfortunately, right-handed first basemen who are known for hitting doubles don’t often find homes as everyday players.
But, after playing nearly half of his games — albeit just 28 of 59 due to wrist surgery — at AAA last season, Ravelo could find his way to Oakland at some point during the 2016 season if he impresses with Nashville early on, especially if he taps into the power that his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame suggests he can have.
Ravelo came to Oakland as an ancillary piece in the package that sent Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox.
18.) R.J. Alvarez – RHP
Date of Birth: 6/8/91
Height/Weight: 6’2/215 Pounds
Acquired: Trade with San Diego Padres in 2014
Alvarez has combined to throw 28 major league innings across each of the past two seasons, however the results couldn’t be any more contradictory. In 2014 he tossed eight nearly-unhittable innings for San Diego, but in 20 innings for Oakland last season Alvarez gave up 27 hits, 7 of which were HR and his ERA sniffed 10. But it’s not all bad for the 24-year-old reliever.
Across 154 1/3 minor league innings, Alvarez has 219 strikeouts with a 2.80 ERA. He has managed his subpar walk-rate by limiting his hits allowed, but following his trade to Oakland last season, his walk- and hit-rates sparked to the worst of his career … something to monitor this season.
But Alvarez has a power fastball that comfortably sits in the mid-90’s and pairs it with a strong slider (not of the wipeout variety, but not fringe either) giving him the prototypical arsenal of a bullpen arm. Alvarez is probably best suited for a 7th- or 8th-inning role, but if he sharpens his control and continues to improve on his breaking pitch — of which he changed from an inconsistent curveball in 2013 — Alvarez could earn time finishing games.
17.) B.J. Boyd – OF
Date of Birth: 7/16/93
Height/Weight: 5’11/230 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted 4th round in 2012 out of HS
After being a toolsy, projectable prep outfielder selection in 2012, Boyd has kind of become a forgotten man in Oakland’s system. Most experts have Boyd on the outside looking in on the organization’s top 20 prospects list, but I’m not as quick to dismiss him. Boyd has a stocky frame at 5-foot-11 230 pounds, but it’s an athletic build that plays well on both the bases (18/23 SB in 2015) and in center field where he should have no problem sticking.
Boyd’s overall numbers in the minors are slighted a bit due to a forgettable 2014 campaign, but he is a .283 hitter across his other three seasons and features a BB/K ratio that is strong enough to suggest he can be a top-of-the-order hitter as opposed to bottom. However, he has yet to tap into any raw power that his compact frame suggests is there, but if his speed stays, he won’t need much pop atop the Athletics’ order.
Boyd was a part of the draft class that brought Addison Russell. Matt Olson and Daniel Robertson into the organization and while only Olson and Boyd remain, Boyd could find himself scoring runs off of Olson doubles for the A’s within a few years.
16.) Bobby Wahl – RHP
Date of Birth: 3/21/92
Height/Weight: 6’2/210 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted 5th round in 2013 out of college
You could probably flip-flop Alvarez and Wahl if you really wanted to, especially since Alvarez has seen major league time, but I think Wahl’s “stuff” has a bit more upside if he refines his control. His BB/9 ratio is identical to Alvarez’ minor league ratio and his K/9 actually sits a few ticks lower, but his mid-90’s FB compares to Alvarez’ and his hard-biting slider pairs as a better second offering that flashes potential of being a punch-out pitch in the backend of a bullpen.
Wahl has experience starting in college, working as his team’s ace, but the worked as the closer for the U.S. college national team — exposure and experience that should serve Wahl well as he creeps closer to Oakland.
He spent all of 2015 in AA for the first time, doing more than surviving, but not quite impressing. Look for 2016 to be a make-or-break year for his future with Oakland.