Oakland A’s farm system ranked 17th in baseball
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s farm system has taken a hit since the start of the 2020 campaign, falling three spots to 17th in the game.
One had to imagine that the Oakland A’s farm system would slide down the rankings over the course of the 2020 season. Ranked as the 14th best system at the start of the 2020 season, the A’s were going to have players graduate out of the system as they exceeded their rookie eligibility. That was the case with both Sean Murphy and Jesus Luzardo, two of the A’s top four prospects.
Understandably, the A’s did slide down the farm standings, although not as badly as one could have expected. The A’s now rank 17th in baseball, falling three spots down the list.
This does not mean that the A’s are devoid of top talent in their farm system. A.J. Puk is still a top prospect, even if he has been plagued by injuries over the past three years. Robert Pauson has yet to play in a professional game, but he was considered one of the top international prospects in the 2019-20 signing period.
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However, the A’s are also likely to graduate several more players out of their top ten prospects in 2021. Puk, if healthy, is going to have a role in the majors in the coming year, either as a starter or a high leverage reliever. Jonah Heim had impressed the A’s coaching staff during his time in the majors in 2020, and presently has the inside track for the backup catcher role.
Puk’s role could also have a domino effect on other top ten prospects. Should he be utilized as a reliever, then Daulton Jefferies could end up in the A’s rotation to start the year. If Jefferies falters, then 12th ranked prospect James Kaprielian could get a look as a starter. Kaprielian could also have a role in the A’s bullpen as a long reliever to start the season as well.
Sheldon Neuse should also have a role on the 2021 A’s roster. The fifth ranked prospect in the system can play at second, third, or short, which could give him an inside track to a roster spot. The A’s starters at second and short are both free agents, potentially meaning that Neuse will have a major role in the coming year.
It is not a surprise that the Oakland A’s farm system slipped down the rankings after the 2020 season. They may fall further next year as they will need to count on even more prospects in 2021.