The Top 30 Prospects Explained

ATF's number 2 prospect Marco Luciano chasing down Athletics' consensus number 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom
ATF's number 2 prospect Marco Luciano chasing down Athletics' consensus number 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom / Clifford Oto/The Stockton Record via
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Heliot Ramos
ATF's number five prospect entering the 2022 season Heliot Ramos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Rest of the 55 FV and the 50 FVs

When I said that I currently only see Harrison as the only contender against Luciano at this point, I did not mean it to disrespect Luis Matos and Joey Bart, fellow 55 FV prospects. I just feel like I have known the other two prospects enough after a full season that I pretty much expect what their likely outcome is which is both disappointing and stupid at the same time.

I feel like Luis Matos is going to be the Bryan Reynolds of 2022. The guy just flat-out hits but his other tools are more above-average than plus or even elite except his speed. I get the sense that there is not much that Matos could do other than just keep performing against higher levels of competition which is something that I expect from him. There is plenty of talk about Matos having plus raw power but after reading reports that his maximum exit velocity last season was 111 MPH, it's still more towards above-average than plus at the very best. And looking at Matos' offseason progress in social media, it did not look like he added bulk to even think of him sniffing the maximum exit velocities and average exit velocities that the likes of Jairo Pomares and Luciano can achieve daily. That is just why I can't put him in the likes of Harrison and Luciano. Yes, he can be an All-Star like Reynolds if he does not change his approach because we have seen Reynolds not change his approach and still be an All-Star. However, can Matos reach the ceilings of both Luciano and Harrison? I am currently leaning towards no. Nonetheless, let's hope that Zaidi and company will not trade him and make them regret their decision.

With the case of Bart, it's just a classic case of prospect fatigue. Big Bart made his big-league debut in 2020 but is still prospect-eligible heading towards the 2022 season which ultimately has him make fans continue to remember his initial big-league stint even though he's improved on both offense and defense last season in Sacramento. There is not much explanation needed here as he will be the favorite to start at catcher for the big-league club in 2022 although I expect that the coaches will make the right decision and gradually increase his workload slowly. I expect them to bring along a veteran free-agent catcher although the front office's choices are pretty narrow so it's more likely that they will bring in via a trade for a PTBNL. The bar for catchers is so low that if Bart trots out a .240 batting average and 15 home runs, I consider that as a successful season for him.

Now that the 55 FV prospects are out of the way, it's time to discuss the two 50 FV prospects, and both are outfielders. Heliot Ramos and Jairo Pomares have completely different yet similar playstyles that are both alluring and concerning at the same time.

Some are ready to put Pomares ahead of Ramos at this stage and that is because when you really look at it, Ramos struggled to put exceptional numbers (or a wRC+ above 125 and an OPS below .800) since he was in San Jose in 2019. Even during that time, there are already concerns about his strikeout rate. I mean for a well-regarded guy, he has yet to put it all together with the bat for the past two years now. However, he's held his own against prospects who are at least three years old than him and it's better to peak in the big leagues than in the Minors.

Pomares is similar to Ramos with their strikeout rate. Both are aggressive in two-strike counts and pitchers took advantage of that aggression. However, Pomares has a better feel for the barrel, a more rhythmic swing that maximizes his innate feel that reminds me of Pablo Sandoval. The thing that separates Ramos and Pomares is their defense. Ramos has shown last season that he can handle center field pretty well especially for a guy his size. Pomares is only okay in the corner outfield where he is not a liability is just not going to cut it for me because if ever his bad habits at the batter's box do not get corrected, he has little value because of his subpar defense.

It's a volatile but explosive offensive profile nestled in a fringy corner outfield defensive profile versus a pretty vanilla but safe and decently explosive offensive profile nestled in a non-zero chance of sticking in center field profile. I would choose the player who can stick up the middle and that's Ramos because even if he won't reach his offensive peak, he can still provide value with his defense. Those little things are deal-breakers when comparing players playing in similar positions.