10.) Yairo Munoz – RHP
Date of Birth: 1/23/95
Height/Weight: 6’1/165 Pounds
Acquired: International Free Agency in 2012
Munoz is eerily similar to New York Mets’ prospect Amed Rosario. Both have raw tools that scouts rave about, good project ability, but mixed performances. Each of them had a mini coming-out party in the New York-Penn League, albeit Munoz a year older, but the A’s remain a bit more cautious with Munoz, too.
Munoz split between A and high-A in 2015 where he combined to hit .260 with 13 HR and 11 SB. The power-speed combo is what scouts are impressed with the chance to improve on both as he grows into his 165-pound frame, but his future is probably dependent on how well he hits at higher levels. He should begin 2016 at high-A again, but a strong performance could force Oakland’s hand at a promotion to AA late in the year, but with no real reason to push him too quickly.
9.) Dakota Chalmers – RHP
Date of Birth: 10/8/96
Height/Weight: 6’3/170 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted 3rd round in 2015 out of HS
A bit of a personal favorite here with Chalmers, but his 6-foot-3 170-pound frame screams projectable and desirable. Chalmers already sits in the mid-90’s with his FB and matches with a four-pitch arsenal that is finished by a curveball, slider and changeup. As many prep pitchers do, Chalmers struggles to get a feel for his changeup, but it’s certainly something that he can learn as he jumps into pro ball. The two breaking pitches show flashes, but aren’t dominant and may never be so, but a solid four-pitch repertoire with a strong FB to headline is something worth betting on.
His results in the rookie Arizona League in 2015 featured mixed results. On one hand, Chalmers sported a 2.66 ERA with 18 K across 20 1/3 innings and allowed just 15 hits, but on the other hand, Chalmers walked 17 batters. While we shouldn’t expect his ratio to be as bad in a full season of pro ball in 2016, the command is a consistent issue with Chalmers among scouts and is one that he must correct if he wants to reach his mid-rotation potential. His athletic frame suggests he can.
I probably could have been a little more bullish on Chalmers and swapped him with Meisner at No. 7, but his question marks were enough for me to keep him here at No. 9.
8.) Renato Nunez – 3B/1B
Date of Birth: 4/4/94
Height/Weight: 6’1/200 Pounds
Acquired: International Free Agency in 2010
Nunez has been around the organization for half a decade now after being a prized “bonus-baby” in 2010 signing for $2.2 million. Praised as the top Venezuelan hitter in the 2010 IFA class, the A’s were drawn to his potential to hit for both average and power. Nunez has started live up to those reports across the past two seasons.
He hit .279 with 29 HR, 96 RBI but a 34/113 BB/K ratio at high-A Stockton in 2014 before following it up at AA Midland in 2015 by hitting 18 HR, 61 RBI and more respectable 28/66 BB/K ratio. What we do know is Nunez can hit. His raw power continues to show up in games and his average is strong enough to make him a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat. His issues have come on defense.
After throwing the ball all over the diamond at third base, Nunez has moved to first base where his defense profiles a slight bit better. While he probably doesn’t have his eyes set on the Gold Glove award, he should play well enough with the glove not to be liability. Could very well be a Pedro Alvarez-type although Pittsburgh probably doesn’t wish that defense on Oakland … or anybody for that matter.
He could find his way into the top-5 next season if he takes yet another jump in AA this season.
7.) Casey Meisner – RHP
Date of Birth: 5/22/95
Height/Weight: 6’7/190 Pounds
Acquired: Trade with New York Mets in 2015
“Guys, there’s this 6-foot-7 wiry looking pitcher who already gets people out, but still has room to grow!” Pardon the excitement, but Meisner is a guy worth getting excited over.
His velocity has jumped into the low-90’s now with still some room to grow. The righty has a lofty curveball that plays well coming from his 6-7 frame and a decent changeup that should improve as he works it into games. He is far from a finished product, but with strong results to date and room to keep improving, Meisner is a name to keep your eye on as he could find his way near the top of this list in a year or two.
6.) Richie Martin – SS
Date of Birth: 12/22/94
Height/Weight: 6’0/192 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted 1st round in 2015 out of college
Martin’s glove should carry him to the majors at some point. His bat will decide what he does when he gets there. At 6-foot 192 pounds, Martin has the size and athleticism to stay at SS, the arm strength to make any throw and is no danger of outgrowing the position. But his bat is questionable. He hit just .237 in low-A Vermont in 2015 but sported a solid .353 OBP thanks to a 25/47 BB/K ratio across 51 games. If Martin continues to hit .230-.240, he’ll find himself either at the end of a lineup, or in a bench role. But with his ability to work the count and control the zone with his bat, Martin could slot toward the top of a lineup if he can prove to be a .270+ hitter.
He could slot a few spots higher a year from now, but could plummet into the teens depending on his offensive progress. He’s certainly a name worth monitoring.