The Runner Sports

Breaking Down the A’s Deadline Haul

Trading away Sonny Gray, Sean Doolittle, and Ryan Madson landed the Oakland A’s an intriguing medley of prospects. Between the two trades, the A’s received a mix of upside and safety. Both bats and arms were acquired, from MLB-established players to far away prospects in rookie ball. Let’s take a look at what to expect out of these newest Athletics.

RHP Blake Treinen (Highest level: MLB)

The only player with MLB experience under his belt (Fowler notwithstanding), Treinen provides the most immediate impact. A flamethrower with a sinker second to only Zach Britton, Treinen has the makings of a dominant reliever. Coming off several strong seasons out of the Nationals’ bullpen, including a 2.27 ERA in 2016, he was deemed their closer to begin the season. Despite scuffling initially, his peripherals remained steady with K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and FIP all remaining at career levels. He will step into the back-end of Oakland’s pen and hopefully take over the closer role. Treinen is off to a strong start, with a 1.74 ERA in 10 outings, and 11 K’s in 10.1 innings. Hopefully, he continues to maintain this level of pitching, and given his track record, it seems quite possible he will.

OF Dustin Fowler (Highest Level: AAA)

Technically, Fowler has already played in the major leagues. Making his debut on June 29, Fowler ran into a wall and suffered a season-ending knee injury before making a plate appearance or having a fielding chance. He has, however, an extensive minor league track record showing off his combo of power and speed. Before his call-up, Fowler was slashing .293/.329/.542 with 13 homers and steals in AAA. Assuming he can fully recover from his ruptured patella tendon in the right knee, he should be in play for the Opening Day center field job in 2018.

SS/OF Jorge Mateo (Highest Level: AA)

Rumored to be the key to the Sonny Gray deal, Mateo is one of the most exciting prospects in the game. With 80-grade speed that rivals Billy Hamilton, Mateo can change games with his legs. Once a top 30 prospect by Baseball America and MLB.com, Mateo had fallen off a bit with weak numbers in High-A ball. However, with a hot start after a promotion to AA, Mateo has recaptured his stock. He swiped 82 bags in 2015 and already has 40 on the year this year. If he reaches full potential, Mateo has a Jose Reyes type ceiling.

3B/SS Sheldon Neuse (Highest Level: A+)

A second round pick by the Nationals last season out of the University of Oklahoma, Neuse was a two-way player in college. Outside of swinging a mean stick, he also served as Oklahoma’s closer, running his fastball into the mid-90s. His arm is a plus, so his defense is solid at third base, and he can handle short if needed. His bat is what stands out, however, and he has posted an early .389/.466/.619 line with 4 homers in his short stint with A+ Stockton so far. If he continues to hit, look for him to move quickly through the system.

RHP James Kaprielian (Highest Level: A+)

The Yankees’ first selection in 2015, Kaprielian has flashed frontline stuff in his time in the minor leagues. With a fastball up to 99 and a slider touching 90, Kaprielian has the makings of the next Oakland ace. However, he has only thrown 29 total innings so far in pro ball, owing to multiple injuries, most recently Tommy John surgery in March. When healthy, Kaprielian shows top-of-the-rotation potential. He has four above-average offerings to go with strong command. He needs to make a full recovery first, but if or when he does, watch out.

LHP Jesus Luzardo (Highest level: Rookie)

Ranked as the top prep lefty in the draft class in 2016, Luzardo underwent Tommy John that spring and it significantly hurt his draft stock. The Nationals selected him anyway and gave him a massive $1.4 million signing bonus. Despite his injury, the Nationals saw elite potential in him and were willing to roll the dice. Fully recovered, he is now getting his feet wet in Rookie ball, flashing mid-90s velocity and a plus changeup. He mixes in a solid-average curveball as well. While he is a long ways away from the big leagues, Luzardo also has tremendous upside. He compares favorably to former Athletic Gio Gonzalez.

 

*Editor’s note: The Oakland A’s would also trade Yonder Alonso to the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, receiving minor league prospect Boog Powell.

Johnnie Teng

Johnnie Teng

From the Bay Area, Johnnie started sportswriting on his own blog at Baseball MTJAG before writing for TRS. He has a strong passion for the sport and aspires to grow and develop as a writer or work in baseball operations someday. Follow him on Twitter @hard90hustle
Johnnie Teng

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