Coming into the 2012 season the A’s had one of the strongest farm systems in baseball. With the season more than halfway over I thought it would be the perfect chance to check in with some of the A’s top prospects, starting with Michael Choice and Sonny Gray, who are both number one draft picks for Oakland.
Outfielder Michael Choice was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2010 draft with the 10th overall pick. Entering the season John Sickels ranked him as Oakland’s number 2 overall top prospect, Kevin Goldstein ranked him as their number 1 top prospect and Baseball America ranked him as their 5th top prospect.
After fracturing his hand 2 weeks ago Michael Choice was shut down for the remainder of the season. Before his injury he played in 118 games for Double-A Midland and over 402 plate appearances he had a .287/.356/.423 slash line with a .350 wOBA and a wRC+ of 117. He also had 10 HR, 58 RBI and 5 SB.
This was his first season in Double-A and although his average and on base were close to what they were last season, his power had decreased significantly. Not only has his slugging dropped more than .100 points, his ISO dropped from .257 to .136 this season. His walk percentage had dropped down slightly from 11% to 8%, but so did his strikeout percentage going from 25% to 22%.
While Choice will be missing almost most of the entire second half of the season, I expect he will be promoted to Triple-A Sacramento at some point during the 2013 season. I don’t think there is any reason to be concerned over his dip in numbers, especially since he had .367/.420/.578 slash line over his last 23 games.
Pitcher Sonny Gray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2011 draft with the 18th overall pick. John Sickels and Kevin Goldstein both ranked him as the A’s 5th top prospect and Baseball America ranked him as their 3rd overall top prospect.
Sonny Gray has started in 21 games in Double-A Midland and has a 5-1 record with a 4.37 ERA. Over 115.1 innings he has a .310 BABIP and a 3.67 FIP. He also has a 5.77 SO/9 and 3.75 BB/9 rate with an impressive 0.31 HR/9 rate.
His numbers on the season are just okay, but since he has returned from the All-Star break his numbers have been a little bit better, allowing 17 runs over 48 innings while walking 18 and striking out 30.
When the A’s first drafted Sonny Gray many scouts thought he would be better in the bullpen rather than in a starting role, but the A’s seem set at keeping him in the starting spot for now. His biggest concern right now seems to be control, having walked 48 batters over 115 innings.