Mid-Season Review: A's Prospects 50-46

During the off-season, we named our top-50 prospects in the Oakland A's system. Now that we have passed the midway point of the season, we thought it would be a good time to check the progress of those players. In the first of our series, we take a look at the progress of prospects 50-46 from our off-season list.

* Note: These rankings were made prior to the 2010 season. Adjustments for 2010 performance will be made to the rankings during the off-season. Stats as of June 29, 2010

50. Stephen Parker

Parker didn't even crack our original top-50 ranking, but made it on this final list after the A's traded some of our original top-50 prospects. We noted at the time that we expected the A's 2009 fifth-round pick to rise up on this list in 2010, and that prediction, at least, is coming true. After a disappointing 2009 stint with Low-A Kane County, Parker has parlayed an impressive showing at the A's Fall Instructional League into a standout 2010 first half with the Stockton Ports.

Parker has been among the California League leaders in numerous offensive categories throughout the season and he was the Ports' lone Cal League All-Star representative. As of Tuesday, Parker was batting .302 with a 906 OPS in 75 games. Parker was doing a good job of getting on-base (.409 OBP and 49 walks) and hitting for power (nine homers, 23 doubles and two triples). After playing first base for Kane County, Parker is back to his familiar spot at third. If he can match (or come close to matching) his first half production, Parker will undoubtedly be in the top half of this ranking next year. He may also find himself getting his first taste of Double-A before the year is out.

Status: On the rise

49. Conner Crumbliss

After being selected in the 28th round last season, Crumbliss burst onto the scene with a big professional debut, batting .290/.427/.404 in 71 games for short-season Vancouver and Low-A Kane County. In roughly the same number of games this season, Crumbliss is still getting on base at an above-average clip (.386), but his average (.236) and power (.306) numbers are way down. Crumbliss' 64 walks put him second in all of minor league baseball and his 15 stolen bases put him third among all A's minor leaguers. Versatility is a big part of Crumbliss' game, and while he has played the majority of his games at second base this season, he has also spent time at all three outfield spots.

In the second half, Crumbliss will need to show the ability to hit for average and for some power that he demonstrated last season. It will be harder and harder for him to work walks if he doesn't show that he can hit the ball with authority, as pitchers will not be afraid to challenge him. Crumbliss shined when the weather was hot last season in the Midwest, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him put together a big second half.

Status: Looking for his bat to match the weather

48. Ryan Ortiz

Catchers with 968 OPSs aren't supposed to be able to fly under the radar, yet Ortiz is seemingly doing just that with Stockton this season. Because he has played in only 41 games, Ortiz does not qualify for the California League leader board for batting average or OPS. However, if he had enough at-bats, he'd be right up there with the biggest names in the Cal League. Ortiz should get more playing time in the second half of the season now that Petey Paramore has moved onto Double-A.

The A's sixth-round pick from last season has done everything well at the plate. He has hit lefties (1041 OPS) and righties (930 OPS) well. He has hit well with runners in scoring position (1068 OPS) and with the bases empty (1000 OPS). Ortiz has also gotten better every month this season. He had only a 717 OPS in April, but his numbers climbed to 940 and 1134 in May and June, respectively. Like nearly every A-ball catcher not named Landon Powell or Buster Posey, Ortiz still has a lot of work to do on his defense (six errors and eight passed balls in 38 games), but his caught-stealing percentage is a decent 35%. If Ortiz's second half comes close to matching his first, he will be high on our prospect list next season.

Status: Needs simply to keep on keeping on

47. Michael Spina

With Parker, Ortiz and Spina in the Ports line-up, it's a wonder they haven't won more games this season. Like the two aforementioned Ports, Spina is off to a strong start offensively. Through Tuesday, Spina was second in RBIs (63) and seventh in homers (13) in the California League. His homerun total was also second in the A's organization to Sacramento's Chris Carter. Like many of his fellow Ports, Spina got off to a rough start in April (one homerun and a 680 OPS), but he has been on the climb since then (793 OPS and seven homers in May and 910 OPS and five homers in June).

Strike-outs have been the biggest bugaboo for Spina offensively, as he had 81 in his first 72 games. However, his role on the Ports is to be a run-producer and he has been exactly that. Defensively, Spina has had to learn a new position on the fly this season. He has admitted that he is still working to feel comfortable at first base and his 12 errors are reflective of that. However, he showed good hands and footwork when he was over at third base, so it seems likely that his defense at first will improve markedly once he has had more time at the position. Like Parker and Ortiz, Spina needs only to continue to drive-in runs and hit for homeruns at his first half pace to march up this list.

Status: A candidate to reach the century mark in RBIs

46. Graham Godfrey

Despite winning 11 games and being named to the Texas League's post-season All-Star team last season, Godfrey was set to return to Double-A Midland before late spring training injuries created an opening for Godfrey in the Sacramento rotation. He has spent the entire season with the River Cats. In 16 appearances (15 starts and one long relief appearance after a rehabbing pitcher started the game), Godfrey has a 5.02 ERA and 41 walks in 86 innings. He has struck-out 69 and held opposing batters to a .248 average. Godfrey has been outstanding at home, posting a 3.40 ERA and a .197 average against.

It has been an up-and-down season for Godfrey, as those numbers would suggest. He has had stretches of excellence, only to follow those stretches with one or two blow-up starts. Command has been an issue for the right-hander and he has been more of a flyball pitcher than in past years. He allowed eight homeruns all of last season, but he has given up seven already in 2010. Since coming to the A's before the 2008 season, Godfrey has been a workhorse, pitching no fewer than 134 innings in any season and pitching in two post-seasons. He is on-pace to match those regular season innings totals once again, but if the River Cats are going to make it three post-seasons in a row for Godfrey, he will have to start limiting those blow-up starts.

Status: Looking maintain a consistent groove

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