Beyond The A's Top 55 Prospects

Last week, we released our revised rankings of the top 55 prospects in the Oakland A's system. Today, we take a look at 10 players who just missed the cut for the top-55 prospect list.

To view the top-55 prospects list, please click here.

Chad Boyd, OF:
After batting .349 in 69 games as a 21-year-old in 2006, Boyd was expected to put up big numbers offensively in 2007 with High-A Stockton. The corner outfielder began the year in the middle of the Ports' line-up, but he struggled out of the gate with Stockton. Before the All-Star break, Boyd hit only .249 with three homers and a 689 OPS. He picked up his play considerably during the second half of the season. He hit .290 with five homers and an 809 OPS after the All-Star break and finished the year with a respectable .270 average.

Boyd improved defensively in 2007, covering more ground in right than in previous years. He also increased his speed and swiped a career-high nine bases. Boyd doesn't have the raw speed to play center regularly, however. He has a compact swing that produces line-drives to all fields and is well-suited to hitting for average. Boyd doesn't have the prototypical size for a corner outfielder (5'10'', 190), and his power is still developing. He will be 23 next season, and he may have to repeat at High-A to start the season. However, if he can pick up where he left off with Stockton at the start of next season, he should find his way to Double-A sooner rather than later.

Jeremy Brown, C:
Despite being dropped from the A's 40-man roster during the regular season, Brown turned in one of his best minor league campaigns in 2007. The 2002 first round pick batted .276 with 14 homers and an 833 OPS in 94 games for the Sacramento River Cats. He was one of the most consistent performers for the River Cats in 2007 and helped them win the PCL and Triple-A Championships.

Brown will never challenge for any Gold Gloves behind the plate, but he has improved his defense considerably over the past two seasons. He also showed some versatility with the glove in 2007, playing some third and first base for the River Cats. As a hitter, Brown has good balance, a strong sense of the strike zone and above-average power for a catcher. Although he likely isn't strong enough defensively to be an everyday catcher at the major league level, Brown could be a solid back-up catcher in the major leagues. He hit well during his brief stint with Oakland in 2006, and he has an approach at the plate that would be well-suited for a pinch-hitting role. Brown will be entering his final season under the A's control in 2008 and he may find that he has a better shot of sticking in the majors with a different organization. He will be 28 throughout the 2008 season.

Kristian Bell, P:
Bell was one of the two pitchers that the A's acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Marco Scutaro in November. Bell pitched at the High-A level for Toronto's Florida State League affiliate in 2007. He struggled as a swingman for Dunedin, posting a 5.33 ERA and striking out only 46 in 77.2 innings. Bell had been better in previous years, posting ERAs of 3.80 and 3.14 in 2006 and 2005, respectively.

Bell has an above-average fastball that sits in the low- to mid-90s and a good change-up. He also throws a curveball and a slider. His mechanics have been inconsistent throughout his career and have hindered his control. Bell has been both a starter and a reliever during his career, but he is probably best suited for the bullpen because of his mechanical difficulties. If he throws well during spring training, Bell will likely head to Double-A, although he could start the 2008 season back in High-A. He will be 24 throughout the 2008 season.

Kyle Christensen, P: After being selected in the 15th round of the 2006 draft out of a Southern California high school, Christensen struggled with his control as a 17-year-old in the Arizona Rookie League that season. He also developed arm problems at the end of the year and was brought along slowly at the start of the 2007 season. Christensen repeated in the Arizona Rookie League in 2007 and had much better results the second time around. He had a 4.36 ERA, and he struck out 71 in 66 innings.

Christensen pitched the entire 2007 season as an 18-year-old. The rangy right-hander throws his fastball in the high 80s and he has a slurve and a straight change-up. Christensen is very young and is still learning to pitch. The A's are hopeful he will add more velocity to his fastball as he grows into his 6'3'' frame and perfects his mechanics. If healthy, Christensen will likely pitch for the Vancouver Canadians in 2008. He will be 19 throughout the regular season.

Frank Martinez, IF:
Martinez spent the 2007 season with High-A Stockton Ports, playing in a team-high 131 games. The switch-hitting infielder hit .267 with 12 homers and 14 stolen bases in his first taste of High-A baseball. The Dominican native drove-in 60 runs and led the Ports with six triples and 28 doubles. He also led the Ports with 32 errors.

Martinez, who turned 22 midway through the 2007 season, is a raw talent. He has a good combination of speed and power and he has good athleticism. Martinez needs to improve his plate patience, especially from the right-side of the plate. Defensively, Martinez has a strong arm and quick feet, but he still struggles at times with the routine play. He can play both second and third base, but he is best suited at third. Martinez has a lot of refining to do to his game, but the A's could challenge him with a promotion to Double-A in 2008.

Lee Land, P: Land signed just before the August deadline after being selected by the A's in the 28th round of the 2007 draft. Land didn't pitch collegiately in 2007 after transferring to UNC-Greensboro before the start of the season. He participated in the Cape Cod League after being drafted by the A's and Oakland liked what they saw from Land and signed him before the deadline. He appeared in seven games for Vancouver before the end of the season, and he didn't allow a run in 12.1 innings.

Land had Tommy John surgery while in college in 2004, and he spent time with three schools, which limited the experience he had in college. Land throws his fastball in the low- to mid-90s. He also has a sharp curveball and a change-up. Land was already 23 when he signed with the A's, but he has a chance to move quickly through the system as a late-inning reliever. He should see time in High-A at some point during the 2008 season.

Aaron Jenkins, P:
Jenkins was selected in the 22nd round of the 2007 draft by the A's after he had a standout career for Northern Iowa. The left-hander made 15 appearances in relief for the Vancouver Canadians after signing. He struck out an incredible 41 batters in 22.1 innings. Jenkins walked 20 and had a 4.43 ERA, but Northwest League hitters batted only .160 against him.

Jenkins' best pitch is a 12-to-6 curveball that eats up both left-handers and right-handers. He throws his fastball in the high-80s. Jenkins stands at only 5'8'' and he weighs only 180 pounds, so he is probably going to stay in the bullpen as a pro despite being a starting pitcher in college. He set strike out records in college and was a strike out pitcher during his pro debut. Jenkins will need to improve his control to succeed in the higher levels, but he proved to be very difficult to hit last season and could have a future as a lefty set-up man in the big leagues. He will be 23 throughout the 2008 season.

Jason Glushon, P: Glushon was signed as a non-drafted free agent this season by the A's after he had a standout career for Emory University. The right-hander spent most of his pro debut season with the A's Rookie League team. In 57.2 innings with the AZL A's, Glushon had a 3.75 ERA. Most remarkably, however, Glushon struck out 42 batters while walking only three. That performance earned Glushon a late-season promotion to Double-A Midland, where he allowed two earned runs in six innings and struck out nine while walking only one.

Glushon is a finesse pitcher who rarely throws harder than 85 MPH. He has impeccable control, however, and mixes his fastball well with his slider and change-up. Glushon keeps his pitches down in the strike zone and induces a lot of groundballs. It remains to be seen whether Glushon will be able to overcome his lack of velocity at the higher levels. However, his control and pitching smarts give him a fighting chance to succeed.

Bobby Cramer, P:
Cramer was signed as a free agent by the A's in May when injuries devastated their minor league pitching ranks. The left-hander had been out of baseball since 2005 and wasn't expected to be a huge contributor when he signed. However, Cramer defied expectations, going 9-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 97.1 innings for Single-A Stockton and Double-A Midland. Cramer struck out 91 and walked only 20. He finished the year pitching for Triple-A Sacramento in the PCL playoffs.

Cramer features a high-80s fastball, a cut fastball and a curveball. He is also working on a change-up, although he rarely used it last season. Cramer had success both in the rotation and in the bullpen last season, but he is likely to reach the big leagues quicker out of the bullpen. He will be 28 throughout the 2008 season.

Brad Ziegler, P:
Ziegler made the transition from starter to sidearm reliever in 2007 and it was a successful transition. The A's asked Ziegler to go to a side-arm throwing motion before the 2007 season. He took to the new motion quickly and posted a 2.41 ERA in 78.1 relief innings for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. Ziegler held opposing batters to a .227 batting average and he didn't allow a homerun. He won 12 games and saved two more, and he was one of the River Cats' best relievers during the PCL playoffs.

Ziegler does not throw hard, but his throwing motion makes it very difficult for hitters to square him up. He is particularly tough on right-handed hitters, who batted under .200 against Ziegler in 2007. Lefties hit better than .330 against Ziegler. He is an extreme groundball pitcher, inducing more than three groundouts for every flyball out last season. Ziegler will be invited to major league spring training as a non-roster invitee for the first time this spring. He could factor in the A's bullpen plans before the end of the season.

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