For a team such as the Oakland A’s, a strong farm system is a key part of their success. Their prospects are their lifeblood, as necessary as oxygen is to breathing. Having those top prospects can make a dramatic difference in the fortunes of the team.
However, the A’s farm system is not what it was. With top prospects such as Sean Murphy and Jesus Luzardo having graduated, the A’s system has fallen down the rankings. This does not mean that they are devoid of talent; the problem is that their top tier talent is a bit away from contributing at the major league level, or, in the case of A.J. Puk, of questionable health.
Three under the radar prospects for the Oakland A’s
Those top prospects do not always develop as expected. Sometimes, those can’t miss players do, in fact, miss. Sometimes, those unheralded prospects that do not show up on any top 100 lists are the ones that break out.
Let’s take a look at three under the radar prospects on the Oakland A’s to watch for the coming year.
In terms of appearance, James Kaprielian is exactly what a top pitching prospect would be. He stands 6’3″ tall, weighing 225 pounds. A former first round pick, he has a solid four pitch arsenal with excellent command. Kaprielian is what a top prospect is supposed to be.
And for a time, Kaprielian was just that. He was a consensus top 100 prospect prior to the 2017 season, a pitcher that was expected to move quickly through the Yankees system. However, injuries derailed that progress, and he was included as part of the package that brought Sonny Gray to the Bronx.
At 27 years old, Kaprielian is older for a prospect. Yet, he is likely ticketed for Triple-A due to a logjam in the rotation and his health issues. Should be pitch well, Kaprielian may be able to force his way back to the majors, especially if the A’s rotation has injury woes of their own.
It has been years since James Kaprielian was considered a can’t miss prospect in his own right. If he is going to be a late bloomer for the Oakland A’s, it will have to be this season.