Renato Nuñez has the power to hit over 30 home runs in the majors. Those long balls won't be in an A's uniform.
While on rehab assigment in Triple-A Nashville, Nuñez was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers.
“Nuñez easily could hit 30-plus homers one day,” one American League scout said to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He might strike out 150 times doing it, and he’ll never be a good defender, but on a second-division club that can give him 500 at-bats, he will provide offense.”
The 24-year-old showed off his big-time power potential at Triple-A last season. His 32 home runs with the Nashville Sounds were second in all of Minor League Baseball. He then came up with the A's for eight games and hit one more home runs, against his new team, but only batted .200 with eight strikeouts.
After the 2015 season, where he hit .278 with 18 home runs and an .812 OPS at Double-A, Nuñez ranked as the A's No. 4 prospect by Baseball America. It was his highest prospect ranking since the A's signed him out of Venezuela for $2.2 million in 2010.
The A's moved Nuñez up to Triple-A in 2016 and it was a big disappointment. His power was still there with 23 deep flies, but he slashed a lowly .228/.278/.412. His prospect ranking fell from No. 4 to No. 18.
Before being claimed by the Rangers, Nuñez was ranked the A's No. 20 prospect by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
There simply was nowhere to get Nuñez consistent at-bats in the major leagues. The third baseman is not good defensively at the hot corner or as an experimental outfield. He was not going to take time away from Matt Chapman or Matt Olson and his defense hampered his options.
And still, it's really surprising the A's lost him for absolutely nothing. Over his minor-league career, Nuñez has hit 130 home runs. If he gets his at-bats and stays healthy, this could be a steal for the Rangers.
The move also placed Tim Lincecum on the Rangers' 60-day DL with a blister on his middle finger.