A's Top Prospects: Beyond The Top-50, Part 2

Every year, our most difficult task is choosing only 50 prospects to include in our Oakland A's top prospect list. There are many more players than those 50 to keep an eye on, some of whom will develop into household names in a few years. In a two-part article, we look at 35 players that we considered for our list but didn't make the cut for one reason or another…

Note: These names are in alphabetical order and not in rank order. Below are players M-Z. For players A-Z, click here.

Hiram Martinez: Martinez was one of a handful of international amateurs signed by the A's before the 2010 season. The 6'1'' shortstop fails from Hermosilo, Mexico, and he played in the Mexican rookie league before being signed by Oakland. Despite being only 17 during the regular season, Martinez played for the A's US Rookie League team in Arizona. A speedy player with a slick glove, Martinez didn't show much at the plate in his first foray into US professional baseball, but given that the A's initially planned to let Martinez spend last summer in Mexico before bringing him to the States in 2011, he held his own. Martinez will likely repeat in the Arizona League this year and the switch-hitter should show improvements at the plate.

John Meloan: Meloan opened a lot of eyes around the A's organization in 2009 when he threw 8.1 scoreless innings for the team with 11 strike-outs in a September call-up. Meloan came into spring training in 2010 with an outside chance of winning a spot in the A's bullpen, but an elbow injury ended those hopes. He underwent Tommy John surgery in late March and missed the entire season. The hard-throwing relief prospect was removed from the A's 40-man roster this off-season, but he remained with the organization. Nearly a year removed from surgery, Meloan should be able to pitch in regular season games at some point early in the 2011 season. The 2007 Double-A Relief Pitcher of the Year would give the A's even more depth in the bullpen if he is able to recapture his 2009 form this season.

Guillermo Moscoso: Moscoso was acquired by the A's for minor leaguer Ryan Kelly during the off-season. The Venezuelan right-hander had been with the Texas Rangers, who had acquired him from the Detroit Tigers' organization in the Gerald Laird trade before the 2009 season. Moscoso was a pretty good prospect at the time of the Laird deal and he pitched well for the Rangers' Double-A and Triple-A squads in 2009, posting a 3.12 ERA. He made his major league debut that season, putting up a 3.21 ERA but walking six in 14 relief innings. Moscoso spent virtually all of the 2010 season at Triple-A and he struggled to the tune of a 5.18 ERA and 142 hits in 123.1 innings. He also allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning in his only major league appearance. Moscoso pitched much better this winter in the Venezuelan Winter League, putting up a 2.66 ERA and a 38:17 K:BB ratio in 40.2 innings. He is currently competing for the A's fifth starter spot in big league camp. Moscoso has a solid fastball that sits in the low-90s and gets a lot of movement. He struggled with his secondary pitches last season, but if he can regain the feel for his breaking ball and change-up, he could be a sleeper for the A's in 2011. He is 27 years old.

Renato Nunez: Nunez was the A's biggest international amateur signing in 2010. He signed a bonus worth a reported $2.2 million. The Venezuelan third baseman was considered one of the top amateur talents available on the international market this year. The A's have been tracking his development since he was 14 and they beat out several other teams to sign him. The A's believe Nunez has the potential to be a .300 hitter with power in the pros. He will debut with the A's Dominican Summer League team this year and could reach the States in 2012. Like Vicmal De La Cruz, we didn't include Nunez in our top-50 because he hadn't yet played a professional inning. He is likely to join the list next year.

Petey Paramore: When the A's took Paramore in the third round in 2008, the feeling was the A's were selecting Landon Powell, but with good knees. At the time of the draft, Paramore, like Powell, was a good defensive catcher and a switch-hitter with power and patience at the plate. Thus far, Paramore hasn't progressed quite as expected. He has come as advertised defensively and he has shown the ability to take a walk, but his power has disappeared at the pro level. In 2010, he began the year with High-A Stockton and despite hitting .255, he reached base at a .391 clip and was promoted to Double-A. In 65 games with the Rockhounds, Paramore hit .263 with a .371 OBP. Unfortunately, his slugging percentage across both levels was only .353. Paramore's defense and on-base skills alone could lead him to a career as a third catcher who is signed by teams to Triple-A contracts and brought to the big leagues if there is an injury to one of the team's top two backstops. However, if he can recapture some of the power that he had in college, Paramore could have a more significant career than that in the big leagues. He is 24 years old.

Rodolfo Penalo: Penalo was signed by the A's out of the Dominican Republic in April and he debuted later in summer with the A's Dominican Summer League team. In 46 games, Penalo hit only .243, but he posted a .371 OBP thanks to 18 walks versus 18 strike-outs. Penalo has plus speed and he stole 12 bases, but his base-running is still a work-in-progress, as he was caught eight times. The 5'7'' middle infielder doesn't have any power at the moment, but he only turned 18 in late August, so he is still growing. Penalo has mostly played second base and he has good hands and a strong arm for the position. He is likely to make his US debut in 2011.

Shane Peterson: Peterson was acquired as part of the Matt Holliday deal from the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2009 season. The outfielder/first-baseman was sent to Double-A Midland after the trade and put up a .273/.333/.396 line before starring for the Rockhounds during the playoffs. In 2010, Peterson returned to Midland. He got off to a very slow start (.230/.311/.310 before the All-Star break) before a strong second half (.307/.403/.434) saved his season from disaster. Peterson is a good athlete who can play all three outfield positions, as well as first base. Since the draft, he has been viewed as somewhat of a tweener in that he doesn't have the power expected of a corner outfielder/first baseman, but he doesn't have the pure speed for centerfield. Nonetheless, the A's like his approach at the plate and his "in-game skills." Although he is likely headed for his third season at Double-A, Peterson is still only 23 years old.

Ryan Pineda: Pineda was the A's 28th round pick this past year. The second baseman had a monster junior season with Cal-State Northridge and was projected by some to be taken in the top 15 rounds. After playing summer baseball in Alaska, he elected to sign with Oakland rather than returning to Northridge for his senior season. Pineda put up mediocre numbers in his first taste of pro ball with Vancouver, batting only .221, but he posted a .336 OBP and had a 17:20 BB:K ratio. He played well during the A's fall Instructional League. Pineda has speed, a good eye and decent pop for a middle infielder. He should get a chance at a starting job with Low-A Burlington in 2011.

Julio Ramos: Ramos was one of our picks for a breakthrough season in 2010, but an elbow injury prevented him from throwing a single pitch during a regular season game. The left-hander had been making a steady climb through the lower levels of the A's system before the injury. In 2008, he had a 1.42 ERA in 57 innings for the A's DSL and AZL affiliates. Then in 2009, he posted a 2.57 ERA with 75 strike-outs in 84 innings for short-season Vancouver and High-A Stockton. The native of the Dominican Republic developed elbow soreness during spring training and eventually had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He may make it back on the field at some point in 2011, but he probably won't be at full strength until 2012. Ramos turned 23 in February.

Anthony Recker: In a number of other organizations, Recker would likely have received a chance to compete for the big league back-up catcher role by now. Unfortunately for Recker, he is stuck behind three solid catchers in Kurt Suzuki, Landon Powell and Josh Donaldson. Recker will be eligible for minor league free agency next year and could find himself in a better situation for reaching the majors in 2012 with a change of scenery. If he puts up another 800+ OPS, as he has in four of his last five seasons, and continues to improve defensively, he will draw no shortage of interest on the free market. Despite not playing in more than 117 games in any one season, Recker has reached double digits in homeruns in each of his five full minor league seasons. He is 27 years old.

Myrio Richard: Richard narrowly missed our top-50 list after putting together a solid first full professional season. In 98 games with Low-A Kane County, Richard hit .281 with a .359 OBP. He missed a number of games with nagging injuries and struggled during the final few weeks of the season, but at times showed the ability to hit for average, work a walk and play good defense. Richard isn't as fast as his older brother Michael, a former A's prospect, but Myrio should be able to put up better stolen base numbers than the 11 steals in 18 chances he achieved with the Cougars. The outfielder should also be able to hit for more power (.384 SLG) when he plays in the California League in 2011.

Robin Rosario: Rosario was signed as an international amateur free agent by the A's in February 2008. At the time, he was considered a power-hitting outfielder with a plus throwing arm. After failing to make progress at the plate in two minor league seasons, Rosario was moved to the mound for the 2010 season. His fastball was clocked in the mid-90s during the A's extended spring training, but a sore elbow prevented him from pitching in the Arizona Rookie League. The elbow did not require surgery and Rosario is expected to report to Arizona for extended spring training and, if all goes well, pitch in the AZL this season. He is a raw pitching prospect, but the 21-year-old's arm strength makes him worth keeping a close eye on.

Jose Sayegh: Sayegh was another highly touted international amateur free agent signing by the A's. Signed in late 2008, the Venezuelan outfielder has spent the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He has struggled at the plate, but showed some signs of progress in 2010. Although he posted a meager .183 average, Sayegh walked 25 times in 54 games for a .324 OBP. He also hit .320/.433/.440 against left-handers. Sayegh turns 20 this season, so he still has plenty of time to develop as a prospect.

Justin Souza: Souza began the season on the A's 40-man roster after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners organization the year prior. Souza had a rough season, walking 26 in 49 innings with Sacramento and Midland before landing on the disabled list with an injured elbow. He had surgery to correct a stress fracture in his right elbow late in the 2010 season. Souza was dropped from the A's 40-man roster this off-season, but he cleared waivers and returned to the organization as a minor league player. He has excellent arm strength and could factor in the A's bullpen plans at some point during the 2011 season if he returns to full health.

Mickey Storey: Storey took the organization by storm in 2009 when he posted a 1.22 ERA and had a 71:8 K:BB ratio in 51.2 innings spread over all four of the A's full-season affiliates. He wasn't able to match those numbers in 2010, although he still put together a solid year. In 71 innings for Midland, Storey had a 3.30 ERA with a 63:22 K:BB ratio. He struggled in a brief stint with the River Cats, posting a 5.54 ERA with 14 strike-outs, five walks and three homeruns allowed in 13 innings. Storey was left off of our top-50 prospect list in large part because at the time the list was compiled, he was experiencing elbow soreness after pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League. The soreness wound-up not being serious, but Storey has an extensive injury history, so it set off some alarm bells. If he is healthy in 2011 and puts up a season similar to his last two, he will return to the top-50 list in 2012.

Daniel Straily: Straily was the A's 24th round pick in 2009. Since turning pro, the right-handed starting pitcher has been a strike-out machine. In 2009, he struck-out 66 in 59 innings for Vancouver and in 2010, he had 149 strike-outs in 148 innings for Kane County. Straily's walk total jumped up in 2010, however, as he issued 61 free passes. He has an excellent fastball, but he struggled with inconsistency with his secondary pitches and with location at various points during the season. Straily has the stuff to move quickly up the list if he can gain more consistency from outing-to-outing. He will be 22 throughout the 2011 season.

Matt Sulentic: It was a strange year for Sulentic. In his second season with Midland, Sulentic got off to a horrible start at the plate, but a hot second half allowed him to raise his average from the low .200s to .275 by year-end. However, Sulentic had a complete loss of power, hitting only one homerun in 123 games after hitting seven in 113 games the year before. He also saw his stolen base total drop from 21 to 11, although his OBP rose from .345 to .348. Sulentic was the A's second pick in the 2006 draft out of a Dallas-area high school. He had a lot of initial success with Vancouver in 2006 (888 OPS in 38 games), but he has never managed to regain that level of play, although he had two decent seasons in 2008 and 2009. Over the years, Sulentic has turned himself into an excellent defensive outfielder and he has increased his footspeed considerably, but he still lacks the power of a traditional corner outfielder. Sulentic will be 23 throughout the 2011 season and it could be a make-or-break campaign for the left-handed hitter.

Tony Thompson: Thompson was the second collegiate player the A's selected in the 2010 draft. The third-baseman from the University of Kansas was a Triple Crown winner in the Big 12 in 2009, but an injury limited him during his 2010 collegiate season. Thompson put up a mediocre line with Vancouver in 2010, but he showed signs of being the powerful right-handed hitter the A's scouted in college. Thompson played well during the A's fall Instructional League season. In 2009, Stephen Parker struggled in his first pro season, but parlayed a strong fall Instructional League season into a standout 2010 season. Thompson has the talent to make a similar leap forward in 2011.

Jordan Tripp: Tripp was taken in the seventh round by the A's in the 2010 draft. An outfielder from Golden West Community College, Tripp was considered a raw talent with a lot of tools coming out of college. He struggled in his initial foray into professional baseball, hitting only .125 in 56 at-bats with Vancouver. He fared a little better with the A's Rookie League team, batting .261 with a 781 OPS. Tripp was only 20 last season, but he still should have produced better numbers at the Rookie ball level considering his junior college experience. Nonetheless, he could make a big turnaround in 2011.


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