Analyzing the Oakland Athletics’ Prospect Haul from Deadline Deals

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Jacob Nottingham, Catcher/First Base, Part of Kazmir Trade

May 2, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow waves to the crowd before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Nottingham provides something that is hard to be found in catchers — raw power. Currently, there are no catchers within the top 40 players in home runs this season. The catcher with the most home runs this season is currently Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals with 15. So while the current catcher position is void of power, Nottingham may change that upon his arrival to the big leagues.

After struggling in his first two years in the minors, Nottingham has had a resurgence this season between Houston’s Low A and High A team to the tune of 14 home runs. His power stroke really seems to be coming on, and if he continues to improve he can be a force once he reaches the majors.

Not one just for power though, Nottingham also has hit for contact quite well this season as he has a .320 batting average collectively throughout his three teams. Working on his consistency will be key. If he can continue to improve on his new found power as well as continue to hit for contact he can become a very solid middle of the lineup hitter for the A’s.

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For his career, which has spanned 173 games and 723 plate appearances, Nottingham is a career .279 hitter with 20 home runs and 108 RBI’s. Those numbers are quite solid and he will look to improve on them as he rises through the ranks in the A’s system.

The knock on Nottingham is that he is more of a project than a MLB-ready player, that he needs to focus on consistency, and the ability to remain at catcher. Beane focused more on getting MLB ready prospects this offseason not only trading for Kendall Graveman but also Marcus Semien. By trading for Nottingham, Beane is willing to take on a player who will need a lot of seasoning in the minors.

But that may be a blessing in disguise as that seasoning may help his consistency. Whether it be pro ball jitters and not catching up to pitching speed Nottingham did not perform well his first two years with a combined six home runs and 48 RBI’s. Now that he seems to be accustomed to MLB minor league pitching, being able to get more and more reps at different levels will only help him.

For the catcher aspect, it isn’t a given that he even needs to remain at that position when he reaches the majors. The team’s first basemen spot will most likely be open as the team probably doesn’t view Ike Davis as the first basemen of the future. And if his power continues to grow he can take over the DH spot as Billy Butler has been a huge free agency flop.

Going into the trade, Nottingham was ranked as the Astros’ 22nd overall prospect by After the trade, he is already ranked as the A’s seventh best prospect. Being able to trade a free agent at the end of the season in Kazmir for a franchise top ten prospect is why Billy Beane is one of the best at what he does.

We may not see Nottingham for a while, but assuming he continues to develop at the same rate, he can be an offensive difference maker for the A’s.

Next: Daniel Mengden