|Original Published Date: April 18, 2014|
|Updated: June 9, 2014|
The two-time defending AL West Champion Oakland A’s have picked up right where they left off in 2013; atop the division. The team doesn’t consist of stars but instead they’ve brought in positional depth, an excellent bullpen and solid starting pitching. They will have to stay healthy as their upper-minors doesn’t have any impact talent to supplement the major league roster. Of course there is uber prospect Addision Russell who has had his quick assent through the minor leagues derailed by a trip to the DL with a torn hamstring. It has kept him sidelined longer than anticipated and the result will probably eliminate the chance for anything but a September call-up.
1. Next in Line Infield Prospects
- Nate Frieman (2B, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
- Hiroyuki Nakajima (2B, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
- Addison Russell (SS, Injured) – Fantasy relevance: High
Notes: Nate Frieman has plus power and despite being 6-foot-8 makes good contact. However, the A’s seem to believe he’s a platoon player and being a right-handed batter, he’s on the wrong side. If he were to get full-time at-bats, he could provide 20-25 home run power with a .260-.270 batting average. Hiroyuki Nakajima’s power has not translated from Japan and he appears to be lost in the A’s plan. Finally, Addison Russell has star potential and might see a September call-up to show fantasy owners and A’s fan what the future holds.
2. Next in Line Outfield Prospects
- Michael Taylor (OF, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
- Billy Burns (OF, Double-A) – Fantasy relevance: Medium
Notes: Michael Taylor has plus raw power and a patient approach but those skills have not translated in his limited big league chances. At 28-years-old, time is running out. Billy Burns is a very interesting prospect for one reason – 80-grade speed. He showed that speed in Spring Training by stealing 10 bases. In Double-A, he’s up to 14 already with only one caught-stealing. If you’re thinking could Billy Burns pull a 2013 Billy Hamilton September – the answer is yes!
3. Next in Line Pitching Prospects
- Phil Humber (RHP, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
Notes: The A’s have promoted several pitchers over the past two years and as a result their upper-minor league teams are running low on impact talent. Their Triple-A roster is comprised of older pitchers such as Phil Humber. Even in Double-A, there isn’t any young impact talent that could make their way to Oakland to contribute in 2014.
4. Next in Line Relief Prospects
- Josh Lindblom (RHP, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low