Several A's prospects aim to shine this spring

Manaea, Barreto and Olson among top candidates

Several A's prospects aim to shine this spring

OAKLAND -- The A's have an exciting crop of young talent readying to participate in big league camp. This group, which includes many first-time invitees, will offer a glimpse of the future, representing pieces that are likely to form Oakland's roster for years to come.

Here is a peek at several prospects as Spring Training nears:

Newcomers | Comeback candidates

LHP Sean Manaea: The A's top pitching prospect will be on display in green and gold for the first time since his arrival from Kansas City in the Ben Zobrist deal last summer. The 24-year-old quickly impressed, churning out six wins in seven starts and a 1.90 ERA for Double-A Midland. The hard-throwing lefty also struck out 51 in 43 innings over that span. Manaea, 24, is slated to begin the season in Triple-A, though a dominant spring could potentially force the A's to put him on the Opening Day roster. Either way, there's a good chance he joins Oakland's rotation sometime this season.

SS Franklin Barreto: Considered the main prize of the Josh Donaldson haul, Barreto offers perhaps the most intrigue out of the non-roster invitee class. He won't turn 20 until the end of the month, but Barreto already profiles as an advanced hitter with above-average power for his position. He compiled 13 home runs in 90 games for Class A Advanced Stockton last year, batting .302 overall with a .833 OPS. Though Barreto has impressed at shortstop, there's thought he could potentially move to second down the road. He also clocked time in center field during his winter ball stint in Venezuela this offseason.

Top Prospects: Barreto, OAK

2B Joey Wendle: The A's are set at second base with everyday man Jed Lowrie and utility infielder Eric Sogard, but Wendle is next in line on the depth chart, and he figures to get plenty of playing time in his second big league camp. Acquired last winter from Cleveland for Brandon Moss, Wendle made a great first impression last spring and followed that with a memorable year in Triple-A Nashville, hitting .289 with a Pacific Coast League-leading 167 hits, including 42 doubles. His defense, meanwhile, is still considered a work in progress, but it's worth noting that Wendle will have infield coach Ron Washington by his side all spring to accelerate his improvement with the glove.

1B/OF Matt Olson: Olson is considered close to big league-ready, making this an important spring for him. It will be his second big league camp, having drawn excellent reviews from Oakland's staff the first go-around. Olson hit .249 with 17 homers and 75 RBIs in 133 games for Midland last year while maintaining his adept ability to consistently reach base. He finished the 2015 campaign with a .388 on-base clip and 105 walks in 585 plate appearances, bringing his career on-base average to .372. It's his power, though, that will land him in the Majors. The A's No. 2 prospect will continue seeing time at first base, but he was also used in the corner outfield spots last year, and it's expected the club will further groom him in both areas.

Top Prospects: Olson, OAK

3B Matt Chapman: The A's No. 5 prospect is considered among the best defensive players in the club's system. Chapman's arm strength, in particular, is superb. He played in only 80 games last season for Class A Advanced Stockton because of injuries, but managed to hit 23 homers in that span. Maintaining that power while cutting down on strikeouts -- he had 79 in 304 at-bats last year -- will help Chapman not only get to the big leagues, but also stick there as a third baseman.

SS Chad Pinder: Pinder turned heads last year with a fantastic showing at Midland, hitting .317 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs to earn Texas League Player of the Year honors. Now the 23-year-old will have the opportunity to continue that success in his first big league camp, sharing space at shortstop not only with A's starter Marcus Semien, but also fellow top prospects Barreto and Richie Martin. Pinder, the A's No. 7 prospect, played second base when former A's prospects Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson were in the system, but he'll have every opportunity to stick at shortstop and will start the year at Nashville.

Other prospects to watch: SS Richie Martin, 3B Renato Nunez, LHP Dillon Overton

Jane Lee is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.