31. Connor Robertson, RP:
Robertson has been one of the A's top strikeout pitchers since he was drafted in 2004. He has continued that trend in 2007, striking out 25 in 23.1 innings in the minors and two in two innings in the majors. He gets excellent downward movement on his fastball, but he only throws it in the high-80s/low-90s, meaning that he has to be on target with his command to be effective. He was wild within the strikezone in the major leagues and that resulted in him being hit around. Some of that wildness may have been due to nerves. Robertson figures to get another shot in the A's bullpen in September and should be a candidate to win a spot with the A's next spring.
32. Brad Kilby, RP:
Kilby has a deceptive throwing motion and he hides the ball well. His fastball is between 88-92 and he has an excellent change-up and a good slider. Kilby has struggled with his control at various points during his career and those problems have continued at times this season. He has allowed six homeruns in those 42.1 Double-A innings after not allowing any homers all of last season. Kilby has been very good with no runners on-base, but he has struggled with runners-on. When Kilby's command is good, he is very difficult to hit. Like Robertson, Kilby doesn't have a huge margin for error when he misses in the strikezone. Kilby has moved quickly through the A's system and could start next season at Triple-A if he finishes the 2007 campaign strong.
33. Gregorio Petit, 2B/SS:
Petit had to play a lot of second base in 2006 when he was sharing the infield with Cliff Pennington, but he has primarily been playing at his natural shortstop position this season. He has the arm and the range to be a major league shortstop and did a nice job at second base when he played there last season. Offensively, he has the skills to be an Omar Vizquel-type offensive player. However, he tends to fall in love with his power at times, which causes him to over-swing and strike-out more than he should. Petit is one of the more coachable players in the A's system. The A's told him to work on going the other way this season and he has done a lot more of that, which has resulted in a more consistent approach. He doesn't walk a lot (29 in 343 at-bats this season), which hurts his chances of being a top-of-the-order hitter in the major leagues. However, he is only 22 years old and he still has time to learn to be a more patient hitter. He has good speed, although he still gets caught stealing a fair share of the time. Petit's glove should get him to the major leagues at least as a back-up even if he doesn't improve his strikezone judgment. However, if he can find a way to get on-base more consistently, Petit has the talent to be a starting major league shortstop.
34. Anthony Recker, C:
Recker is still a work-in-progress defensively, but the A's will try to keep him behind the plate, as his bat would be a big plus as a catcher. He has struggled receiving the ball at times and has been inconsistent with his footwork while making throws down to second base. However, he has a very strong work ethic, which would lead one to believe that he will improve over time. Offensively, he has a classic slugger's mentality. Recker has a long swing that can lead to strikeouts, but also leads to some monstrous homeruns. He does a good job going to all fields and he has average speed for a catcher. Recker was a four-year college player, so he will be turning 24 in August despite being in only his second full professional season. With Landon Powell potentially missing the first part of next season, Recker could be fast-tracked to Triple-A in 2008. However, he'll need to show that he has made the adjustment to Double-A pitching the rest of this season for the promotion to be possible.
35. Ryan Webb, SP:
This season has been a frustrating one for Webb. Mechanics have always been Webb's biggest problem and he felt that he finally established a good throwing motion at the start of the season. The arm soreness while in Double-A messed with those mechanics a bit and he has been working his way back to his early season form ever since. When the A's selected Webb in 2004 out of a Florida high school, they projected that he would eventually throw in the mid-90s thanks to his 6'6'' frame. He hasn't been able to develop that kind of velocity and sits mostly in the high-80s. However, Chris Young has proven that tall pitchers can be effective without mid-90s stuff if they have good control, which is something that Webb has had throughout his career. The next step for Webb is to learn to hit the corners, rather than pitching in the middle of the strikezone. He hasn't advanced as quickly as the A's may have hoped, but he won't turn 22 until next February, so he has time to put it all together.
36. Myron Leslie, 3B/OF:
Leslie has the tools to be a valuable bench player in the major leagues. He has a good eye at the plate, bats from both sides and can play multiple positions. However, for Leslie to be considered for a major league spot down the road, he'll need to add more power to his game. He has a power-hitter's frame at 6'3'', 220; however, he has a tendency to go the other way rather than looking to pull the ball. Leslie's sore knee has contributed to his lack of power, as well. When he returns from the DL, Leslie will have to compete for playing time with the recently promoted Javier Herrera and the red-hot Luke Appert. If he can put a few good weeks together at the end of the season, Leslie could still be considered for Triple-A next season, although much of that decision will depend on whether guys like Danny Putnam and Jason Perry are in Triple-A in 2008. Leslie will be 26 next May.
37. Shane Keough, OF:
Keough, who won't turn 21 until mid-September, figured to be a project prospect when the A's signed him. Despite his baseball background, Keough wasn't a polished player coming out of high school. He honed his skills a bit during his one season at Yavapai JC, but the back injury set him back. Keough has good raw tools. He runs well, throws well and has a swing that can generate good gap power. Keough still needs to learn how to recognize pitches and how to stay within the strikezone. He figures to do a lot of learning during the A's Instructional League season. His progress there could determine whether Keough starts the season in Low-A Kane County or repeats short-season in 2007.
38. Brad Ziegler, P:
Ziegler has taken very quickly to his new throwing motion. His control has been excellent and he has generated a lot of groundballs. Like most sidearmers/submariners, Ziegler has dominated hitters from the same-side of the plate (in his case, the right-side), while struggling against opposite-side hitters. He has kept the ball in the park against lefties, but they have hit him hard, especially in Triple-A. In Triple-A, righties have hit .217 off of Ziegler, while lefties have hit .426. With his good control and groundball abilities, Ziegler could have a major league career with a team looking for a Chad Bradford-like presence in their bullpen. Unfortunately for Ziegler, teams more often look for left-handed specialists than right-handed specialists. However, the A's are one team that hasn't been shy about carrying a righty specialist in the past. Ziegler was a minor league free agent signing in 2004, so he can elect to be a free agent at the end of every season in which he isn't on the 40-man roster. Now that he has a more defined role and he has had significant time in Triple-A as a reliever, Ziegler could be quite marketable this off-season for a team looking to build a young, cheap bullpen if the A's don't add him to the 40-man roster. Should he not be added to the 40-man and still elect to stay with the A's, Ziegler would be a candidate for a non-roster invitation to major league spring training next year to compete for a bullpen spot.
39. Christian Vitters, SS/3B:
Although he played a lot of shortstop in college, Vitters has been moved to third base this season. He was big for a shortstop (6'2'', 205), so third base is probably more of a natural fit. Vitters comes from a baseball family, with his younger brother Josh being a top-five pick by the Chicago Cubs this season. The older Vitters was thought to be a polished offensive player when he was selected, so his struggles at the start of the season were somewhat surprising. However, if he continues to hit as he has so far during the month of July, those struggles can probably be connected to his recovery from the hand injury. How he finishes the season will have a lot to do with where he starts next year. He turned 22 in late June.
40. Tom Everidge, 1B:
Everidge is one of the strongest players in the A's system, but that strength may be working against him this season. He appears to be trying to pull everything, and that approach has led to his disappointing numbers. Defensively, Everidge is average at best over at first base, so he will need his bat to take him further in the organization. He is an extremely hard worker and one of the fan favorites in Stockton this season. However, if he wants to avoid another season in the California League, he'll need to start reaching base a lot more regularly.