Outfielders That Just Missed The Top-50 List
Note: The players below are in alphabetical - and not rank - order.
Luis Barrera: The A's highest-profile July 2nd signing in 2012 was outfielder Barrera, a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic. He made his professional debut in the DSL this season. He missed four weeks with a hand injury that limited him to another two weeks of only pinch-running after he returned to game action. In 126 at-bats, Barrera hit only .196, but he did connect on a team-best four homeruns. He also drove-in 20 runs. Barrera walked 18 times against 22 strike-outs.
The left-handed hitter and thrower has a lot of strength and a good idea of what he is doing when he is at the plate. He projects to be a power-hitter down-the-road who can get on-base at a decent clip. Barrera is limited to the corner outfield spots. He has decent arm strength, but he is still working on accuracy. Barrera should make the jump to the AZL in 2014.
Corey Brown: Both Brown and Michael Taylor (see below) are, without question, among the top-15 talents within the A's organization that are still rookie-eligible. We made the decision to leave Brown and Taylor off of the top-50 list this season, however, because they are both out of options, so the chances that either play for the A's in the minor leagues this season are slim. They have also spent a lot of time at Triple-A and some time in the majors, making it hard to classify them as ‘prospects' in the traditional sense.
Brown re-joins the A's organization after spending the past three seasons in the Washington Nationals' system. The A's 2007 supplemental first-round pick has prodigious power and above-average speed. He has always struggled to make contact on a consistent basis (he has struck-out at least 129 times in each of the past four seasons), but he can still make an impact despite the swing-and-miss in his game. He is a good base-runner who makes the most of his speed to steal bases at an efficient rate. Brown is a solid defender in center and he can play the corners, as well. In many ways, Brown profiles as a poor man's Chris Young. Brown will compete with Taylor, among others, this spring for a spot as the A's fifth outfielder.
Jaycob Brugman: Brugman was the A's 17th-round pick this season. The outfielder from BYU spent his professional debut season with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. Although Brugman struggled with his plate discipline, he still showed promise at the plate. The left-handed hitter and thrower played 49 games with the Lake Monsters and he posted a .261/.301/.382 line (league average was .242/.313/.338). Brugman's K:BB was a poor 48:7, but he hit for decent average and showed good speed on the bases and in the field.
Brugman had a strong fall Instructional League camp, improving his approach at the plate. He has a compact swing that sprays line-drives around the field and the speed to take advantage of hitting the ball into the gaps. Brugman doesn't yet get much loft from his swing, so he doesn't have present homerun power, but he projects to add more power as he develops as a player. He will be 22 throughout the 2014 season.
Rashun Dixon: Dixon's development since being selected out of high school in 2008 has been frustrating, to say the least. The talented outfielder has shown flashes of realizing his significant potential, but he has also struggled to maintain the consistency necessary to advance past the A-ball level. In 2013, Dixon's season got off to a late start when he strained his oblique during the final few days of spring training. He missed the first month of the season before joining the Low-A Beloit squad. Dixon got off to a fast start with the Snappers, batting .278 with a 1033 OPS with four homers in 11 games.
At that point, Dixon moved up to High-A Stockton, the team he has played for during parts of the past two seasons. Dixon posted a 739 OPS in 86 games with the Ports and he homered 12 times and walked 48 times, but he struck-out 116 times. Those strike-outs left Dixon with a .201 average with the Ports.
Dixon has a lot of tools. He has big power and plus speed. Both of those tools were on display at times this season, as he reached career-highs in homeruns (16) and stolen bases (11) even though he played in only 97 games. However, Dixon hasn't been able to improve his pitch recognition over the past few years, and that has left him vulnerable to off-speed pitches. If Dixon can recognize off-speed pitches earlier, he could put together huge numbers. He is running out of time to do that with the A's, however. Dixon is only 23, but he will be a minor league free at the end of the season. Depending on how his spring training goes, Dixon will either be assigned to Stockton or finally reach the Double-A level.
Dixon had a strange year at the plate in 2013.
Shawn Duinkerk: Duinkerk's development has been gradual thus far, but given that the native of Aruba is still just 19 years old, there is plenty of time for him to reach his potential. The 6'5'' outfielder spent his second season in the Arizona Rookie League in 2013 and he managed a .246/.288/.341 line in a career-high 138 at-bats. Duinkerk struggled with his plate discipline, but he hit the ball harder than he did in 2012, raising his line-drive percentage from 4.5% to 13.2%.
The lanky Duinkerk has a very strong right arm, good speed and a frame that suggests he will add power as he finishes his physical development. A left-handed hitter, Duinkerk had never faced a left-handed pitcher until he signed a pro contract. He has improved that area of his game and actually collected 11 hits in 33 at-bats against southpaws this past season. Duinkerk has long arms and legs and has been working to find a comfortable set-up at the plate. He made several adjustments throughout the year and finished the season swinging the bat well, posting a .278/.325/.403 line in August. Duinkerk may need another season in the Arizona Rookie League, but he will be 19 until late August, so he is still young.
Tyler Marincov: Marincov was the A's eighth-round pick in this year's draft. The Florida native came to the pros with the reputation for being a well-rounded player. He struggled during his pro debut season with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters, but Marincov made significant adjustments during the A's fall Instructs and could be in-line for a big bounce-back season in 2014.
Marincov was a two-sport athlete in high school, starring as a quarterback as well as an outfielder. He turned down an opportunity to play football collegiately to suit up for the University of North Florida's baseball team. During his junior season at UNF, Marincov batted .331 with a 985 OPS and 21 stolen bases. His performance at the plate suffered in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League, however, as he posted a 615 OPS. He struggled the most at the Lake Monsters' home park, posting a 507 OPS at home and a 709 OPS on the road.
Marincov is an excellent athlete who has some power, the speed to reach double-digits in stolen bases and the arm strength to handle right-field. He had to make some adjustments to his set-up and mechanics to adapt to professional pitching, but former A's minor league hitting coordinator Todd Steverson said that Marincov did an excellent job making those changes and that Marincov is very coachable. The Florida native will be 22 throughout next season and is likely to spend the year with Low-A Beloit.
Ryan Mathews: A senior sign out of NC State in 2012, Mathews has exceeded expectations thus far in his pro career. The outfielder played his way onto the Low-A Beloit roster with a strong spring training and then put together a solid season at the plate in a pitcher-friendly league. In 122 games with the Snappers, Mathews hit .260/.337/.446 with 32 doubles and 14 homeruns.
The right-handed thrower and hitter has an aggressive approach at the plate and he rarely misses a mistake. He was consistently one of the best hitters on the Snappers this season, posting OPSs of 782 or above in every month but one. Mathews is limited to the corner outfield spots and his aggressive approach could cause him problems at the upper levels, but he has the skills to put up some big numbers in the hitter-friendly California League next season. Mathews is also a strong clubhouse influence. He will be 24 for most of next season.
Ben McQuown: McQuown came to the A's via the draft this season after hitting .329 with 54 stolen bases and a .443 OBP for Campbell University. The native of Hawaii spent his first professional season with the AZL A's, where he led the team in OBP (.417), stolen bases (10 in 12 chances) and walks (22), despite playing in only 33 games. McQuown's .277 average was second on the team to A's first-round pick Billy McKinney's .320 and his 784 OPS was third on the team amongst players with more than 20 games played.
McQuown is a classic top-of-the-order hitter. He has some gap power, but mostly he uses his legs and his batting eye to reach base by being selective about what he swings at and keeping most of the balls he hits on the ground or on a line. McQuown has above-average speed and he is a smart base-runner, making the most of the speed that he has. At 23, he was old for the league he was in, and McQuown will continue to fight an age battle throughout his professional career. However, if he continues to post OBPs in the .380s or higher, he should find a path up the A's system.
D'Arby Myers: A minor league free agent signing before last season, Myers had a memorable first year in the A's organization. The former Phillies prospect had the longest hitting streak in the Texas League in 2013, hitting safely in 33 consecutive games during the final weeks of the season. The streak ended just days before the conclusion of the regular season. The A's liked what they saw from the speedy Myers, and they re-signed him to another minor league deal for the 2014 season.
Myers hit .285 for the RockHounds in 2013. He stole 20 bases and scored 75 runs in 118 games. Myers, a right-handed hitter, killed left-handed pitching, posting an OPS of 970. He didn't strike out a ton (70 in 485 at-bats), but he didn't walk a lot either (16). Myers doesn't have a lot of power, but he has plus speed and good contact skills. To be an asset offensively, he'll need to get on-base at a higher clip (his OBP was .320 in 2013). Despite being an eight-year minor league veteran, Myers was invited to the A's fall Instructional League to work on getting better reads when stealing bases and on his approach at the plate. The A's liked the progress Myers made in camp and he could be poised for a big 2014 season. Despite being a 2006 draft pick, Myers just turned 25 in December.
Chad Oberacker: Oberacker might not have a high prospect profile, but he has advanced relatively quickly through the A's organization. The outfielder was the second position player in his Oakland draft class to reach Double-A, having started the 2013 season with Midland (Beau Taylor was the first). Oberacker would spend the entire season with the RockHounds, logging 120 games, splitting his time almost evenly between all three outfield positions. Oberacker held his head above water in his first season at Double-A, maintaining an OPS in the 720s before a late season slump left him with a 694 OPS for the year.
Oberacker was a little unlucky on balls hit into play this season, posting a .288 BABIP. He also slumped badly against same-side (left-handed) pitching, hitting .131 against lefties while batting .261 versus right-handers. Oberacker is a classic top-of-the-order type hitter. He works the count well, uses the whole field and runs well (he was 17 of 18 in stolen bases in 2013 and swiped 30 in 2012; he also had 12 triples this season). Oberacker is a solid defender in all three spots. He will likely get another crack at Double-A at the start of 2014. If he can improve against left-handers, he could reach Triple-A by the end of the season.
Sandber Pimentel: Pimentel was an international amateur free agent signing before the 2012 season and he debuted with the DSL A's in 2012. He posted a .430 OBP in 115 at-bats with the DSL A's, but he managed just four extra-base hits and struggled defensively. The A's had Pimentel repeat the level in 2013 and he improved his overall game, showing some in-game power and a much better glove while maintaining a solid approach at the plate. Although limited by a leg injury early in the season, Pimentel posted a solid .255/.353/.422 line with 10 extra-base hits and a 22:15 K:BB.
"Sandber made solid progress this year, most notably on the defensive side of his game. It was an area he needed to address and it's a credit to him that he's made those improvements," A's International Scouting Coordinator Sam Geaney said. "The maturity of his at bats improved from '12-'13 and he still has some of the best power potential amongst the group down there."
Pimentel is a well-built 6'3'', 220 pounds and he projects to be a middle-of-the-order hitter down-the-road. He doesn't run particularly well, but Pimentel has a strong throwing arm that should play in right field. He will be 19 throughout the 2014 regular season and should make his US debut next year.
Boog Powell: In addition to having the best nickname in the A's organization, Powell offers promise as a top-of-the-order hitter with a good glove in centerfield. The Southern California native was the co-MVP of the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters this season. The 2012 draft pick hit .283/.364/.344 in 212 at-bats for Vermont. He swiped 14 bases and maintained a 34:26 K:BB in 59 games.
Powell doesn't hit for power, and he doesn't try to, either. Instead, he plays to his strengths, looking to hit the ball on the line or on the ground, taking advantage of his plus speed. Powell has a good approach at the plate, seeing a lot of pitches. Like many young left-handed hitters, Powell struggled against southpaws, but he hit .307 versus right-handers. Powell ended his season on a down note, as he separated his shoulder and had to miss the final week of the season. He is expected to be 100% for the start of spring training and he should be in-line for a spot on the Low-A Beloit roster in 2014. Powell will be 21 throughout the 2014 season.
Dusty Robinson: In two years as a professional, Robinson has proven that he can hit with power. In 2012, he led A's minor leaguers with 27 homeruns in a season split between Low-A and High-A. In 2013, Robinson connected on 21 homeruns in 458 at-bats for High-A Stockton. Unfortunately, Robinson has struggled to maintain a consistent and disciplined approach at the plate, which has prevented him from moving past A-ball despite the power numbers. In 2012, he had a 162:49 K:BB and in 2013, it was 146:41. His OBP in 2013 was .279.
At 5'11'', 200 pounds, Robinson is built like a powder keg, but he is a deceptively good athlete. He runs the bases well and he stole 18 bags in 22 chances in 2013. Robinson can cover a lot of ground in the corner outfield spots and he can play center in a pinch. Robinson will be 24 for much of the 2014 season. He will need to show a lot more plate discipline to advance to the upper levels, but if he can refine his approach, he has the power and the athleticism to be an intriguing prospect.
Taylor had a big year in 2013 for Sacramento, but he is out of big league options.
Michael Taylor: As was noted above in regards to Brown, we elected not to include Taylor in our top-50 list this year not because of his talent level or his chances of having a big league career, but because of the amount of time he has spent in Triple-A and the fact that he is out of options. Taylor has been in the A's organization since 2010 and has spent the bulk of his time playing for Triple-A Sacramento over the past four seasons. He has improved each season that he has spent with the River Cats, but that has yet to translate into a long look at the major league level.
In 2013, Taylor put together his best all-around season since 2009, when he was with the Phillies. He hit .281/.360/.474 with 18 homers, 85 RBI and a 88:50 K:BB in 420 at-bats. Taylor did spend a few weeks with the A's, but he struggled in limited appearances, collecting only one hit in 23 at-bats. Taylor has the talent to play every day in the major leagues, but he needs to run into a hot streak the next time he is called up, much like former A's prospect Chris Carter did when he was called up in 2012. Taylor will be battling for a spot as the A's fifth outfielder this spring. If he doesn't make the big league team out of spring training, he could be traded to another organization in need of major league outfield help.
Brett Vertigan: Vertigan was the A's 10th-round pick in 2012 out of UC-Santa Barbara. The Southern California native had a solid pro debut season with Vermont in 2012, batting .266 with a .338 OBP in a tough league for hitters. In 2013, Vertigan spent the entire season with the Low-A Beloit Snappers. He struggled to get hits to fall in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, posting an unlucky .279 BABIP. His overall line was .243/.333/.321. Despite the down numbers, Vertigan was a tough out all season for the Snappers and was one of the best base-runners in the A's system.
Vertigan played nearly everyday with the Snappers, appearing in 123 games. He spent much of the season at or near the top of the Snappers' line-up, where he would grind out at-bats. He posted a solid 64:55 K:BB. When Vertigan reached base, he made it count, stealing 21 bases (second on the team) in 27 chances. Vertigan also finished second on the Snappers in triples (5) and walks. He is an excellent athlete who can cover a lot of ground in center. With better luck on balls he hits into play next season, Vertigan should see his average and OBP rise significantly. He will be 23 throughout most of next season.