Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus came out today with his list of Top 11 A's Prospects. Daric Barton (pictured above) is the A's sole 5-star prospect on the list. I'd agree with Goldstein's high rating: to me, Barton is the most impressive A's rookie hitter since Jose Canseco. Barton doesn't impress with his power, but with his mature-beyond-his-years approach at the plate. If Barton has a hole somewhere in his swing, I haven't seen it. He has an impeccable eye for the strike zone, and has shown himself capable of turning any pitch in any location into a line drive. Whatever AL pitchers threw him during his September callup: high, low, inside, outside, straight, bendy, fast, slow--Barton hit them all. I am very much looking forward to watching the A's finally having a player who makes the other team wonder, "How the heck do I get this guy out?"
Beyond Barton, the prospect pipeline is neither hopeless nor inspiring. There is one 4-star prospect, pitcher Trevor Cahill, and seven 3-star players who possess both upside and question marks. Sure, maybe all these players will turn out to be solid and/or star major leagues, but the most likely scenario is that this mediocre farm system produces mediocre major-league performances, and you end up with a team that finishes around .500 every year for the next four or five years. Meh, bleh, bleh.