Baseball America ranks Stephen Strasburg as the best draft prospect since 1989

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Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis has an interesting article today ranking the 20 best draft prospects since he joined the magazine in 1989.
He has Stephen Strasburg as the best at-the-time-of-the-draft prospect during that span, with previous “best college pitcher of all time” Mark Prior at No. 2 and “the Strasburg of the pre-internet era” Ben McDonald at No. 3. That those two guys combined for just 120 career wins says a lot about the nature of pitching prospects and why Strasburg should probably wait a bit before writing his Hall of Fame speech.
According to Callis, the top position players since 1989 are Justin Upton, who was the No. 1 pick in 2005, and Alex Rodriguez, who was the No. 1 pick in 1993. In looking over Callis’ entire top 20, what’s most striking is that there are no fewer than a half-dozen pitchers who can be classified as busts, yet not a single position players really fits that description. Or at least not yet.
Callis ranks this year’s presumed top pick, Bryce Harper, as the 15th-best draft prospect since 1989. For all the questions surrounding Harper’s makeup, he’s a decent bet to have at least a solid career simply by virtue of not being a pitcher. If you’re into prospects and looking forward to next month’s draft, Callis’ whole list and his comments are definitely worth checking out.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.