The Athletics finished last in the American League West for the second straight year in 2016, compiling a 69-93 record that was the third worst in the AL and a one-game improvement from the previous year. But the club made the most of its situation, using the non-competitive year to audition a host of rookies in the big leagues, all the while furthering the development of its top prospects.
Left-hander Sean Manaea turned in a strong rookie campaign after his debut in April, posting a 3.86 ERA with a 124-to-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career-high 144 2/3 innings. Equally impressive was third baseman Ryon Healy, who, after beginning the year in Double-A, reached the big leagues in mid-July and proceeded to hit .305/.337/.524 with 13 homers and 20 doubles in 72 games. Jharel Cotton and Joey Wendle were plenty good in their own rights and were part of large group of A's September callups that included Raul Alcantara, Renato Nunez and Matt Olson.
• Athletics' Top 30 Prospects list
||BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
||ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
||CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
||CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL
||HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
||ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
Down on the farm, MLBPipeline Top 100 prospects Franklin Barreto (No. 52 overall) -- the A's top-ranked prospect for the second straight year -- and Matt Chapman (No. 100) finished the season in Triple-A, with Chapman ranking third in the Minors with 36 home runs. Right-handers Daniel Gossett and Heath Fillmyer -- both 2014 draftees -- could soon be knocking on the door after they both made developmental strides while advancing to the upper Minors.
And while their system was already pitching-heavy, the A's added even more advanced arms in the June Draft, selecting college hurlers A.J. Puk (No. 69 overall), Daulton Jefferies and Logan Shore with their first three picks, and then acquired right-handers Cotton, Grant Holmes (No. 85) and Frankie Montas from the Dodgers at the Trade Deadline for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. They also landed one of the top international prospects in 17-year-old Lazara Armenteros, signing the tooled-up Cuban outfielder for $3 million on July 2.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.
Jump: Daniel Gossett, RHP (2016: 25 | 2017: 7)
Fall: Casey Meisner, RHP (2016: 9 | 2017: 29)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Hit: Franklin Barreto and Max Schrock (55)
Power: Matt Chapman (60)
Run: Lazaro Aremnteros (60)
Arm: Matt Chapman (75)
Defense: Matt Chapman (70)
Fastball: Frankie Montas (70)
Curveball: Grant Holmes and Paul Blackburn (60)
Slider: A.J. Puk and Frankie Montas (60)
Changeup: Jharel Cotton and Logan Shore (60)
Control: Logan Shore (55)
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Here's a look at the Athletics' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.