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Oakland A's Top 50 Prospects

Oakland Athletics top-50 prospects mid-season review: 40-31

During the off-season, we named our top-50 prospects in the Oakland Athletics 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 second of our series, we take a look at the progress of prospects 40-31 from our off-season list.

Skye Bolt / Photo by Chris Lockard
Skye Bolt is having a solid season for Stockton. / Photo by Chris Lockard

Note: every season, it is our tradition to do a mid-year check-in on our preseason Oakland Athletics top-50 prospects. This is not a re-ranking of current prospects. A new top-50 prospects list will be released this off-season. To view our preseason top-50 Oakland A’s prospects list, click here.

Stats as of 6/25/17

40. Miguel Mercedes, 1B

Mercedes made history last season when he tied the Vermont Lake Monsters’ franchise record for homeruns in a season with 12. He has continued to hit homers at a frequent pace in 2017. In one fewer game played than all of last season, Mercedes has equaled his 2016 homer total with 12 for the Low-A Beloit Snappers. Overall, Mercedes, 21, is batting .242/.295/.445 in 256 at-bats in the Midwest League.

Mercedes’ homer totals are solid, but he has struggled to get on-base at a consistent clip. He didn’t walk once in April, but he improved in that area in May, walking 11 times in 24 games. He hit only .184 in May, however. So far in June, Mercedes is hitting for average, power and is getting on-base at a good clip with a .316/.360/.468 line. Mercedes is tied for third in the league in homers and 13th in the league in doubles. He still needs to continue to work on his approach, but he has shown the ability to make in-season adjustments and the power is impressive.

Progress: Improving after slow start

39. Chris Iriart, 1B

After hitting 22 homeruns in his first full professional season in 2016, Iriart has struggled with the Stockton Ports in 2017. The burly first baseman is batting .202/.269/.363 with eight homers and an 86:14 K:BB in 55 games this year for the Ports. He has only one hit in 21 at-bats over his first eight games in June.

Iriart showed some improvement in May after a poor April, but he has backslid again in June. With Sandber Pimentel finally healthy for the Ports, Iriart’s playing time could decrease. He needs a hot streak like the one that carried him from Beloit to Stockton late last season.

Progress: Battling a slump

38. Skye Bolt, CF

The multi-talented Bolt showed glimpses of what he was capable of during an injury-plagued stint with the Low-A Beloit Snappers in 2016. Bolt appeared in 101 games for the Snappers and hit .231/.318/.345, but he battled injuries for most of the year. In 2017, Bolt has been mostly healthy and his numbers have reflected that. In 59 games for the Ports, Bolt is hitting .244/.343/.453 with 30 walks, five triples and seven homeruns. In addition to his work on offense, Bolt has dazzled in the field. Playing exclusively in centerfield, Bolt has covered a ton of ground and has four outfield assists. Bolt recently represented the Ports in the Cal League All-Star game.

Bolt isn’t necessarily the kind of hitter who will put up high batting averages, but he has a good approach at the plate. He is 13th in the league in walks and 26th in on-base percentage. Bolt’s power has come mostly from the left-side of the plate, but he has hit for much higher average from the right side. Although he is only five-for-10 in stolen bases this season, Bolt has above-average speed and he has used it to take extra bases on balls in play frequently this season. If he stays healthy, he may get a shot in Double-A by the end of the year.

Progress: Showing his talents

37. James Naile, RHP

Naile was a traveling man during his standout first full pro season, pitching for all four of the A’s full-season affiliates in 2016. In 2017, Naile has been with the Midland RockHounds all season, although he may have found himself on the move if he hadn’t injured an oblique on May 14. Before the injury, Naile had a 3.22 ERA and a 29:13 K:BB in 36.1 innings for the RockHounds.

Naile is still in Mesa rehabbing the injury, but he should return sometime in July. He still has a chance to reach Triple-A before the end of the season. Naile’s walk totals have gone up a bit this season, but he is still inducing groundballs at a high rate and he continues to be very effective.

Progress: Working his way back from injury

36. Sandber Pimentel, 1B

Injury has severely impacted Pimentel’s 2017 season. A back injury had Pimentel on the DL to start the year. He returned on April 15, only to re-aggrevate the back injury two games later. Pimentel didn’t re-emerge from the disabled list until June 10. Since returning, Pimentel has been red-hot. He is batting .353/.405/.618 with two homers since being activated.

Pimentel is still working his way into a regular playing schedule, but he has a chance to push his way into Double-A if he gets a strong month of July under his belt. Pimentel hit 21 homers and walked 60 times for the Ports last season.

Progress: Back on the field after extended time missed with injury

35. Brett Graves, RHP

Despite a very solid second half with the Stockton Ports last season, Graves returned to the Ports to begin the 2017 campaign. It didn’t take long for Graves to make it clear that he was ready for Double-A. In 24.2 innings with the Ports, Graves posted a 2.55 ERA and a 29:3 K:BB. He earned a promotion to Midland on May 6. His time in Double-A has been a bit more of a mixed bag. He had a 3.12 ERA through his first five outings for the RockHounds but allowed 13 runs in nine innings over his last two appearances. That bumped his Double-A ERA to 5.97. Graves landed on the DL on June 19 with shin splints, an issue that may have contributed to his last two poor outings.

In general, Graves has taken a big step forward this season. He is throwing all five of his pitches (four-seam fastball, cut-fastball, change-up, curveball and slider) well and is filling up the strike-zone. He is inducing groundballs at a high rate. If he can get back to throwing like he was before his shin issue, Graves could reach Triple-A by the end of the year.

Progress: Pitching well but dealing with minor injury

34. Tyler Marincov, OF

Marincov was in the middle of an outstanding 2017 season when bad luck struck. Last week, he was hit in the left hand by a pitch and suffered a fracture that will sideline him for several weeks. Before the injury, Marincov was set to participate in the Texas League All-Star game and he was a strong candidate to make a second-half move to Triple-A.

For much of the season, Marincov has been the glue that has held the middle of the RockHounds’ offense together. In 68 games, he was batting .275/.353/.470 with nine homers and 49 RBI. Strike-outs have always been an issue for Marincov, but he has maintained a solid walk rate while hitting for average and power this season. Marincov is a solid corner outfielder with a good arm. He had thrown out four base-runners from right field this season. Depending on the speed of his recovery, Marincov could still get a shot in Triple-A this year and he should be a strong candidate for the Arizona Fall League if he is healthy.

Progress: Recovering from injury

33. James Harris, OF

Harris was the breakout player of the year in the A’s system last season, when he hit .297/.370/.410 with 21 stolen bases between Stockton and Midland. Harris’ 2017 season got off to a rough start, however, when he was held back in Extended Spring Training after suffering from fainting spells and dizziness during the spring. He was finally cleared to play in May and he joined the Ports on May 22. Unfortunately, Harris’ season didn’t get much better from there. He hit .244/.303/.341 in 21 games for Stockton and was released on June 16. He is still currently a free agent.

Progress: Free agent

32. Rangel Ravelo, 1B

Ravelo came into spring training fighting for a job after losing his spot on the A’s 40-man roster during the off-season. The 25-year-old first baseman spent all of the 2016 season with Nashville, where he hit .262/.334/.395. Ravelo still showed excellent bat control – striking out just 63 times – but he had yet to hit for the kind of power one would expect from a first baseman. He received only six at-bats in big league camp this spring and he collected only one hit, although it was a homerun.

With the A’s crowded at first base in Triple-A, it wasn’t a shock to see Ravelo released at the end of spring training. He signed on with the St. Louis Cardinals in early April. On April 28, Ravelo joined the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. In 39 games for the Redbirds, Ravelo has impressed. He is batting .325/.393/.492. Ravelo has only three homeruns, but he has 12 doubles.

Progress: Impressing with a new organization

31. Eli White, SS

White opened a lot of eyes in his pro debut season with short-season Vermont, when the Clemson alum batted .275 with a .344 OBP and flashed an impressive glove at shortstop in 65 games for the Lake Monsters. He jumped past Low-A and began the 2017 season with High-A Stockton. In 68 games for the Ports, White’s batting average has dipped to .259, but his OBP (.346) and SLG (.359) are actually slightly higher than they were last year. White’s fielding percentage has dipped slightly from .937 to .935, but he has continued to show impressive range and a strong arm.

White hasn’t shown much over-the-fence power in his brief pro career, but he has a solid approach at the plate and the speed to turn balls in the gap into doubles and triples. Defensively, he has a chance to be an above-average gloveman at shortstop. As a top-of-the-order threat with a good glove, White continues to be a solid prospect.

Progress: Playing well in the Cal League

Oakland Athletics top-50 prospects mid-season review: 50-41

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