The Oakland A’s made their first trade in what appears to be a busy market
out of season week, sending the All-Star pitcher Chris Bassit at the New York Mets. In exchange, they have two prospects, which means we have two new players to meet!
Joining the Farming System A’s are JT Ginn and Adam Oller. Both are right-handed pitchers, and both are quality additions, but the similarities end there. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
The first is Ginn, the clear headliner of the deal for Oakland. He’s ranked No. 4 in the Mets system by MLB Pipeline and No. 6 by Baseball America, proving he’s now the A’s top pitching prospect. He was a 2020 2nd-round draft pick. , and he showed well on his professional debut last summer, keeping the ball in the park and limiting the steps.
- Ginn, 2021 A-: 2.56 ERA, 38⅔ ip, 35 Ks, 10 BB, 3 HR, 3.78 FIP
- Ginn, 2021 A+: 3.38 ERA, 53⅓ ip, 46 Ks, 12 BB, 0 HR, 3.90 FIP
He turns 23 in May, so he fits the bill of a young prospect who can hopefully become a star with long-term team control. On the other hand, he had Tommy John surgery in 2020, so he already has an injury history, but he looked strong when he returned to action last year.
As for his scouting report, the short version is an arsenal featuring three plus pitches – a fastball, a slider, and a mid-’90s change. Pipeline offers those details on the 6’2″ pitcher, including including scores on the 20 to 80 scale:
Scouting Notes: fastball 60 | Cursor 60 | Changeup 55 | Control 50 | Overall 50
Ginn shows three promising pitches while on the mound. The fastball sits between 91 and 95 mph and comes with a fair amount of sink and life, which ups the rating slightly. He can also hit up to 97 with the offering when backing up. The mid-80s slider is attracting promising reviews for its ability to move in two planes and is a weapon in its own right. Change was growing and showing promising signs with its own sink. Ginn still exhibits some violence in her delivery, but has improved a lot in that department since her high school days. His control wasn’t an issue before surgery after walking just 5.7% of the batters he faced at Mississippi State.
The results were as good as one could have hoped for Ginn when she returned. He was hitting 95 mph on the radar gun again and still throwing plenty of strikes on two level A balls. He appears to be back on the track that made him such a big name in the 2020 draft in the first place.
Baseball America notes that he “works fast, throws hits and keeps the ball on the ground,” with the second-best grounder rate among the minors last year. They praise the “more runny and boring action” of his fastball, which seemed to regain speed after surgery; the “heavy vertical movement” of his cursor and his ability to command it for a strike or chase; and its developing change, which “gets swings and misfires” when activated. They also mention his good athleticism and his ability to “work inside against hitters on both sides of the plate from his extreme first base setup.” Their takeaways:
The future: Ginn’s average speed has increased in his final starts of 2021 as he walks away from surgery. Armed with three pitches and more control, he projects himself as a No. 3 or 4 starter, and one who could be ready for MLB in late 2022 or early 2023.
Organizationally, Baseball America cited Ginn as having the best slider and control in the Mets farm system. Here’s a video of the slider winning a swing-and-miss:
And the fastball, with notes on his metrics:
Some JT Ginn turbo lead dirt for your timeline.
Terrain averaged 23 inches of drop and 15 inches of arm-side travel in Low-A. Sits 91-93 with around 2100 rpm (lower is better on a lead).
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) July 24, 2021
As for the athleticism, here he shows mobility off the mound to make excellent defensive play. Athlete!
If you were hoping to get a meaningful prospect for Bassitt, then here it is. Ginn has yet to make a national top 100 list, but it’s easy to see a path to that in the near future. He was a 1st round pick in high school but didn’t sign, then a 2nd round pick in college despite his injury, and he’s put surgery behind him for now with a healthy and promising pro debut. Better yet, if all goes well, he might not even take this long to reach Oakland.
Where Ginn is a traditional prospect with a high pedigree, Oller is more of a sleeper coming off of a bumper year. He was picked in the 20th round by the Pirates in 2016 and languished for a few years as a swingman in the lower minors until his release. The Giants tried him out as a Low-A starter in 2019, but it didn’t go much better, and last winter he was selected by the Mets in the minor league phase of the rule draft. 5. Not the main stage of MLB, but the indefinable part of the minor league.
Then he found his groove in the New York system last summer. He came into Double-A with increased speed and performed well as a starter, then moved to Triple-A and continued to be successful there. At the end of the year, he earned Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors from the Mets, as well as a spot on their 40-player roster, just a year after being available on the scrap heap. .
- Oller, AA 2021: 4.03 ERA, 76 ip, 95 Ks, 29 BB, 8 HR, 3.61 FIP
- Oller, AAA 2021: 2.45 ERA, 44 ip, 43 Ks, 18 BB, 1 HR, 3.34 FIP
He turned 27 in the offseason, he hasn’t made it to the majors yet, and he only made it to the top minors a year ago. But he’s been heading in the right direction lately and he’s firmly established himself on the prospect’s radar, placing No. 19 in the Mets system by Pipeline and No. 20 by Baseball America.
His scouting report features the same three pitches as Ginn, with a fastball, slider, and change, but none are as highly rated as Ginn’s versions. Pipeline has this to say about the 6’4″ Oller:
Scouting Notes: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Change: 50 | Control: 50 | Total: 40
The 6-foot-4 right-hander goes right after hitters with a 92-94 mph (hit 96) fastball that he can spot well in the zone. It’s a slight increase from previous years and part of the reason his numbers took off last season. A mid-80s slider gets away from chasing right-handed hitters and sometimes fools left-handers as well due to his out-of-hand speed. The Mets came away perhaps most impressed with the development of his mid-’80s switch, which is now a solid third.
While Oller doesn’t boast more, he was at his best down the stretch in 2021 when he was mixing up his three pitches and guessing the batters. He starts his 27-year-old season in 2022, so this may be him at his peak. That said, he’s ready to provide the A’s with starting depth with the potential to play a secondary rotational role.
Baseball America notes his “bulldog behavior,” a favorite phrase here at Athletics Nation. His fastball can “compete in the zone and set up his quality secondaries,” which include a “swing-and-miss slider…with low spin but exceptional speed,” and his “firm but effective change” with drop and arm-side run that he is able to place in the zone. Their takeaways:
The future: Oller has a role on a big league pitching team, potentially at the back of a rotation or in a loose or middle relief role. He’s 27 and will likely make his MLB debut in 2022.
Here’s a video of his full arsenal at work:
#put RHP Adam Oller continued his stellar run with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings for Triple-A Syracuse today.
On his last 7 starts: 41 IP, 2 ER, 11 BB, 57 K, 0.44 ERA pic.twitter.com/7NZRjyXbrm
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) September 4, 2021
The fastball challenges and goes past a bat:
Breaking out of gear for a strikeout on his incredible Triple-A debut:
However, the road has not been easy for Oller, as he explains below.
If you were hoping to cheer on another bulldog with a classic resilience story, then here it is. Oller doesn’t bring a high ceiling, but it’s easy to see him contributing to the majors right away this year, especially since Oakland’s rotation gives plenty of room for opportunity. He goes straight into the 40-man roster, with the goal of making his MLB debut as soon as possible.
In a perfect world, the A’s wouldn’t need to trade Bassitt at all. Maybe they would have the money to keep the talent, or maybe the stars could have lined up for another winning season now with the old crew. Maybe we could even come up with a compelling argument as to why they should have done it in 2022 as it is, actual salary constraints be damned. It would have been much cooler to keep The Hound in Oakland.
But in the event that it had to be processed, this is the kind of package I wanted. It’s a complete rebuild trade, not a half-measure refit, and it features an appealing mix of serious high-end and high-floor without having to wait five years for some at-risk teenager expands. This is exactly the kind of swap that often pays big and quick dividends for A’s.
It remains to be seen if these particular prospects in this particular trade materialize, but the idea is good and the names are acceptable. A good result would involve Oller jumping into the rotation in 2022 and providing usable innings or better hopefully for years to come, with Ginn following by 2023 and becoming a star. A decent version would be one of those things happening, or maybe one of them moving to the bullpen.
For now, the A’s have two new lotto tickets, and they both look pretty good in their own way. Let the rebuilding begin.
I love Chris Bassit. His leadership, his competitive nature, the man who stopped losing streaks and the day after roots for his teammate. This man never makes excuses. He’s a media delight, he never dodges the tough question, but you better be ready for his answer. Good luck in the
— Dave “Smoke” Stewart (@Dsmoke34) March 13, 2022