Taking a Look at A’s Recent Drafts

Addison Russell

Addison Russell

With the major league amateur draft set to take place today, it’s a good time to take a look back at some of the A’s recent drafts.

We’ll focus on the top five picks from the team’s last three drafts and examine how those players are currently performing and how they’re shaping up as major league prospects.

So take a look and see how you think the A’s have done in recent drafts – and let’s see how they do later today! This article was also posted on Athletics Nation earlier today…

 

–2014 DRAFT–

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

#1 – 3B Matt Chapman

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

8 HR / 13 BB / 33 K / .236 AVG / .325 OBP / .538 SLG / .863 OPS

#2 – RHP Daniel Gossett

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

54 1/3 IP / 62 H / 34 ER / 30 BB / 47 K / 5.63 ERA / 1.69 WHIP

#3 – RHP Brett Graves

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

63 IP / 65 H / 29 ER / 25 BB / 38 K / 4.14 ERA / 1.43 WHIP

#4 – RHP Jordan Schwartz

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

36 2/3 IP / 56 H / 37 ER / 27 BB / 35 K / 9.08 ERA / 2.26 WHIP

#5 – RHP Heath Fillmyer

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

30 IP / 41 H / 24 ER / 15 BB / 25 K / 7.20 ERA / 1.87 WHIP

Despite all the A’s deal-making in the offseason, all the A’s top picks from last year’s draft are still in the system. Top pick Matt Chapman, who was touted as a defensively-gifted third baseman with raw power potential, got a late start to the season after injuring his knee right before the start of spring training. The 22-year-old finally got started at Stockton about a week into May and he’s really been heating up of late with 5 home runs over his last 7 games, and he now has 8 homers in just 106 at-bats so far this season. And if he can keep up that pace, Chapman’s prospects could be looking good. The A’s decided to insert their top four pitching picks from last year’s draft directly into the Class-A Beloit Snappers’ starting rotation this season, with mixed results. 3rd-rounder Brett Graves so far has emerged as the pick of the litter. His fastball gets up to 95 mph and he induces a lot of ground balls while showing good control but his off-speed pitches could still use some work. 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett has a solid fastball and breaking ball and generates lots of swings-and-misses but his changeup is still a work in progress and he’s shown a tendency to surrender the long ball. But both Graves and Gossett have shown the potential to improve as the season goes on. On the other side of the coin though, 4th-rounder Jordan Schwartz struggled mightily at Beloit and was recently removed from the Snappers roster and is expected to start pitching for short-season Vermont as soon as its season begins in a couple of weeks. 5th-rounder Heath Fillmyer, who spent most of last month on the disabled list, has also struggled but still remains with the Snappers for the time being despite taking the loss in all 6 of his starts this season. Overall, Chapman has shown the potential to develop into a solid power-hitting corner infielder, while Gossett and Graves could develop into rotation candidates one day, but they’ve still got a ways to go. And as far as Schwartz and Fillmyer go, it remains to be seen.

 

–2013 DRAFT–

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

#1 – OF Billy McKinney

Tennessee/Myrtle Beach – AA/A+ (Cubs Organization)

4 HR / 23 BB / 26 K / .324 AVG / .399 OBP / .497 SLG / .896 OPS

#2 – LHP Dillon Overton

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

46 1/3 IP / 45 H / 19 ER / 11 BB / 44 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.21 WHIP

#3 – SS Chad Pinder

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 18 BB / 47 K / .294 AVG / .364 OBP / .457 SLG / .820 OPS

#4 – 1B-3B Ryon Healy

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

4 HR / 17 BB / 35 K / .273 AVG / .325 OBP / .380 SLG / .704 OPS

#5 – LHP Chris Kohler

Extended Spring Training (A’s organization)

The A’s started off the 2013 draft somewhat surprisingly, by picking a high school outfielder with a sweet swing – Billy McKinney. I’ve heard that A’s GM Billy Beane had to be sold on the pick by the scouting department, which might help explain the quickness with which McKinney ended up being dealt. But since going to the Cubs in the deal for hurlers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last summer, the 20-year-old outfielder has shown that he can indeed hit, consistently batting over.300 with a solid number of extra-base hits, particularly doubles. He started the season at High-A but is currently one of the youngest players in the Double-A Southern League, and he hasn’t missed a beat at that level. The Cubs clearly don’t see McKinney’s future in center field though. Ever since he joined the Cubs organization last summer, he hasn’t started a single game in center, instead spending most of his time in right. 2nd-rounder Dillon Overton got off to an inauspicious start by undergoing Tommy John surgery before ever throwing a pitch in the A’s organization. But Overton’s been solid so far this season for Stockton. His command has been excellent and, despite the fact that he’s still recovering his velocity, he’s been posting solid strikeout numbers. And the 23-year-old could still shape up as an effective major league hurler somewhere down the line. 3rd-rounder Chad Pinder has been one of the fastest movers of the A’s 2013 draft class. After playing second base at Stockton last year, the 23-year-old’s been playing a solid shortstop for Midland this season while showing some pop with 7 home runs so far in a low-offense league, and Pinder could prove to be a middle infield option at some point in the future. 4th-rounder Ryon Healy has been on the same fast track as Pinder while spending time at both first and third base. He’s shown some pop at times as well, but his plate discipline could still stand some improvement. Meanwhile, 5th-rounder Chris Kohler has shown potential but has been slowed by injuries and has spent this season at extended spring training in Arizona with the expectation that he should be getting into action sometime after the draft. He missed all of last season. But in his only competitive play in the Arizona League in 2013, Kohler showed some real promise by striking out 32 batters in just 22 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old. Now 20, he’s still got some time to show what he can do.

 

–2012 DRAFT–

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

#1 – SS-2B Addison Russell

Cubs – MLB

4 HR / 10 BB / 53 K / .241 AVG / .295 OBP / .407 SLG / .702 OPS

Iowa – AAA (Cubs organization)

1 HR / 1 BB / 7 K / .318 AVG / .326 OBP / .477 SLG / .803 OPS

#2 – SS Daniel Robertson

Montgomery – AA (Rays organization)

3 HR / 17 BB / 41 K / .272 AVG / .347 OBP / .436 SLG / .783 OPS

#3 – 1B Matt Olson

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 50 BB / 56 K / .222 AVG / .378 OBP / .407 SLG / .785 OPS

#4 – C Bruce Maxwell

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

1 HR / 19 BB / 22 K / .233 AVG / .319 OBP / .288 SLG / .607 OPS

#5 – RHP Nolan Sanburn

Birmingham – AA (White Sox organization)

22 IP / 20 H / 12 ER / 14 BB / 22 K / 4.91 ERA / 1.55 WHIP

Well, we all know about the A’s top pick in the 2012 draft – the golden child, Addison Russell. While most people didn’t know much about the young Floridian before the draft, it didn’t take long for A’s fans to fall in love with the humble but hot-hitting infielder. Russell shot through the A’s system before being dealt to the Cubs, along with Billy McKinney, in last summer’s deal for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. And Russell’s rise only hastened with his arrival in the Cubs camp. Russell became the first member of the A’s 2012 draft class to make his debut in the major leagues when he broke in with the Cubs in April at the age of 21 (though Max Muncy made his major league debut with the A’s just four days later). Russell has been the Cubs’ everyday second baseman since then, despite appearing in just 5 games at second base in his minor league career. Russell has had his ups and downs so far in the majors, as anyone that young will, but he’s already shown some pop by accumulating 12 doubles in his first 40 games and will undoubtedly settle in and likely become a fixture in the Cubs infield for many years to come. One of Russell’s best friends and former roommates, 2nd-rounder Daniel Robertson, went to the Rays in the Ben Zobrist deal. Also a shortstop, Robertson has shown some solid doubles power while playing at Double-A this year. He left last Tuesday’s game with an apparent wrist injury but is currently considered one of Tampa Bay’s top prospects and the team’s shortstop of the future. 3rd-rounder Matt Olson is the top pick from the A’s 2012 draft class still left in the system. Olson has always been known for his power and patience, leading the A’s system last year in home runs with 37 and in walks with 117. This season at Midland, which is a notorious death trap for power hitters, the 21-year-old so far has put up 7 home runs while walking an incredible 50 times in his first 55 games. Olson’s also been making a number of starts in right field to increase his versatility and perhaps help him find an opening in the majors a little faster. 4th-rounder Bruce Maxwell has struggled a bit at the Double-A level so far this season, and the backstop will have to show greater production at the plate if he hopes to move up the ladder in the near future. 5th-rounder Nolan Sanburn was dealt to the White Sox in the Adam Dunn deal last season. The 23-year-old has shown some promise by striking out a batter per inning throughout his minor league career, but he’s also been slowed by injuries and is currently on the disabled list at Double-A Birmingham. If he can stay healthy though, Sanburn could prove to be an effective bullpen piece for the Sox somewhere down the line.

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