1. Daric Barton, 1B
Stats To Date: .330/.420/.494/914 25 2B/2 3B/5 HR/44 RBI/ 1 SB/ 3 CS
After missing most of last season due to injury and putting up only mediocre numbers during the time he was on the field in 2006, Barton saw his stock as a prospect dip a bit in the off-season. He is clearly back on-track thanks to a strong first half and should be pushing for a big league call-up as soon as the Major League All-Star break. His defense at first is still a work-in-progress (although he isn't far behind where Dan Johnson was defensively when he was promoted), but he doesn't have much more to learn as a hitter. He already uses the whole field well, has good pitch recognition and he can drive the ball into the gaps when he wants to. His doubles haven't yet become homeruns, but that seems like only a matter of time. And he's still only 21 years old.
2. Mike Madsen, RHP
Stats To Date: 6-4, 3.02 ERA, 89.1 IP, 89 K, 35 BB, 1.20 WHIP
There have always been questions about Madsen's size. He is only 6'0'' and he has drawn comparisons to Tim Hudson with his stature. However, Madsen made 26 starts in 2006 without breaking down and he has pitched fairly deep into games this season, averaging six innings a start. Madsen's velocity has been better this season. He generally sits at around 90 MPH with his fastball and can occasionally ramp that up to 92-93. The biggest improvement in his game, however, has been the command of that fastball, which he is using lower in the strike zone than he was last season. That better placement has allowed him to miss more bats, as well as generate a lot of groundballs. Madsen will be 25 at the end of the year, so the A's aren't likely to be shy about moving him up to Triple-A by the end of the season if he continues to dominate at Double-A.
3. Landon Powell, C
Stats To Date: .292/.391/.502/893 9 2B/2 3B/11 HR/39 RBI/1 SB/0 CS
Based on his outstanding defense alone, Powell was likely to have a major league career regardless of how well he hit, provided he stayed healthy. That he is hitting at an All-Star level now makes him one of the elite catching prospects in all of baseball. Powell has shown no ill-effects from the serious knee injury that cost him the entire 2005 season. That injury allowed Kurt Suzuki the chance to move ahead of Powell in the A's minor league catching depth chart. However, if Powell continues to play as he has thus far this season, he will challenge Suzuki in the near future for playing time in Oakland.
4. Anthony Recker, C
Stats To Date: .312/.396/.584/980 17 2B/2 3B/13 HR/47 RBI/29 BB/54 K
Recker has put a lot of time into improving his defense, but it is still a work in progress. He has the size and agility to be a good defensive catcher, so the A's will give him time to improve behind the plate. However, the team may decide to move him to first base down the road if they feel he is being blocked at catcher by Powell and Suzuki. Recker has the power to play at first if he has to make that move. In a system dominated by left-handed hitters, Recker is one of the A's top right-handed minor league power threats. He figures to finish the year in Double-A Midland.
5. Donnie Murphy, IF
Stats To Date: .340/.410/.537/947 16 2B/2 3B/3 HR/17 RBI/16 BB/40 K
Although Murphy has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues (2004, 2005 and 2007), he is still a young player. He won't turn 25 until next March. He is still a bit of a free swinger and the A's would likely prefer to see his K:BB ratio closer to 1:1. However, he has a good, versatile glove, some pop and some speed. Murphy was given a cup of coffee at the major league level earlier this season, but he was only given four at-bats. With the A's injury troubles, he figures to get another look in Oakland sometime this season. Next year, he could challenge Marco Scutaro for the A's utility infield spot.
6. James Heuser, LHP
Stats To Date: 6-2, 2.90 ERA, 80.2 IP, 84 K, 26 BB, 1.12 WHIP
Heuser has decent velocity for a lefty. He regularly adds and subtracts off of a fastball that can reach 92 when he wants it to, but often sits in the high-80s. Heuser changes speeds well and has a good slider and a developing change-up. He works quickly and hides the ball well from hitters. Heuser in 2006, all for short-season Vancouver. Heuser was a junior college draft pick back in 2003 and the A's were bringing him along slowly even before his elbow injury. He is old for his league (23), but tall lefties usually have a longer learning curve than most pitchers, so the A's will likely move-up him with caution. He could be a nice surprise for the A's if he continues to pitch with the confidence he is showing right now.
7. Jason Perry, OF
Stats To Date: .271/.385/.493/877 13 2B/0 3B/11 HR/2 SB/0 CS
Perry got off to a hot start last season, making this list in 2006. However, he slumped in the second half and finished the year with a 799 OPS overall and a 694 OPS in Sacramento. Perry has improved his plate discipline somewhat this season and is showing the homerun power he displayed earlier in his minor league career. He is one of the A's better defensive outfielders, as well. Perry has fallen under the radar a bit since being removed from the A's 40-man roster before the 2006 season. However, the River Cats' coaching staff is high on Perry and if he can avoid that second-half drop-off that hurt him last season, he might get a chance with the A's in September.
8. Patrick Currin, RP
Stats To Date: 8 SV, 2.06 ERA, 43.2 IP, 25 H, 12 R, 16 BB, 51 K
Currin isn't a hard thrower, but he uses a three-quarters arm slot to generate a lot of movement on his pitches. He relies on his movement and on changing speeds to make hitters miss. He has a closer's mentality and likes to pitch in pressure situations. Currin was a senior draft pick and is already 23 years old, so the A's will likely continue to move him up the ladder if there are openings.
9. J.J. Furmaniak, IF
Stats To Date: .281/.371/.472/843 13 2B/1 3B/12 HR/39 RBI/17 SB/5 CS
Furmaniak was added to the 40-man roster when the A's brought him up to Oakland earlier this month. As long as he stays on the 40-man roster, he will be a good candidate for a call-up to Oakland if injuries strike the big league team because of his versatility.
10. Luke Appert, UT
Stats To Date: .324/.460/.463/923 14 2B/1 3B/6 HR/52 RBI/0 SB/0 CS
Appert, who will be 27 in July, may have one of the best batting eyes of any hitter in the minor leagues. Unfortunately, he has only average power and his ankle injury has robbed him of any chance of being a stolen-base threat. He entered the organization as a second baseman, but he has since been moved into the outfield. Appert is a solid team player and someone who has never really been given the chance at the higher levels that his career statistics suggest that he should have had. He might be a long-shot to make the major leagues at this point, although with his on-base skills, if he sticks around long enough, he might get a break late in his career, a la Doug Clark and Scott McClain.