The 2016-17 Oakland A’s entered the season employing many newly signed along with already rostered veteran placeholders. The list of veteran placeholders who began the year on the team is as follows: Matt Joyce(right field), Rajai Davis(center field), Trevor Plouffe(third base), and Adam Rosales(utility,however mostly shortstop). They signed these guys to give them a chance to play and prove themselves while the youth movement continued to brew down in the minors. This particular youth movement is spearheaded by a group of guys that for the most part developed together in the A’s minor league system playing winning baseball in each stop of their development(Single A, Double A,and Triple A). The main young prospects who the A’s front office think will restore the storied franchise to greatness are listed below.
Ryon Healy: Emerged as a top prospect last year when he shot through the top levels of A”s minors and impressed when he got promoted to the big leagues for the second half of the season. He is continuing to put up big power numbers this year and cementing his status as a huge piece of the future.
Chad Pinder is a man that can play short,second, and corner outfield as he has turned himself into kind of a super-utility player. He has also impressed with the bat since his promotion.
Matt Olson-Above-average defender at first who can also play right field. He is a true three outcomes hitter who is projected to rack up a ton of home runs, walks, and strikeouts.
Bruce Maxwell-the A’s catcher of the future who is very good defensively and decent at the plate.
Matt Chapman-Elite defender at the hot corner.This guy also has huge power potential but a big question experts ask about him is if he will be able to make enough contact to have success in the MLB.
Brugman-the A’s most advanced outfield prospect who is good at everything but doesn’t excel at any one aspect of the game. He is better defensively than all A’s outfielders on opening day roster.
Frankie Barreto: The big prize in the return of the Donaldson trade. A’s top prospect is a middle infielder(SS and 2nd) from Venezuela who can flat out rake and is steady defensively.
The A’s also have some young pitchers whom they hope can emerge as future members of the rotation down the line. Daniel Gossett is the most advanced starter with hype as he emerged last year with a breakout season and has ridden that success to a recent callup to the A’s rotation recently decimated by injuries. However when it comes to A’s pitching prospects, the first name mentioned is usually AJ Puk(a power lefty projected to go 1st who fell to the A’s with the 6th pick in last year’s draft and is currently dominating the lower minors)
Everyone expected the A’s to call up these young players eventually for a taste of the majors in what was expected to be another season of losses and low expectations. However, no one expected them to be called up as early as most of them have been with the exception of Aj Puk who is just beginning at Double A. Gossett was called up to replace the injured Andrew Triggs in the A’s rotation and has performed admirably since a horrible debut in Miami. The A’s cream of young and talented position players have since been called up due to injuries and ineffectiveness among players blocking them on the big league roster. Maxwell has been promoted to take the place of struggling recently released fan favorite catcher Vogt on the left handed hitting side of the A’s catcher platoon opposite Phegley. Chapman was recently promoted to take over third base from horrible Plouffe who also got released and in the process greatly improve the A’s overall defense. However,he only played in 4 games before coming down with a bad knee infection that put him on the disabled list. Pinder was called up to help cover shortstop after Semien landed on the dl with a wrist injury. He has surprised many people with his good all around play, but he is now also on the dl with a hamstring injury. Brugman and Olson got finally promoted after much fan demanding and they are already making more of an impact than declining Rajai Davis. Lastly, Frankie Barreto made his hyped debut yesterday replacing Pinder and immediately showed why everybody thinks so highly of him.
Yesterday’s game of the A’s versus the White Sox was really the first time that most of these top prospects were in the A’s lineup together as the only exceptions were Chapman and Pinder as both are unavailable due to injuries. The prospects that are a huge part of the A’s future shined brightest yesterday in the A’s 10-2 demolishing of the White Sox showing the huge potential they have.Olson, Brugman, and Barreto each hit their first major league home runs which was a major league record that had never happened before.
These three along with Chapman, Pinder, Semien, Maxwell, and Healy are why I along with many others are excited for the future of the A’s. I think that these young players are going to be the foundation of a team that returns the A’s organization to postseason glory and they will experience success only if Billy Beane keeps them together and doesn’t trade them right as they get good like he did with Donaldson.