Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Oakland A’s.
It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Oaklanders or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.
What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.
Other prospect projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto.
Steamer Projections: Oakland Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Oakland batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.
Steamer Projections: Oakland Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Oakland pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.
• While Steamer appears skeptical about his chances of hitting even five home runs over the course of a full major-league season, outfielder Billy Burns offers enough elsewhere to earn basically a league-average projection for 2014 — the best among Oakland prospects. Indeed, as the author has noted elsewhere, one can reasonably make the argument that Burns was the minor leagues’ best overall basestealer last season — better than Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton, even. That footspeed, in conjunction with Burns advanced contact skills and understanding of the strike zone, might very well conspire to produce a capable major-league outfielder.
• If there’s promise among Oakland’s other field-playing prospects, very little of it appears ready to reveal itself in 2014. Other than Burns, only very talented shortstop prospect Addison Russell is expected to produce wins at a rate better than replacement level. Russell’s upside is much greater than that, of course: players who exhibit nearly league-average skills at age 20 generally show much more than that by their mid-20s.
• As is the case with many of the batting prospects, Oakland’s top pitching prospects also appear unlikely to provide much in the way of immediate value. Raul Alcantara, entering just his age-21 season, is the most likely candidate, according to Steamer. Given that he’s never thrown a pitch even at Double-A, however, the contingency is unlikely.
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