Grady Fuson, a special assistant within the A’s front office, was my guest on this week’s “A’s Insider Podcast,” and he dished some good feedback on a few of the team’s top prospects who participated in Major League spring camp.
That was just a portion of the interview, and if you check it out on CSNCalifornia.com, you’ll find all the ground we explored during our conversation. Fuson touches on his experience being portrayed in the movie “Moneyball,” the things he’s looking for as he scouts players who are potential trade targets for the A’s, and whether he knew right away the A’s had something special when they drafted the “Big Three” pitching trio.
But talking prospects is what Grady does best, and here’s some highlights of what he thinks of some of Oakland’s best young guys:
--On third baseman Matt Chapman, who will be with the A’s for this weekend’s Bay Bridge Series:
“(The ceiling) is big, obviously. You’re talking about a corner player, I think everybody has seen the power … Certainly an upper-level defensive player. He’s got good feet, and as good an arm as you can have in the game. And he’s just working on the hands and the technique. It’s been good to see him have the amount of quality at-bats that he’s had.”
[RELATED: Chapman heading north with A's]
--on shortstop Franklin Barreto:
“Certainly a much different player than we saw early, at this time last year. Much quicker, much more reactive, instinctual in the middle of the field than I originally thought. He’s got live hands, and he’s strong and physical. Even though he’s a little man, the ball really jumps (off his bat). I think the only thing left is just, besides learning how to really play the game, is: Is it gonna be a shortstop arm? But he’s throwing better than a year ago, doing a lot of good things. For a 20-year-old, this is a special looking kid.”
--on whether left-hander Sean Manaea, the A’s top pitching prospect, is ready for the majors:
“I think he’s pretty close. It’s all about innings. This guy really hasn’t had a ton of minor league innings. He was a little hurt with Kansas City prior to the trade. I don’t have it in front of me, but I know the guy’s never thrown 100 innings (in a season) in the minor leagues. So, as good as he’s been and as dominant as he’s been, it’s kind of hard to think about this guy going 150, 160 for you. … If he’s gonna be one of the mainstays in that rotation, you’re talking about a 200-inning guy. And you just can’t go from 75 innings one year to 200 innings the next year. That is not healthy. But he’s pitched pretty polished. He’s got some dominant stuff. He’s been great.”