My biggest gripe with a look back at last year’s A’s rankings is that there were some quality big-league contributors that I left off the list. That’s not to say that player like Tommy Milone, Josh Donaldson or Ryan Cook would have been high on the list, but they could have been more seriously considered for the back of the list.
Ranking Michael Choice ahead of Sonny Gray was not necessarily popular at this time last year but I stood firm in belief of the ranking. Heading into last year, I had just as many scouts – both amateur and professional – that believed Gray was a reliever long term, as opposed to those that thought he was a starter. Gray is a very nice prospect and I like him a lot, so I’m not trying to beat on him, but the hype surrounding him entering last year was a little out of hand given his skill set.
Jarrod Parker was a bit of a lost prospect entering the 2012 season and he was overlooked in many respects. I had some strong reports on his progress as he came back from Tommy John surgery and his pre-injury reports were excellent. The combination of those two factors kept him high in my rankings, a result I am quite pleased with.
I struggled with how to handle a player like Chris Carter and ultimately pushed him toward the back of the Top Ten. Given his volatility and the flaws in his game, that is a ranking that I am comfortable with to this day. I think he can slug in the big leagues, but not at such a level that I am going to regret ranking him so low.
Players like Colin Cowgill and Stephen Parker could have been changed out for the likes of Josh Donaldson and Ryan Cook but that would have been trading two players with modest ceilings for two other players with modest ceilings. It’s hard to get too concerned with that type of “mistake.”
At this time last year, the A’s system represented a bit of a gap in my knowledge base. I didn’t have nearly as many sources associated with the A’s system as I would like and I didn’t have the ability to see much of their system personally. The first part of that has changed this year and I believe I am better suited to present a sound opinion on the prospects in the organization this time around. I hope the product reflects that when released.