Mark Payton

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

As teams headed down south to the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the two main goals for the A's appeared to be finding a left-handed bat at second base, as well as continuing conversations with relief pitchers.

While the A's didn't make any huge acquisitions during the meetings, the 2019 Rule 5 Draft came and went as it does every year. With that, Oakland selected three players in the minor-league phase of the draft and had a couple more transactions as well.

Second baseman Vimael Machin was acquired from the Phillies for cash considerations. He will be competing for a roster spot.

The 26-year-old slashed .295/.390/.412 with seven home runs and 65 RBI across the Double and Triple-A teams in the Chicago Cubs organization last season. 

Jason Krizan was selected from the Mets during the Triple-A phase. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .275 across two teams last season. 

The Athletic's prospect writer Emily Waldon says he's going to be a solid addition to the A's organization.

"His walk rate has always been impressive," Waldon told NBC Sports California. "He doesn't have a ton of swing and misses, with some raw power, with eight to ten home run seasons. He's also a dependable defender with a good veteran presence." Waldon also joked Krizan has "80-grade sarcasm."

The A's also selected catcher Jose Colina, who put up some massive numbers with the Arizona League Indians Blue after signing with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent in June. The 21-year-old slashed .372/.443/.744 with eight homers and 20 RBI.

Right-handed pitcher Deivy Mendez rounds the group out. In 25 appearances across Single-A and Short-A last season with the Padres organization, he went 2-1 with six saves and a 4.20 ERA, striking out 33. 

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The Cincinnati Reds selected outfielder Mark Payton, who was claimed off waivers by the A's in December of 2018. Payton was selected during the major league phase of the draft which, according to Waldon, has the A's losing some muscle at the plate.

However, scouts reportedly didn't see the 28-year-old "doing a great deal outside of filling some needs." That power is what has gotten the most talk around Payton. 

Payton took advantage of the PCL last season with Triple-A Las Vegas and slashed .334/.400/.653 with 30 home runs and 97 RBI in 118 games. 

Ranking A's top five pleasant surprises from farm system this season

Ranking A's top five pleasant surprises from farm system this season

On Monday, we attempted to re-rank the A's top five prospects following the conclusion of the 2019 minor league season.

Now we want to highlight the most pleasant surprises within Oakland's farm system. Here are the top five from this year:

1. Seth Brown

Brown is not even listed among the A's top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, but the 27-year-old has put together a magnificent season, both in Triple-A and the majors. Since joining the A's, Brown is slashing .385/.429/.564 with three doubles, two triples and nine RBI in 11 games.

He was even more productive in Triple-A, hitting .297/.352/.634 with 37 homers and 104 RBI in 112 games. A 19th-round draft pick in 2015, Brown has steadily risen through the A's minor league system, becoming one of the more unlikely contributors in Oakland this season.

2. Mark Payton

Payton put up equally terrific numbers in Triple-A this season, slashing .334/.400/.653 with 30 homers and 97 RBI in 118 games. The 27-year-old had never hit more than 10 homers in any previous season, at any level, and is also not listed among the A's top 30 prospects.

Oakland picked up Payton from the Yankees last offseason in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. It's safe to say they weren't expecting the former seventh-round draft pick to produce anywhere near the level he did.

3. Kyle Finnegan  

Finnegan was extremely effective out of the bullpen in both Double-A and Triple-A this season. The right-hander combined to go 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 42 appearances. He notched 14 saves, along with 72 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings.

Finnegan, 28, is not ranked among the A's top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, likely because of his advanced age. Oakland selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He could be a legitimate bullpen option next season.

4. Jonah Heim

Heim is the only player on this list actually ranked among the A's top 30 prospects -- MLB Pipeline lists him 21st. The 24-year-old has always been a strong defensive catcher, but this year he enjoyed a breakout offensive season in both Double-A and Triple-A.

Heim slashed .310/.385/.477 with nine home runs, 21 doubles, and 53 RBI in 85 games between Midland and Las Vegas. The former Orioles fourth-round draft pick came to the A's in 2017 from the Rays in exchange for infielder Joey Wendle.

[RELATED: Why A's should hope to face Yankees, not Astros, in playoffs]

5. Jesus Zambrano

Zambrano probably wasn't on anyone's radar coming into the season, but the right-hander was fantastic between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland. The 23-year-old went 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, with nine saves.

A native of Venezuela, Zambrano signed with the A's in 2012 at the young age of 16. Now seven years later, he enjoyed by far the best year of his professional career.