So far in 2020, the top prospects in baseball haven't received the development time they expected.
That might change when the MLB season finally starts in late July, because all 30 teams will have a 60-player pool to use. With the minor league season in doubt, most teams are adding their top prospects to that list, even if they have no chance of playing in the big leagues this year. That development time is important.
For the A's, their top three prospects -- Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy -- are expected to be on the big league roster when the season starts.
Arguable the next best prospect on the A's rankings is Dominican shortstop Robert Puason, who was signed last July and doesn't turn 18 until Sept. 11.
MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Saturday, citing sources, that the A's plan to have Puason as part of their 60-man roster.
Source: A’s prospect Robert Puason (#4) is expected to named the club’s list of pool players when rosters are announced. pic.twitter.com/qKIQnGyNzu— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) June 28, 2020
MLB Pipeline has Puason ranked as the A's No. 4 prospect, so when Luzardo, Puk and Murphy graduate to the majors full time, the 17-year-old should move up to the top spot. Baseball America has Puason behind pitcher Daulton Jefferies and outfielder Austin Beck, but Puason has more upside than both of them.
"Puason is lean and wiry, with a frame that should add strength, and a body type that reminds some of former All-Star shortstop Tony Fernandez," MLB Pipeline wrote. "He has a smooth stroke from both sides of the plate with the ability to barrel up the baseball consistently and spray line drives to all fields. As he matures and grows into his 6-foot-3 frame, there’s sure to be power to come. How much remains to be seen, but a floor of 15 homers annually seems more than reasonable given his long levers and some leverage to his swing."
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The A's signed Puason last July 2 and gave him a $5.1 million signing bonus. It's highly unlikely Puason will play in the big leagues this year, but it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against older competition while training with the A's taxi squad.