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Premium Content Oakland Athletics Top-15 Prospects of 2010, No’s 1 – 5

January 5, 2010 BY ALEX EISENBERG No Comments Yet

Athletics Prospects, No’s 1 – 5

    1. Chris Carter | 1b/DH | Age – 23 | Grade – B+
    2. Michael Taylor | OF | Age – 24 | Grade – B/B+
    3. Grant Green | SS | Age – 22 | Grade – B
    4. Jemile Weeks | 2b | Age – 23 | Grade – B/B-
    5. Grant Desme | OF | Age – 24 | Grade – B-

For the full prospect listing, please click here

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ALSO SEEAthletics Top Prospects, No’s 6 – 15

Grades are based on a prospect’s projected value over the course of his career and how likely it is that prospect will fulfill his projected value. Various factors are accounted for including upside, red flags, actual performance, and closeness to the majors. See the 2010 Prospect Primer for more information as it relates to prospect grading and philosophy.

Hitters must have 100 or fewer Major League ABs to qualify for this list. Starting pitchers must have 50 or fewer Major League innings to qualify for this list. Relief pitchers must have 25 or fewer Major League innings to qualify for this list. Ages are listed as of May 1st, 2010. Levels are based on the highest level in which a prospect played in 2009. All grades are subject to change based on any new information I receive before the season starts.

If you need to reach me in any way, please contact me via e-mail or post a comment at the bottom of the page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. The first two prospects are available for everybody to read.

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1. Chris Carter | 1b/DH | B – R | Age – 23
Triple-A Sacramento | Drafted – Round 15, 2005

Player Grades
Contact – 40 Now | 50 Future
Power – 65 | 70
Discipline – 45 | 55
Speed – 35 | 35
Defense – 40 | 45
Arm – 55 | 55
Instincts – 45 | 50
ETA – 2010
Final Grade – B+

Body Type – Big, muscular, and strong as an ox

Scouting Report

Chris Carter is a patient hitter with massive power. He has a big tendency to swing-and-miss at good breaking balls and crush fastballs and mistake pitches.

He has gradually improved his ability to make contact and recognize pitches of the off-speed variety over the course of his career. This improvement culminated in a career low K% in Double-A Midland last season.

I found a couple clips of Carter last year — one of him in May and another of him in June. Between the time of those two clips Carter made an adjustment to his swing. He opened up just a little bit and added a small stride to his mechanics, which may have allowed Carter to better handle pitches on the inner half of the plate and adjust better to pitches on the outer half.

After posting a .630 OPS that May, he went on to put up a 1.166 OPS in June. Carter carried those adjustments into this season and even opened up a little bit more. He’s come a long way since 2007, where he used no stride, was much more upright, and set up in a more closed position. 2007 Carter is on the left and 2009 Carter is on the right:

*Credit to Minor League Baseball

The biggest change from Carter’s 2008 season to his 2009 season is his batting average. Taking strikeouts and homeruns out of the equation, Carter’s BABIP went from .296 to .406. That .406 number is obviously unsustainable and there was plenty of luck involved in achieving that number. However, the improvement in BABIP is certainly real to a certain extent as all we have to do is look at his line drive percentage, which went from 7.6% all the way up to 24%. Almost all of those line drives came from the fly ball department.

His power went down slightly because homeruns are predominantly hit on fly balls, but the change in approach to go along with a better contact rate increases the chance for him to have a successful big league career.

What’s interesting about Carter is that he doesn’t really have a power hitter’s swing. While he’s incorporated a stride into his mechanics, it still isn’t much of one and he doesn’t really incorporate a lot of his lower body into his swing. But he’s so strong, he doesn’t really need his lower body to hit for power. The ball seems to launch off his bat with just a flick of the wrists.

Carter does have holes in his swing. He struggles with soft stuff away and hard stuff up in the zone. But there are signs he has made progress. For instance, in the extended video I have on Carter, you see him whiff at a soft pitch away. When the pitcher comes back to that spot on the very next pitch, Carter makes the adjustment and takes the pitch back up the middle for a single.

The big question mark for Carter is what to do with him on defense. He’s played a bunch of positions — first base, third base, left field — but he’s below average at all of them. Because of that, Oakland might just put him at DH.

Best Case Outcome – A .280 – .300 batting average player with 35 – 40 homerun potential…I can see some All Star games in his future, but the problem is how many great hitting first baseman there are in baseball

More Likely Outcome – Well above average DH/1b…in the .260 – .280 BA range with 30 or so homeruns

2. Michael Taylor | OF | B – R | Age – 24
Triple-A Lehigh Valley | Drafted – Round 5, 2007 (Philadelphia Phillies)

Player Grades
Contact – 45 Now | 55 Future
Power – 50 | 55
Discipline – 45 | 55
Speed – 50 | 45
Defense – 50 | 50
Arm – 55 | 55
Instincts – 50 | 55/60
ETA – 2010
Final Grade – B/B+

For video and a more extended look at Taylor, please click here

Body Type – Huge at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, but an excellent athlete

Scouting Report

Michael Taylor was traded to Oakland for Brett Wallace after being traded to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal.

Taylor has enjoyed two fabulous seasons over four different levels. He’s produced wherever he’s played and is very close to MLB ready.

Taylor has a good approach at the plate. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he walks enough and he makes contact on a pretty consistent basis.

Despite his size, Taylor projects to have just above average power because his swing type is more contact oriented and he doesn’t incorporate a lot of his lower body into his swing. However, his raw strength makes up for a lot of that. He’s also increased his leverage, getting better loft on his swing in an effort to lift the ball more this year, which should help him improve his power output going forward.

He’s a good base runner with average speed that should allow him to steal between 10 – 15 bases per year.

Defensively, he has a solid arm, but still needs to work on getting better reads on balls off the bat as well as better angles to chase down fly balls.

Best Case Outcome – Above average corner outfielder…small chance he get to borderline All-Star status

More Likely Outcome – A little better than average corner outfielder

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Brief Rundown on Prospects 3 – 5

3. Grant Green, SS – Not completely sold on him because of questions about power, patience, and whether he ultimately stay at shortstop, but the fact of the matter is his offensive upside is a little bit higher than the prospects below him and he plays at the most premium position

4. Jemile Weeks, 2b – Durability concerns haunt him and some question his power potential, but he’s got good plate discipline and plays a premium defensive position…would like to see him hold up for a full season

5. Grant Desme, OF – Upside is probably higher than Weeks, but he’s a major risk because of low contact rates…he’s also older than your typical A+ ball prospect. Value will be higher if he can stay in center field

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UP NEXTOakland Athletics Top Prospects, No’s 6 – 15

Other References and Resources Used for This ArticleFirst Inning and Minor League Splits

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