Ranking the Oakland Athletics' Top Pitching Prospects
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Blue, Hunter and Fingers. Hudson, Mulder and Zito. Gonzalez, Cahill and Bailey. Parker, Griffin and Straily. Who's next?
The Oakland Athletics are known for bringing pitchers up through the minor leagues, and they have a group of future stars waiting for the next promotion.
Prospects were analyzed based on their potential and performance, in that order. Pitchers who already have a shot in the bigs, like phenom Sonny Gray or veteran Hideki Okajima, are ineligible for consideration.
All advanced stats from FanGraphs.
5. Drew Granier
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What happened to Drew Granier?
After being taken in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft, he was untouchable in his first minor league season and very solid in his second.
Granier earned a promotion this year with 10.5 K/9 and a 3.25 ERA for the High-A Stockton Ports, but hitters have teed off against him at Double-A Midland.
His biggest weakness has been keeping the ball in the park. After allowing 12 home runs in 162.2 innings last year, Granier is up to nine dingers in 66.1 innings with the Rockhounds.
4. Frank Gailey
Gailey pitching in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization. Photo creds to mlb.com.
Frank Gailey was born to play for the Oakland A's. What other team's top lefty prospect is a 28-year-old, overweight, 5'9" guy drafted in the 23rd round?
Like Gailey, Otero was putting up good minor league numbers before his promotion. Gailey has a 2.37 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 60.2 innings this year, and his 2.77 FIP is best among Texas League hurlers with over 35 innings pitched.
If the A's need a lefty specialist down the road, Gailey could be the man for the job. His low ranking matches his low ceiling, but Gailey has a shot to be a key bullpen arm for the A's.
3. Michael Ynoa
It's too early to write off Michael Ynoa. The kid is still just 21 years old, but after a number of injuries spanning from wisdom teeth complications to Tommy John surgery, he needs to stay healthy and contribute.
The 6'7" right-hander was plucked from the Dominican Republic in 2008 for $4.25 million, the largest signing bonus Oakland has ever given.
The A's have had a number of pitchers recover from Tommy John surgery, such as Jarrod Parker and Brett Anderson, but Ynoa won't be promoted if he can't be effective at the lower levels.
After pitching just nine innings from 2009-2011, Ynoa was rocked in 30.2 innings split between Rookie Ball and Low-A last season. He managed a 2.14 ERA in 15 starts for the Class A Beloit Snappers, but has been hit hard since his promotion to High-A Stockton.
2. Nolan Sanburn
Sanburn was drafted in the 34th round out of high school, but chose to attend the University of Arkansas.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Unlike Hudson, though, Sanburn will be doing his work out of the bullpen. The A's are transforming the 6'0", 175-pound righty into a reliever after letting him start last season.
A second-round pick in the 2012 draft, Sanburn owns a 1.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 24 innings with Class A Beloit. Batters are hitting just .198 against him, though their .239 BABIP suggests Sanburn has been somewhat lucky.
Sanburn still needs to work on his control, but with a little polishing he could be the A's closer of the future.
1. Raul Alcantara
The Andrew Bailey trade keeps looking better and better. While Bailey and Ryan Sweeney have been plagued by injuries, Josh Reddick led the A's to the playoffs last season as Miles Head and Alcantara emerged as top prospects.
Alcantara is control pitcher with a low-90s fastball, though his off-speed pitches need a little work. He had an absurd 8.29 K/BB rate in 13 starts at Beloit before being promoted.
High-A hitters have done better against Alcantara, but he still sports a respectable 3.45 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 13 appearances. His K/9 actually rose from 6.75 to 7.27.
The A's system is ripe with promising starters with poor numbers and middling relievers who get outs. Raul Alcantara is one of the few whose talent matches his productivity.