For the second year in a row, the A’s selected a high school hitter with their first pick in the amateur draft. Last year it was shortstop Addison Russell, and this year it was center fielder Billy McKinney.
McKinney just completed his senior year of high school in Plano, Texas, where he claims to have been something of a secret A’s fan while living in the Lone Star state. But he admits he doesn’t have any favorite A’s players and hasn’t seen Moneyball, though he’s certain he’ll be taking care of that in the next few days.
He said he was “astonished” when got a call from A’s general manager Billy Beane informing him that the A’s were going to make him their first pick and that he was surprised he was able to get some words out when Beane told him it was him on the phone.
McKinney claims that his greatest strength is his work ethic, which A’s scouting director Eric Kubota noted as well. Kubota also seconded other evaluators’ estimates of McKinney by praising his ability with the bat, saying that he was “one of the best high school hitters in the draft.” McKinney’s other tools appear to be somewhat average, though he makes up for it with his work ethic and instincts.
McKinney says he’s modeled his swing after fellow lefty-swinger Josh Hamilton, while Kubota compared him to former A’s outfielder Mark Kotsay. He has average power and a good eye, which is evidenced by the fact that, in his senior year, he drew 36 walks against just 6 strikeouts.
The A’s second overall pick was left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton out of the University of Oklahoma. Kubota says he throws “anywhere from 88-94 mph” with a good fastball, breaking ball and changeup and has “lots of upside.” His 22 walks against 76 strikeouts seem to indicate that he also possesses pretty good control.
With their third and final pick on Day #1 of the draft, the A’s took shortstop/third baseman Chad Pinder from Virginia Tech. Kubota said the team was “pleasantly surprised” that Pinder was still available at that point in the draft and were glad to get him. He also added that he thinks he has a chance to stick at shortstop as his career progresses.
Just like last year, the A’s don’t expect to have any trouble signing any of their top three picks this year. And Kubota said that he expected that the college guys – Overton and Pinder – would be likely to start the season at Vermont later this month.
The draft resumes on Friday, with rounds 3 through 10, so stay tuned for more updates to follow. But in the meantime, here’s the basic lowdown on the A’s first three picks of the 2013 amateur draft…
* * * * *
#1 (24th Overall)
Plano West High School / Plano, Texas
Age: 18 / 6’1” / 195 lbs.
Bats: Left / Throws: Left
2013 High School Stats: .372 BA / .585 OBP / .663 SLG / 9 2B / 2 3B / 4 HR / 17 RBI / 36 BB / 6 K
* * * * *
#2 (63rd Overall)
University of Oklahoma / Norman, Oklahoma
Age: 21 / 6’2” / 172 lbs.
Throws: Left / Bats: Left
2013 College Stats:
86 2/3 IP / 84 H / 28 ER / 22 BB / 76 K / 2.91 ERA
* * * * *
#3 (71st Overall)
Virginia Tech / Blacksburg, Virginia
Age: 21 / 6’2” / 192 lbs.
Bats: Right / Throws: Right
2013 College Stats: .321 BA / .404 OBP / .483 SLG / 13 2B / 1 3B / 8 HR / 50 RBI / 21 BB/38K
* * * * *