Mid-Season Review: Prospects 11-20

In the second of our series, we take a mid-season look at the performances of prospects 11-20 on our pre-season top-50 prospects list. Compared to our pre-season top-10, which was filled with players battling injuries and slumps, prospects 11-20 have had relatively good health and success. Find out who is on the list inside...

11. Travis Buck:
Perhaps no single player in the Oakland A's system has done more to improve his stock this season than 2005 supplemental first round pick Travis Buck. The A's were obviously high on the Arizona State outfielder when they selected him last season, but he has already met or exceeded everyone's expectations with his quick climb through the A's system. Buck spent the first five weeks of the season with A-Stockton, where he led the moribund Ports' offense in nearly every offensive category. He was then promoted to AA-Midland on May 12 and hasn't skipped a beat despite making the tough transition from High-A to AA.

Buck is among the minor league leaders in extra-base hits with 45 this season, so although he hasn't produced huge homerun totals yet (seven homers thus far), he has shown good gap power. Buck has similar numbers to former Midland star Andre Ethier, but with better walk to strikeout totals. He has moved up at least two levels in each of his first two professional seasons. At that pace, Buck could be looking at a big league promotion sometime next season.

12. Dallas Braden:
Braden, the A's 2005 Organizational Pitcher of the Year, was another off-season injury casualty, as the lefty had off-season shoulder surgery. The screwball specialist was expected to miss most of the season, but he has worked his way back onto the field. He debuted with the A's Rookie League team on Tuesday, throwing two scoreless innings. The A's will undoubtedly be careful with Braden, who is one of their top left-handed pitching prospects, and he may pitch mostly in relief for the rest of this season to ease the strain on his left arm. He will likely head back to AA-Midland once he has regained his stamina down in Arizona.

13. Landon Powell:
Powell is one of the feel-good stories of the season in the Oakland A's system, as he has fought his way back from a scary knee injury to put together a strong season behind the plate for Stockton. Powell is tied for the Ports' team-lead in homers with 11 and he sports a healthy 829 OPS at the moment. However, Powell has been most impressive behind the plate this season. He has wowed scouts with his ability to control the opposition's running game and he has developed a good reputation for working well with the Ports' pitching staff. Thanks to missing last season with the knee injury, Powell is old for High-A, so he could see a promotion to AA-Midland at some point this season to get a taste of higher competition.

14. Ryan Webb:
Webb hasn't had the break-out season that we predicted he would over the winter, but he has still shown some positive signs as a 20-year-old pitcher in High-A. Webb has had tremendous control since being drafted by the A's and that control has carried over into this season. He has walked only 18 in 63 innings and he has allowed only five homeruns. Webb is at his best when hitters are beating the ball into the ground, but in the minor leagues, that can sometimes result in a lot of hits getting through the infield, and that certainly has been the case this season. With a 5.63 ERA, Webb has a lot to work on during the second half of the year, but he has some positives to build off of, as well.

15. Jason Windsor:
If Buck isn't the A's minor leaguer who has moved up the prospect charts the most this season, then it is Windsor, who has recovered from an injury-filled second-half of the 2005 season to shine in 2006. Windsor began the year in AA-Midland and went 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA in six starts for the Rockhounds before being promoted to AAA-Sacramento. Since arriving in AAA, Windsor has been the closest thing that the River Cats have had lately to an automatic win. He is 8-0 in 11 AAA starts with a 3.98 ERA.

Windsor is similar to current A's starter Dan Haren in that he doesn't blow anyone away with his stuff, but he throws a heavy ball and he pitches in the strike zone. Like Haren, Windsor has a terrific K:BB ratio this season at 107:28 and, like Haren, Windsor is a fierce competitor on the mound. If Kirk Saarloos continues to struggle in the A's rotation, Oakland may turn to Windsor in the second half of the year. At the very least, Windsor should enter the spring as the favorite to join the A's rotation out of camp.

16. Craig Italiano:
The injury bug bit Italiano, a 2005 second round pick, early on in the season. He went down with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season and could put the start of his 2007 season in doubt. Italiano, who throws his fastball in the upper-90s, was an injury concern when the A's drafted him due to his high impact throwing motion. He is still very young (19), so he has plenty of time to make an impact if he recovers fully from his shoulder problems.

17. Jared Lansford:
Lansford's numbers have fallen after an initial wave of success in his first month with the Kane County Cougars. After missing all of April with a minor shoulder injury, Lansford burst onto the scene in May, when he threw a no-hitter and held Midwest League batters to a batting average under .200. However, Lansford struggled with his control, even during that initial success, and those control problems caught up with him in June, when he posted an ERA over 7.00. He has cut-down on his walks recently, although he still isn't striking out too many batters. Growing pains were to be expected with Lansford, who was a late convert to pitching and is in his first full professional season. He has been learning a change-up and hasn't been allowed to throw his curveball, so his numbers overall should improve once he can use his entire pitching arsenal. One good sign? He has allowed only one homerun in 64.1 innings.

18. Brant Colamarino:
Colamarino destroyed AA pitching last season, earning a mid-season promotion to AAA, where he had decent power numbers but struggled to make consistent contact. Most people expected Colamarino to get another shot at AAA this season, but the A's decided to send him back to AA so that he and Daric Barton could play every day. Colamarino, perhaps disappointed to be back in AA, had a rough start to the season and, at one point in mid-May, was hitting in the .230s. However, he has used a monster June to get his numbers back on-track and he is now hitting .302 with a .475 slugging percentage. Colamarino is a good fielding first baseman with a line-drive bat, but he will be 26 at the end of the calendar year and it isn't clear where he fits in the A's overall plan since he is still at AA. He may be a trade chip for the A's at the deadline.

19. Jason Perry:
Perry had to endure a disappointing off-season when he was dropped from the A's 40-man roster after a season at AA-Midland that saw him hit for good power but struggle to make consistent contact. The corner outfielder returned to Midland to start the season and quickly put that disappointment behind him, batting .402 over the first five weeks of the season, earning a promotion to AAA-Sacramento. Perry struggled during his first three weeks in AAA, but has picked up the pace considerably since then and is now hitting .264 with five homers in 46 games for the River Cats. The A's have always liked Perry's power potential, but have been wary of his poor plate discipline. That plate discipline hasn't improved this season (68 strikeouts and only 26 walks). Still, he has a live bat and could provide a spark off of the bench for Oakland late in the season. Perry has a chronically sore throwing elbow, so he is likely limited to left-field at the major league level.

20. Brian Stavisky:
Stavisky has hit his first bump in the road through the A's system this season. After moving up a level each year, Stavisky was demoted for the first time in his career this season. He began the year in AAA-Sacramento, but he hit only .239 with two homers in 33 games with the River Cats. Stavisky was sent down to AA-Midland at the start of June and has been solid for the Rockhounds, hitting .325 with 15 RBI in 22 games. Stavisky, like Colamarino, is too good of a hitter to be stuck in AA. However, it isn't clear where Stavisky fits in the A's long-term plans. He projects to be a left-fielder/pinch-hitter at the major league level, but the A's already have one of those on their roster in Bobby Kielty.


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