The A’s added minor league third baseman Renato Nunez to their 40-man roster Thursday, shielding Nunez from being taken in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.
Nunez, 20, has developed into one of Oakland’s top prospects since being signed at age 16 out of Venezuela in 2010.
He hit .279 with 29 home runs and 96 RBI in 124 games at Single-A Stockton last year. He tied for fourth in the California League in home runs and RBI, and he ranked second in the A’s farm system in home runs, RBI and extra base hits (60), third in slugging (.517) and fourth in hits (142).
Nunez was named to the Cal League Postseason All-Star team.
Baseball America ranked him as the A’s No. 5 prospect before the 2014 season.
The Rule 5 draft – set for Dec. 11, the final day of the Winter Meetings -- allows teams to select unprotected minor leaguers from other organizations. If drafted, the player must be kept on his new team’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season or else be offered back to his former team.
The deadline is 9 p.m. Thursday to add players to 40-man rosters to protect them from the draft.
In other news, outfielder Alex Hassan was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles, just three days after the A's claimed Hassan off waivers from Boston.