Athletics

A's top prospect ranking: Why Jorge Mateo comes in at No. 5 overall

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AP

A's top prospect ranking: Why Jorge Mateo comes in at No. 5 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 5 - Jorge Mateo, SS/2B

Mateo had a breakout season at Triple-A Las Vegas, slashing .289/.330/.504 with 19 home runs, 29 doubles, and 78 RBI in 119 games. The 24-year-old also showcased his elite speed with 14 triples and 24 stolen bases.

Mateo originally signed with the Yankees in 2012 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He came to the A's in 2017, along with Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian, in exchange for Sonny Gray.

Now back to that elite speed -- MLB Pipeline gives Mateo a perfect 80 grade for his running ability. Mateo also boasts a plus arm and fielding ability at shortstop, though he has experience playing second base and even center field as well. That could allow him to become a valuable utility player if a starting middle infield job doesn't work out.

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With the A's uncertain situation at second base, Mateo should have an opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2020. This year's starter Jurickson Profar struggled for most of the season and is a realistic non-tender option.

That would leave Mateo, Franklin Barreto, and Sheldon Neuse battling for playing time next season. Of course, the shortstop position could also open up in the future if the A's don't sign Marcus Semien to an extension -- the 29-year-old is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

[RELATED: A's No. 6 prospect -- Robert Puason]

Mateo must continue to improve his approach at the plate, ideally becoming a more patient hitter. He struck out 145 times this season, compared to just 29 walks. Those numbers won't allow him to fully utilize his blinding speed, which along with his defense should be his ticket to the big leagues.

At the very least, Mateo's running ability and defensive versatility will allow him to contribute to the A's in some role next year. Whether he can earn consistent playing time remains to be seen.

A's top pick Logan Davidson among spring training non-roster invitees

A's top pick Logan Davidson among spring training non-roster invitees

The A's aren't playing it safe with 2019 first-round draft pick Logan Davidson.

The No. 29 overall pick is among 10 non-roster players the A's invited to spring training Friday.

Davidson, a shortstop, isn't on the A's 40-man roster, but the invite will give him a chance to compete in big league camp. Barring an incredible showing in the Cactus League, the A's No. 7 prospect won't break camp with the A's. But this opportunity allows him to try to impress A's coaches.

In 54 games with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters, Davidson slashed .239/.345/.332 with seven doubles, four homers and 12 RBI.

[RELATED: A's compare Davidson to Corey Seager]

The other invitee to keep an eye on in camp is A's No. 6 prospect Nick Allen. While small in stature, the middle infielder is an incredible defensive player and could find himself playing for the A's at some point in 2020. While Marcus Semien is blocking Allen's path at shortstop, the 21-year-old could get a look at second base if none of the other in-house options pan out for Oakland.

Three other top-30 prospects were invited to spring training: Outfielder Greg Deichmann (No. 17), right-handed pitcher Brian Howard (No. 22) and right-handed pitcher Parker Dunshee (No. 24).

MLB rumors: A's 'showing interest' in free-agent reliever Sergio Romo

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AP

MLB rumors: A's 'showing interest' in free-agent reliever Sergio Romo

Sergio Romo might be headed back to the Bay Area -- just to the opposite side.

The former Giants relief pitcher is a free agent, and according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the A's reportedly are interested in acquiring his services.

Romo, 36, is a 12-year veteran who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Giants, playing a major role in helping San Francisco win three World Series titles in a span of five years. Over 60 1/3 combined innings with the Marlins and Twins last season, he posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 60 strikeouts and 20 saves.

[RELATED: How Forst thinks state of free-agent market will impact A's]

Liam Hendricks has Oakland's closer spot locked down, but with Blake Treinen being non-tendered, there could be one or more openings in the A's bullpen. Given that Romo has filled just about every possible role within a major league bullpen over the course of his career, he could be an ideal fit if the price is right.