Draft Picks

A’s Top 20 Draft Picks Mid-Season Progress Report

A's top pick A.J. Puk

A’s top draft pick A.J. Puk

It’s been about ten weeks since this year’s amateur draft and about two months since the first of the players picked by the A’s began playing with either the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s.

The A’s managed to sign all of their top 20 picks this year. The highest-drafted player Oakland’s front office wasn’t able to sign was 21-year-old right-hander Brigham Hill out of Texas A&M, whom the team took with its 21st pick in the 20th round. But the A’s were fortunate that they were able to ink all 20 of the players they picked before him and get those prospects into the system. And with about two months of play now in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.

The A’s focused on pitching with their top 20 picks this year, taking 12 pitchers in the top 20 and 7 in the top 10. The team’s top pick, LHP A.J. Puk, has been the standout among the pitching prospects so far this season. The 6-foot-7 21-year-old has looked dominant at times for Vermont, posting a 2.70 ERA while striking out 27 over 20 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.

The A’s second overall pick, RHP Daulton Jefferies, just started seeing some action in Arizona and, in 3 brief appearances, the 21-year-old has shown off his pinpoint control by allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 over 5 2/3 frames for the AZL A’s. Oakland’s third overall pick taken in the 2nd round was Puk’s teammate at Florida, RHP Logan Shore, who recently joined his friend and former college teammate at Vermont. And in his first 4 appearances, the 21-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 8 over 9 innings of work.

The team’s top high school pick was RHP Skylar Szynski, who was taken in the 4th round. Though he’s currently sporting a 8.10 ERA, the 19-year-old’s numbers aren’t really that bad, having allowed 16 hits and just 4 walks while striking out 8 in 13 1/3 innings for the AZL A’s. Three other pitchers from the top 10 rounds who are currently at Vermont have all been perfoming well. 6th-round RHP Brandon Bailey, who’s primarily been used as a starter, has posted a 3.41 ERA over 29 innings since joining the system. LHPs Will Gilbert and Dalton Sawyer have both been working out of the bullpen, where 8th-rounder Gilbert has notched 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings while 9th-rounder Sawyer has struck out 20 over 15 2/3 frames for the Lake Monsters.

Meanwhile, 10th-round pick Mitchell Jordan has been solid while serving in a starting role in Arizona, putting up a 3.24 ERA while walking just 7 and striking out 30 in 33 1/3 innings of work for the AZL A’s. The fastest riser of this year’s draft class has been the A’s 14th-round pick, RHP Nolan Blackwood out of the University of Memphis, who is the only member of this year’s crop to make it all the way up to the Beloit Snappers of the Class-A Midwest League. After looking solid in 5 relief appearances for Vermont, the 21-year-old has struggled a bit since joining Beloit’s bullpen, allowing 9 runs in his first 8 appearances for the Snappers.

When it comes to position players, the team’s three top 10 selections – 3rd-round catcher Sean Murphy, 5th-round third baseman JaVon Shelby and 7th-round outfielder Tyler Ramirez – all did a brief stint in Arizona before joining Vermont. Murphy’s power has yet to show itself as he has just 2 extra-base hits over his first 70 at-bats, while Shelby’s shown himself to be a bit of a free swinger, striking out 39 times in 144 at-bats while putting up a .188 batting average. Ramirez has fared a little better, with a .248/.348/.376 slash line over his first 39 games since joining the system.

The two standouts among the team’s position player picks have been shortstop Eli White and second baseman Nate Mondou, who’ve formed a productive double-play combo for Vermont and who were both recently named New York-Penn League All-Stars. 11th-rounder White has 10 doubles to go along with a .303/.365/.406 slash line, while 13th-rounder Mondou’s impressive .401 on-base percentage is among the five best in the league.

You’ll find the A’s top 20 picks of the 2016 draft along with their current statistics through August 19 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…

 

ap6404621st Round

A.J. Puk

Age: 21 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

20 IP / 13 H / 6 ER / 6 BB / 27 K / 2.70 ERA / 0.95 WHIP

 

djPFKSDMUFQUWSOHH.201510291804431st Round Supplemental

Daulton Jefferies

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

AZL A’s

5 2/3 IP / 7 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 10 K / 1.59 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

 

ls6245192nd Round

Logan Shore

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

9 IP / 9 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / 2.00 ERA / 1.33 WHIP

 

sm6692213rd Round

Sean Murphy

Age: 21 / Catcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

70 AB / 1 HR / 7 BB / 9 K / .200 AVG / .273 OBP / .257 SLG / .530 OPS

 

ss1005989374th Round

Skylar Szynski

Age: 19 / Right-Handed Pitcher

AZL A’s

13 1/3 IP / 16 H / 12 ER / 4 BB / 8 K / 8.10 ERA / 1.50 WHIP

 

js6420695th Round

JaVon Shelby

Age: 21 / Third Baseman

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

144 AB / 2 HR / 16 BB / 39 K / .188 AVG / .269 OBP / .271 SLG / .540 OPS

 

bb6690646th Round

Brandon Bailey

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

29 IP / 25 H / 10 ER / 9 BB / 27 K / 3.41 ERA / 1.17 WHIP

 

tr6692627th Round

Tyler Ramirez

Age: 21 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

117 AB / 1 HR / 15 BB / 35 K / .248 AVG / .348 OBP / .376 SLG / .724 OPS

 

wg6693358th Round

Will Gilbert

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

19 1/3 IP / 15 H / 7 ER / 9 BB / 23 K / 3.26 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

 

ds6621219th Round

Dalton Sawyer

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

15 2/3 IP / 13 H / 6 ER / 9 BB / 20 K / 3.45 ERA / 1.40 WHIP

 

mjOWLLPIGUVDSSBTJ.2015091521152810th Round

Mitchell Jordan

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

AZL A’s

33 1/3 IP / 34 H / 12 ER / 7 BB / 30 K / 3.24 ERA / 1.23 WHIP

 

ew64220111th Round

Eli White

Age: 22 / Shortstop

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

175 AB / 2 HR / 18 BB / 44 K / .303 AVG / .365 OBP / .406 SLG / .771 OPS

 

lp64197112th Round

Luke Persico

Age: 20 / Outfielder-Third Baseman

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

141 AB / 2 HR / 16 BB / 31 K / .220 AVG / .297 OBP / .312 SLG / .610 OPS

 

nm67014813th Round

Nate Mondou

Age: 21 / Second Baseman

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

164 AB / 0 HR / 17 BB / 26 K / .329 AVG / .402 OBP / .372 SLG / .774 OPS

 

nb67015414th Round

Nolan Blackwood

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Beloit Snappers + Vermont Lake Monsters

18 IP / 23 H / 11 ER / 6 BB / 15 K / 5.50 ERA / 1.61 WHIP

 

td64149915th Round

Ty Damron

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

7 2/3 IP / 10 H / 5 ER / 6 BB / 9 K / 5.87 ERA / 2.09 WHIP

 

acanthony-churlin16th Round

Anthony Churlin

Age: 19 / Outfielder

AZL A’s

69 AB / 0 HR / 9 BB / 23 K / .217 AVG / .316 OBP / .232 SLG / .548 OPS

 

sm160122917th Round

Seth Martinez

Age: 22 / Right-Handed Pitcher

AZL A’s

2 1/3 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 3.86 ERA / 2.14 WHIP

 

sw0612Weber218th Round

Skyler Weber

Age: 21 / Catcher

AZL A’s

70 AB / 0 HR / 6 BB / 13 K / .171 AVG / .237 OBP / .200 SLG / .437 OPS

 

sgddyl6r89unolb91o19th Round

Sam Gilbert

Age: 22 / Right-Handed Pitcher

(Signed – Has Not Yet Played)

 

 

 

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Get the Inside Scoop on Oakland’s Top 11 Draft Picks of 2016 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

A's scouting director Eric Kubota

A’s scouting director Eric Kubota

The A’s took a familiar path in this year’s draft, selecting college players with fifteen of their top sixteen picks. And the team took a trio of talented college pitchers with their top three selections. Top pick A.J. Puk is a flame-throwing lefty out of Florida with top-of-the-rotation potential, while second pick Daulton Jefferies is a 20-year-old righty from Cal with pinpoint control, and Logan Shore is a solid strike-throwing righty also out of Florida who possesses an advanced understanding of pitching.

The man responsible for overseeing the A’s efforts in the amateur draft is scouting director Eric Kubota. Kubota started out his career in the baseball world by interning for the A’s in the mid-‘80s and eventually served as the assistant director of scouting and the supervisor of international scouting before succeeding Grady Fuson as scouting director following his departure after the 2001 season.

In past years, we’ve talked with Kubota about top picks like Addison Russell in 2012, Billy McKinney in 2013, Matt Chapman in 2014 and Richie Martin in 2015. And this year, we were eager to get his insights on #1 pick A.J. Puk as well as the rest of the A’s top eleven picks from the first ten rounds of the 2016 draft.

When we spoke with Kubota, three days after the conclusion of this year’s draft, the A’s had signed eight of their top eleven picks. And word has it that 4th-round pick Skylar Szynski’s signing should be official soon. But Puk and Shore will have to wait until Florida’s College World Series run is complete.

 

AF:  So now that the draft is in your rear-view mirror, how are you feeling about this year’s draft class overall and was there anything unique about the character of this year’s draft from your point of view?

EK:  Well, we’re certainly excited about this year’s draft class. To get the three pitchers we got at the top of the draft, we were extremely happy about it. We felt like there was depth throughout the draft which we were able to take advantage of. I’m not really sure it was unique, except I’m sure a lot of people will probably say it was kind of old school for us because there were a lot of college players from major programs that ended up falling into the spots where we picked them.

AF:  Well, I guess it must have been nice for you to have the #6 pick overall and to not have to wait until the 20s to have your first pick anyway.

EK:  Yeah, it’s nice on draft day. It’s not nice having to experience what has to happen to get you that spot though!

AF:  Exactly! Well, I know you didn’t expect to have your first pick, left-hander A.J. Puk out of Florida, fall to you with the sixth pick. How did you feel about having the chance to take him with your first pick and how would you assess his talent?

apajpuk-florida1-250x300EK:  Yeah, obviously, we were really surprised that he fell to us. As I mentioned before, we started hearing rumblings that he may be sliding, for whatever reason, but we still really did not believe it until he did get to us, so we were certainly happy about that. As far as him as a baseball talent, arguably – probably not even arguably – he was the college pitcher with the highest ceiling in this year’s draft. He’s 6’7”, we’ve seen him up to 97 mph, he’s got a wipeout slider at times, and we like the changeup. It’s just an intimidating look with intimidating stuff and a top-of-the-rotation ceiling.

AF:  Do you have any sense of why it was that he did end up falling to you? I don’t think many people were expecting him to fall to you at number six.

EK:  Right. It’s hard to say. It’s hard to know what was going on in those other draft rooms. I do know, in general, that teams are trying to maximize their draft pool. So maybe they felt there were better ways for them to do that. But I’m really not privy to why he slid – I think we were just happy that he did.

AF:  And obviously, with him and Logan Shore, we’re going to have to wait till Florida’s done playing for there to be any deals done with them.

EK:  Correct.

AF:  And with your next pick, the 37th overall in the competitive balance round, you took right-hander Daulton Jefferies out of Cal. I talked with him last week, and he seemed to have a pretty good understanding of pitching and what he needs to do to be successful. So what did you like about Daulton Jefferies that made you want to take him there?

djNCAA California Coastal Car (3)EK:  Well, first of all, I’m a Cal guy, so I’m biased – he’s obviously a smart guy! But he’s got a great idea of what he needs to do on the mound. He’s super athletic. We’ve seen him with three plus pitches, and he can really pitch. He’s competitive. There’s just so much to like about him moving forward. And he’s the kind of guy who can move quickly through the system.

AF:  He missed 8 weeks with the shoulder strain this season. But I know your medical staff had the chance to look at him both before and after the draft. So do you feel pretty confident about the shoulder issue going forward?

EK:  Yeah, we feel confident that in the long term it’ll be fine. And really, in a lot of ways, it was an opportunity for us that he did get hurt because I don’t think we thought that he would get to #37 had he been healthy all spring.

AF:  In the 2nd round, you took another right-hander and another guy out of Florida, Logan Shore. And he’s a guy, like Jefferies, who seems to be a smart pitcher who really knows how to pitch. He might not have that blazing fastball but he certainly seems to know what he’s doing on the mound and what he needs to do to succeed.

lsloganshoreuf300EK:  Well, he’s a physical right-hander. He’s been the Friday night guy at Florida for three years, which is pretty impressive when you consider the amount of pitching that they always have at Flroida. He doesn’t always go out and throw with the big velocity, but we’ve seen him up to 93-94 mph. We think it’s in there – he just doesn’t use it unless he needs it on occasion. He really knows how to pitch, he can locate, and he knows how to use his stuff – it’s not sexy, sexy stuff, but the way that he uses it is very sexy to us in a baseball way. He can really pitch and he’s competitive. He’s got a great changeup, and we do think that there’s probably more fastball in there than he shows on a weekly basis because he just hasn’t needed to use it.

AF:  So looking at this group of pitchers, is there anyone you might compare Puk to?

EK:  For Puk, as a starting pitcher, I would say James Paxton, although physically he may be more Andrew Miller-ish. But his stuff I think is similar to Paxton.

AF:  And what about Jefferies and Shore?

EK:  Yeah, Jefferies I always kind of likened to Mike Leake. And then Shore, I don’t have a great one, but he reminds me of Jake Peavy a little bit.

AF:  Well, all he has to do is be a little bit like Jake Peavy and he’ll be all right! I guess the development staff is probably looking forward to getting those three arms into the system.

EK:  I would think so. I’d think they’d be pretty happy to get those guys.

AF:  In the 3rd round, you took your first position player, catcher Sean Murphy from Wright State. He has a reputation as a strong-armed catcher. Tell me how you view his abilities behind the plate and what you expect to see out of him offensively.

smZMUNWMNGCNTJJNX.20150502043215bEK:  We think that the catching has really come along. We think he has a chance to be a really good receiver. He’s obviously got plenty of arm strength. And with the bat, there’s strength. We think that there’s more development left with the bat. We think he’s going to hit with some power and he’s going to hit for enough of an average that, when you combine it with his defensive skills, you’ve got a front-line major league catcher.

AF:  He seems to be one of those guys that everyone agrees ought to stick at catcher.

EK:  Right, he’s definitely a catcher. We think the bat may be behind the defense at this point. But we do see development there and we think he’s going to be able to play the game on both sides.

AF:  Any comparisons for him?

EK:  Murphy, I kind of thought of him as like a Mike Matheny type possibly.

AF:  Now in the 4th round, you took your only high school pick in the top 15 rounds, right-hander Skylar Szynski from Indiana. So tell me what you liked so much about him that made you want to make him your first high school pick in the 4th round.

ss100598937EK:  He’s a guy we liked. We had people who liked him as high as the 2nd round or the competitive balance round. He’s an athletic kid. He’s got a good body to build on. We’ve seen him up to 95 mph. He’s got a good breaking ball and the changeup is advanced for a high school guy. There’s a lot to like. Those are the traits that the industry likes in high school pitchers. You get them into your system and hope to develop them, but there’s a lot of physical skill to like.

AF:  Were you a little surprised that he was still available to you at that point?

EK:  Yeah, we were and we were definitely happy that he was.

AF:  Did you have a comp for Szynski?

EK:  I honestly didn’t have a great one, but one of my scouts said Collin McHugh.

AF:  In the 5th round, you went with former major leaguer John Shelby’s son, JaVon Shelby, a third baseman out of Kentucky. He’s considered a very toolsy guy, but I know he under-performed a bit with the bat last year.

jshttps-%2F%2Fkty-platform-secure-prod.silverchaliceEK:  Yeah, he certainly didn’t have the year offensively that he wanted. But we saw him a lot this spring and we liked the approach and we liked his aggressiveness at the plate. We think there’s strength in there for power. Like you said, he’s very toolsy. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm. And he did a good job at third base. He’s played second base in the past. We think his skills line up in center field as well. That versatility is something that we value, and we think he’s got a chance to play a lot of positions well. And we think he’s got a chance to hit and hit with some power.

AF:  So you think there are some real positional options for him going forward.

EK:  Definitely, definitely.

AF:  Did you have a comp for Shelby?

EK:  Maybe kind of a Josh Harrison. He’s bigger than Josh Harrison, but maybe a Josh Harrison type of player.

AF:  Well, Harrison definitely moves around the field like you mentioned. In the 6th round, you went back to pitching with right-hander Brandon Bailey from Gonzaga. He looks a bit like a Bowdien Derby clone from last year’s draft to me. How do you see him?

bbmaxresdefault2EK:  Yeah, we made those comparsions with Derby as well. He’s obviously a shorter right-handed pitcher. But we’ve seen him up to 93-94 mph. We think he can really pitch. He’s got a good changeup. He just has a really good feel for what he’s doing and he’s obviously performed at a high level.

AF:  He had some really nice strikeout numbers.

EK:  Yep, he’s got a changeup that he gets swings and misses with and he’s got a slider that he gets swings and misses with. I think he had 17 strikeouts in the West Coast Conference tournament a couple of weeks ago.

AF:  And is there anyone you’d compare him to, besides Bowdien Derby?

EK:  I thought maybe Kris Medlen potentially.

AF:  In the 7th round, you went back to a position player, center fielder Tyler Ramirez out of North Carolina. I know some scouts seemed to be a little divided on him, but he certainly seemed to put the numbers on the board. So what did you really like about him?

trNSATKSHRAIYJQGE.20150115212753EK:  Yeah, we think he can hit. That’s the thing that he can do. He can really hit. He’s an above-average runner, and we think he’s got a chance to stay in center field. But the thing that he brings is the bat, for sure.

AF:  So you think he’s got the skills to possibly stick in center field though?

EK:  We do. Yeah, we do.

AF:  And who would you compare him to?

EK:  Ramirez reminds me of David DeJesus.

AF:  Well, you closed out the last few rounds with more pitching. In the 8th round, you took left-handed reliever Will Gilbert who was the closer at North Carolina State. What did you like about him?

wggilbertside.0.0bEK:  He’s a left-hander with three average-to-better pitches and a feel to use them. He’s performed at a high level. He’s the kind of guy, coming in out of the bullpen, who could move quickly in an organization.

AF:  So it sounds like he’s going to stay in the bullpen then.

EK: Yeah, I would say so.

AF:  In the 9th round, you went with another left-hander, Dalton Sawyer out of Minnesota. I know I’ve heard some people think he might ultimately profile better as a reliever, but what’s your view of him?

dsMinnesotaDaltonSawyer1bEK:  Well, he’s another tall lefty. We’ve seen him up to 93-94 mph. He definitely had a good year as a starter this year and he’s going to go out as a starter. He’s a left-handed pitcher who’s physically imposing with velocity and a good changeup, so we’ll see where that takes him. One of my scouts said Sawyer reminded him of Jim Kaat. So if any of your readers remember Jim Kaat…

AF:  Well I do anyway!

EK:  I do too!

AF:  In the 10th round, you took right-hander Mitchell Jordan from Stetson. I can’t honestly say that I know a whole lot about him, so I’ll leave it to you to tell me what I ought to know about Mitchell Jordan.

mjSU_JordanMitchell2EK:  Yeah, he can really pitch. He’s got kind of average stuff, but he can really pitch. In a lot of ways, he’s kind of a poor man’s Logan Shore. If you look at his Cape Cod League last summer, he had an incredible summer on the Cape. I saw him over a month into the season, maybe five weeks in, and I saw him give up his first earned run, and he’d been starting the whole time I was up there. So he can really pitch.

AF:  So he sounds like one of those guys whose Cape Cod League performance really helped put him on the map.

EK:  It really helped, yeah.

AF:  Well, I guess at this point, you’ve signed 28 of your 41 picks. So you’ve been moving pretty fast, and I think you might even be a little bit ahead of last year’s pace.

EK:  Yeah, I think we’re in a good spot, and it’s worked out so far so good in that regard.

AF:  I wanted to ask you about your last two 1st-round picks. Last year was shortstop Richie Martin and the year before that was third baseman Matt Chapman. As a scouting director, how are you feeling about where those two guys are at at this stage of the game?

EK:  Yeah, we’re really happy with both of them. They both had to endure some injury issues. Matt had some injuries last year, and Richie got hurt in spring training, which has slowed their development a little bit. But I think, where we sit now, they’ve basically done what he expected. In fact, they’ve probably exceeded what we expected in certain cases. Chapman has certainly hit with the power we expected and he’s shown flashes of the defense that we expected, and he’s performing in a high-level league now. And Richie, having just gotten started after being hurt in spring training, is off to a good start. And everything that those guys have brought, as far as character, makeup and work ethic, has only made us happier to have them. They’re just great kids and they’re both going to make the most of their ability.

AF:  And now that the draft is finally over and you’re down to maybe just a dozen or so picks left to get in the fold, what’s next up on your agenda?

EK:  Our scouts are already out getting ready for next year. There’s events that happen this week, national events, and then next week. So we just get back on the horse and start working for next year.

AF:  Back out beating the bushes!

EK:  Yep!

 

A’s 2016 Draft Class

1st LHP A.J. Puk (Florida), 1st Lottery RHP Daulton Jefferies (UC Berkeley), 2nd RHP Logan Shore (Florida), 3rd C Sean Murphy (Wright State), 4th RHP Skylar Szynski (Penn HS-IN), 5th 3B JaVon Shelby (Kentucky), 6th RHP Brandon Bailey (Gonzaga), 7th OF Tyler Ramirez (North Carolina), 8th LHP Will Gilbert (North Carolina St), 9th LHP Dalton Sawyer (Minnesota), 10th RHP Mitchell Jordan (Stetson)

11th SS Eli White (Clemson), 12th OF Luke Persico (UCLA), 13th 2B Nathan Mondou (Wake Forest), 14th RHP Nolan Blackwood (Memphis), 15th LHP Ty Damron (Texas Tech), 16th OF Anthony Churlin (Island Coast HS-FL), 17th RHP Seth Martinez (Arizona St), 18th C Skyler Weber (Georgia), 19th RHP Sam Gilbert (Kansas), 20th RHP Brigham Hill (Texas A&M)

21st OF Kyle Nowlin (Eastern Kentucky), 22nd C Roger Gonzalez (Winthrop), 23rd RHP Christian Lindsay-Young (Niagara CC), 24th OF Robert Bennie (East Stroudsburg), 25th OF Jeramiah McCray (Martin Luther King HS-CA), 26th 1B Charley Gould (William & Mary), 27th OF Cole Gruber (Nebraska-Omaha), 28th 2B Josh Vidales (Houston), 29th RHP Matt Milburn (Wofford), 30th RHP Nick Highberger (Creighton)

31st RHP Sam Sheehan (Westmont), 32nd C Collin Theroux (Oklahoma State), 33rd C Jarrett Costa (Westmont), 34th SS Casey Thomas (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), 35th LHP Daniel Rafferty (Bucknell), 36th RHP Brady Schanuel (Parkland), 37th OF Michael Farley (Chico HS-CA), 38th OF Matthew Frazier (Clovis North HS-CA), 39th SS Shane Martinez (John W North HS-CA), 40th SS Brett Bittiger (Pace)

*          *          *

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Local Boy Daulton Jefferies Makes Good as A’s 2nd Pick in This Year’s Draft

dj12805924_1071818282936327_5742636123770923759_n.0.0bThe A’s didn’t have to look far to find their second pick in this year’s amateur draft. With the 37th overall selection, the team took Daulton Jefferies, a 20-year-old right-hander who’s spent the past three years pitching right in their own backyard at UC Berkeley for the California Golden Bears.

While Jefferies’ fastball reportedly has been clocked as high as 95 mph, he also works with a changeup and a slider and possesses excellent command. He went 7-0 and posted a stellar 1.08 ERA while striking out 53 and walking just 8 over 50 innings of work in his junior year at Cal this season. But he missed about 8 weeks of the season due to calf and shoulder injuries. He was once considered a potential top 20 pick in the draft, but those injury issues may have caused him to tumble into the lap of the A’s, who were more than happy to have the opportunity to nab another top-tier talent.

Jefferies, who went to high school in Atwater, just a few miles north of Merced, says that he’s modeled himself a bit after A’s right-hander Sonny Gray. So the northern California native was clearly happy to find himself selected by the local team. An added plus to being taken by the A’s is the fact that he’s also friends with the other two young pitchers the team took on the first day of the draft, Florida’s A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. The trio had the chance to play together last summer on the USA Collegiate National Team and have been fast friends ever since.

We took the opportunity to talk with Jefferies on the morning after the draft and found him eager and excited to be part of a pack of promising young pitching prospects who will hopefully help guide the green and gold back to glory before long…

 

AF:  Well, congratulations on being selected by the A’s on the first day of the draft. So how did it feel waking up today knowing you were one of the top 40 picks in the major league draft?

DJ:  To be honest with you, it hasn’t really hit me yet! As soon as I got drafted, I ran to get an A’s hat…and when I woke up, it was the first thing I put on. But it hasn’t hit me yet – it’s pretty surreal.

AF:  So are you going to go to sleep with it on tonight too?

DJ:  I wouldn’t doubt it to be honest with you.

AF:  I know you’re from around the Merced area. So did you grow up as an A’s fan or a Giants fan or both?

DJ:  My family is a mix between Dodgers, Giants and A’s. I have a big family so it’s spread out a bit. But going to Berkeley certainly helps – going to see Sonny Gray pitch, going to see Marcus Semien, Mark Canha and Bob Melvin, who are Cal graduates. I grew up going to Giants games and A’s games.

AF:  It sounds like you grew up being pretty well acquainted with the A’s anyway. So have you seen or read Moneyball yet?

DJ:  Yes, I watched Moneyball. It was actually a really good movie. I didn’t get a chance to meet Billy Beane. But I’m sure I will, so I’m pretty excited.

AF:  Oh, I’m sure you will very soon! So did you have a favorite A’s player growing up?

DJ:  Not really. I remember watching Scott Hatteberg and that whole story. And then, Sonny Gray…I kind of try to model my game after him. He’s had a lot of success there. He plays the game the right way and plays it for the right reasons.

AF:  So are you looking forward to wearing those white cleats?

DJ:  Yeah, my uncles were teasing me about that, and the stirrups and everything. I’m pretty excited. As long as I’m a professional baseball player, I could wear a clown outfit and I wouldn’t care!

AF:  Can you tell me a little bit about your repertoire and how confident you are in each of your pitches and where they’re at at this point?

djNCAA California Coastal Car (3)DJ:  My fastball’s 90-94 mph and touches 95-96 mph. I can control both sides of the plate. Both 4-seam and 2-seam – the 2-seam more going in to righties and away to lefties. And then I build off my fastball and I build off my changeup. My favorite pitch to throw is my changeup. It probably goes from 84 to 88 or 89 mph. I like to throw it a lot to lefties and get hitters off balance, and then going to righties away and getting them to kind of reach and roll over and build off of that with a fastball inside and jam them. And then I just developed a slider this year, and it became one of those big out pitches for me. It usually goes from about 82 to 86 or 87 mph. I learned about myself a lot building off my off-speed. I don’t have a huge, over-powering fastball, like 96-98 mph range. So I just developed into what I think I am. I hit my spots and I can control both sides of the plate. And I don’t really care about strikeouts, as long as I get guys out and miss barrels. I don’t try to strike anyone out. But as long as I execute my pitches, everything will work out. But professional ball is a whole different animal, and I’m ready for it.

AF:  I was going to ask you about what you kind of touched on there. What’s your mentality like when you take the mound? Is there anything in particular you’re trying to remember to do or thinking about trying to accomplish whenever you take the mound for a start?

DJ:  First pitch strike and getting ahead of guys, and getting the leadoff guy out – that’s a big momentum shift. As a pitcher, you’re trying to get your offense back in the dugout so they can score some runs for you. So anything I can do to help speed up that process and get them back grabbing their bats is good.

AF:  You’ve had a good career at Cal over the three years you’ve been there, but you really had a great year this season. You went 7-0 with an ERA of 1.08, and it’s hard to do much better than that. So what was really working for you this season and was there anything different you were doing this year?

DJ:  You know, I think the summer helped me a lot with confidence. Being on the USA Collegiate National Team and playing against other national teams – it was kind of weird playing against 35-year-old Cubans – but it was a great experience, and it kind of opened my eyes to finding out what kind of pitcher I really am. The big thing for me was getting ahead and kind of attacking the hitter. I’m going to make the hitter earn his way on base, I’m not going to walk the guy – I hate walks with a passion!

AF:  You got off to a great start at Cal this year, and then you had a couple of injuries involving your calf and your shoulder and ended up missing about 8 weeks of the season. So can you tell me a little bit more about what happened there?

DJ:  The calf started first after facing Oregon State. And then my arm started to kind of stiffen up. I thought it was just normal soreness from throwing a complete game against Oregon State, but it didn’t really go away. And I just decided to shut it down. So I got the rest I needed. And I was extremely fortunate to be able to get back out there and play with my guys the last two games.

AF:  Did the A’s want to talk to you about the shoulder injury and look into the situation a little further before the draft?

DJ:  Yeah, I went to the workout [for draft prospects at the Coliseum] last week. And I got to see their doctor. He took me through some tasks, strengthening stuff and mobility with my shoulder. And guys in the big leagues get over this injury and I did too. And I’m just glad they had faith in me and I can’t wait to get out there. Jermaine Clark was my scout, and he had some nice things to say to me when I went there.

AF:  I guess you actually played together on the USA Collegiate National Team last summer with the A’s other top two picks from the first day of the draft, Florida pitchers A.J. Puk and Logan Shore.

DJ:  Yeah, we did. We’ve gotten to be pretty good friends. I text Logan and A.J. all the time. They’re a great group of guys. And just being around those guys with those repertoires and getting to see A.J. Puk pitch – when it looks like it’s 86 mph but, when you look up, it’s 97 mph, just because he makes it look so easy. But I couldn’t be more happy. I facetimed them this morning and we all had our A’s hats on, so it’s a pretty exciting time for us!

AF:  Well, I guess it must be nice to be starting your pro career with a couple of guys you already know and like and have played with before.

DJ:  Absolutely, it’s awesome!

AF:  So being a northern California guy yourself, is there anything else you’d like A’s fans to know as you embark on your career in the green and gold?

DJ:  I’m just so thankful for the opportunity. And I can’t wait to get out there and start the uprising of the Oakland A’s! And not just me, but Logan Shore and A.J. Puk and everyone else, we’re going to get this thing going and we’re extremely excited!

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Getting to Know the A’s 2016 Top 11 Draft Picks

A's #1 pick A.J. Puk

A’s #1 pick A.J. Puk

After finishing poorly last season, Oakland earned the sixth overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. The A’s also had the 37th overall pick in the Competitive Balance Lottery Round A, which meant the team would pick eleven players in the first ten rounds of the draft. And with the tenth round concluding at the end of the second day of the draft on Friday, it’s now time to take a look at the A’s top eleven picks of the 2016 draft.

After taking three collegiate pitchers with their top three picks on Thursday, the A’s continued to focus on college arms again on Friday. Overall, the team selected seven college pitchers, one high school hurler and three college position players with its top eleven picks.

The three position players include third-rounder Sean Murphy, a strong-armed catcher from Wright State, fifth-rounder JaVon Shelby, a power-hitting third baseman out of Kentucky, and seventh-rounder Tyler Ramirez, a solid-hitting center fielder out of North Carolina.

The only high school player taken by the A’s in the top ten rounds was fourth-rounder Skylar Szynski, who pitched a perfect game in his sophomore season. Szynski has committed to Indiana, but the A’s are hopeful of signing him.

As we mentioned in yesterday’s day one draft recap, top pick A.J. Puk is a flame-throwing lefty out of Florida with top-of-the-rotation potential, while second pick Daulton Jefferies is a 20-year-old righty from UC Berkeley (Cal) with pinpoint control, and Logan Shore is a solid strike-thrower also out of Florida who possesses an advanced understanding of pitching. And all three played together as members of 2015’s USA Collegiate National Team last summer.

Most of the remaining pitchers taken on Friday tend to be big strikeout guys. And sixth-rounder Brandon Bailey out of Gonzaga is remarkably reminiscent of last year’s sixth-round pick, right-hander Bowdien Derby, who’s since been dealt to the Brewers. Both are under-sized west coast righties with gaudy strikeout totals whom the A’s selected in the sixth round.

We’ll be learning a lot more about all the A’s top picks in the coming days and can look forward to getting the chance to see much more of them at Vermont or Arizona, or possibly even Beloit, before the month is through.

 

apajpuk-florida1-250x300#1 – 1st Round

A.J. Puk

Left-Handed Pitcher

Florida

Age: 21 / 6’7” – 230 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2016 College Stats: 70 IP / 50 H / 25 ER / 31 BB / 95 K / 3.21 ERA / 1.16 WHIP

 

djNCAA California Coastal Car (3)#2 – 1st Round Lottery

Daulton Jefferies

Right-Handed Pitcher

UC Berkeley (Cal)

Age: 20 / 6’0” – 185 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 50 IP / 34 H / 6 ER / 8 BB / 53 K / 1.08 ERA / 0.84 WHIP

 

lsloganshoreuf300#3 – 2nd Round

Logan Shore

Right-Handed Pitcher

Florida

Age: 21 / 6’2” – 215 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 92 1/3 IP / 75 H / 25 ER / 15 BB / 80 K / 2.44 ERA / 0.97 WHIP

 

smZMUNWMNGCNTJJNX.20150502043215b#4 – 3rd Round

Sean Murphy

Catcher

Wright State

Age: 21 / 6’3” – 215 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 121 AB / 6 HR / 23 BB / 16 K / .281 AVG / .408 OBP / .504 SLG

 

ss100598937#5 – 4th Round

Skylar Szynski

Right-Handed Pitcher

Penn High School (Indiana)

Age: 18 / 6’2” – 195 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2016 High School Stats: 59 2/3 IP / 29 H / 12 ER / 18 BB / 78 K / 1.41 ERA / 0.79 WHIP

 

jshttps-%2F%2Fkty-platform-secure-prod.silverchalice#6 – 5th Round

JaVon Shelby

Third Baseman

Kentucky

Age: 21 / 5’11” – 175 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 198 AB / 12 HR / 29 BB / 67 K / .212 AVG / .335 OBP / .470 SLG

 

bbmaxresdefault2#7 – 6th Round

Brandon Bailey

Right-Handed Pitcher

Gonzaga

Age: 21 / 5’10” – 175 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 100 1/3 IP / 80 H / 27 ER / 31 BB / 125 K / 2.42 ERA / 1.11 WHIP

 

trNSATKSHRAIYJQGE.20150115212753#8 – 7th Round

Tyler Ramirez

Center Fielder

North Carolina

Age: 21 / 5’9” – 185 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2016 College Stats: 189 AB / 8 HR / 50 BB / 54 K / .333 AVG / .482 OBP / .540 SLG

 

wggilbertside.0.0b#9 – 8th Round

Will Gilbert

Left-Handed Pitcher

North Carolina State

Age: 22 / 5’11” – 165 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2016 College Stats: 44 2/3 IP / 43 H / 12 ER / 10 BB / 53 K / 2.42 ERA / 1.19 WHIP

 

dsMinnesotaDaltonSawyer1b#10 – 9th Round

Dalton Sawyer

Left-Handed Pitcher

Minnesota

Age: 22 / 6’4” – 190 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2016 College Stats: 94 2/3 IP / 79 H / 35 ER / 42 BB / 112 K / 3.33 ERA / 1.28 WHIP

 

mjSU_JordanMitchell2#11 – 10th Round

Mitchell Jordan

Right-Handed Pitcher

Stetson

Age: 21 / 6’2” – 205 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2016 College Stats: 80 IP / 73 H / 35 ER / 32 BB / 75 K / 3.94 ERA / 1.31 WHIP

 

11th SS Eli White (Clemson), 12th OF Luke Persico (UCLA), 13th 2B Nathan Mondou (Wake Forest), 14th RHP Nolan Blackwood (Memphis), 15th LHP Ty Damron (Texas Tech), 16th OF Anthony Churlin (Island Coast HS-FL), 17th RHP Seth Martinez (Arizona St), 18th C Skyler Weber (Georgia), 19th RHP Sam Gilbert (Kansas), 20th RHP Brigham Hill (Texas A&M)

21st OF Kyle Nowlin (Eastern Kentucky), 22nd C Roger Gonzalez (Winthrop), 23rd RHP Christian Lindsay-Young (Niagara CC), 24th OF Robert Bennie (East Stroudsburg), 25th OF Jeramiah McCray (Martin Luther King HS-CA), 26th 1B Charley Gould (William & Mary), 27th OF Cole Gruber (Nebraska-Omaha), 28th 2B Josh Vidales (Houston), 29th RHP Matt Milburn (Wofford), 30th RHP Nick Highberger (Creighton)

31st RHP Sam Sheehan (Westmont), 32nd C Collin Theroux (Oklahoma State), 33rd C Jarrett Costa (Westmont), 34th SS Casey Thomas (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), 35th LHP Daniel Rafferty (Bucknell), 36th RHP Brady Schanuel (Parkland), 37th OF Michael Farley (Chico HS-CA), 38th OF Matthew Frazier (Clovis North HS-CA), 39th SS Shane Martinez (John W North HS-CA), 40th SS Brett Bittiger (Pace)

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

A’s Take Trio of Talented Arms on First Day of Draft

A's top pick A.J. Puk

A’s top pick A.J. Puk

On day one of the 2016 amateur draft, the A’s chose to load up on collegiate arms, taking a trio of talented college hurlers with their first three picks of the draft. All three pitchers were members of 2015’s USA Collegiate National Team and at one point or another all were considered potential 1st-round draft picks.

With their first pick, the A’s selected a University of Florida junior for the second year in a row. Last year, it was Gators shortstop Richie Martin, and this year it was LHP A.J. Puk. Baseball America had recently ranked the big lefty as the top overall pick in the draft, and A’s scouting director Eric Kubota and the rest of the A’s staff were clearly excited that Puk was still available when it came time for the team to make the 6th overall pick in the draft.

Puk is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound, 21-year-old power pitcher whose fastball has been clocked as high as 99 mph. He pairs it with a solid slider, but his changeup is still considered to be something of a work in progress. His command has also been spotty at times, and the Iowa native walked a total of 84 batters in 188 innings during his 3-year collegiate career. This season, Puk walked 31 and struck out 95 while posting a 3.21 ERA over 70 innings of work for Florida. With an outstanding fastball, a solid slider, an impressive frame and loads of raw talent, it’s easy to see why most people see Puk as a pitcher with tremendous upside.

The only blemish that gets mentioned on Puk’s record is an arrest for criminal trespassing last year, when he and a teammate decided to climb on top of a crane located on a construction site on campus late one night. And if that’s the worst that you can say about someone, that ain’t so bad! A’s front office officials confirmed to A’s Farm the general impression about Puk that he definitely has top-notch stuff but his command has been a bit of an issue. The last time the A’s took a pitcher with their top pick in the draft was 2011 when the team took RHP Sonny Gray. And like Gray, Puk is considered to have the talent to be a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.

With their second selection, the 37th overall pick, in the Competitive Balance Lottery Round A, the A’s took a talented hurler who was originally considered by some to be a potential top 20 pick in the draft, RHP Daulton Jefferies, a junior from UC Berkeley (Cal). And once again, Kubota and company were pleasantly surprised to find such a top arm still available when it came time for the team to make their next pick.

Jefferies is a 6-foot, 185-pound, 20-year-old right-hander whose fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph. He also features a slider and an occasional changeup and possesses excellent command. Despite being sidelined for 8 weeks this season with shoulder and calf injuries, Jefferies went 7-0 and posted a stellar 1.08 ERA while striking out 53 and walking just 8 over 50 innings of work this year for Cal.

Jefferies’ season got off to a great start but, when he missed nearly two months due to the aforementioned injuries, his draft stock tumbled in a bit as teams always start to become a little more timid whenever any sort of health issues arise. But that was good news for the A’s, who were able to snag another top-tier talent. An A’s source confirmed that the team did its due diligence on him medically and that they felt he was “all good.” And the northern California native did return from his injuries to make a couple of solid starts for Cal in May.

And finally, with their third selection, the 47th overall pick, in the 2nd-round, the A’s plucked another junior from the University of Florida pitching staff, Puk’s teammate, RHP Logan Shore. The Minnesota native is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound, 21-year-old right-hander who went 11-0 with a 2.44 ERA while striking out 80 and walking just 15 over 92 1/3 innings of work for Florida this season.

Shore, who was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year last month, was actually the top performer on Florida’s pitching staff, while Puk was considered to have more upside. Shore doesn’t throw nearly as hard as the A’s top two picks but is a consistent strike-thrower with good control who also possesses an advanced changeup. His fastball typically sits around 90 mph and he also works with a slider. And what he may lack in velocity, he more than makes up for with solid command and an advanced understanding of pitching that many expect will help him rise quickly through the system.

 

apajpuk-florida1-250x3001st Round

A.J. Puk

Left-Handed Pitcher

University of Florida

Age: 21

Height: 6-7 / Weight: 230 lbs.

2016 College Stats: 70 IP / 50 H / 25 ER / 31 BB / 95 K / 3.21 ERA / 1.16 WHIP

 

djNCAA California Coastal Car (3)1st Round Supplemental

Daulton Jefferies

Right-Handed Pitcher

UC Berkeley (Cal)

Age: 20

Height: 6-0 / Weight: 185 lbs.

2016 College Stats: 50 IP / 34 H / 6 ER / 8 BB / 53 K / 1.08 ERA / 0.84 WHIP

 

lsloganshoreuf3002nd Round

Logan Shore

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of Florida

Age: 21

Height: 6-2 / Weight: 215 lbs.

2016 College Stats: 92 1/3 IP / 75 H / 25 ER / 15 BB / 80 K / 2.44 ERA / 0.97 WHIP

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

A’s Take Talented Lefty A.J. Puk with Top Pick in the Amateur Draft

A's #1 pick LHP A.J. Puk

A’s #1 pick LHP A.J. Puk

With their #1 pick in the 2016 amateur draft, the A’s selected a University of Florida junior for the second year in a row. Last year, it was Gators shortstop Richie Martin, and this year it was LHP A.J. Puk. Baseball America had recently ranked the big lefty as the top overall pick in the draft, so the A’s have to consider themselves fortunate to still find him available to them with the 6th overall pick in the draft.

Puk is a 6-foot-7, 230 lb., 21-year-old power pitcher whose fastball has been clocked as high as 99 mph. He pairs it with a solid slider, but his changeup is still considered to be something of a work in progress. His command has also been spotty at times, and the Iowa native walked a total of 84 batters in 188 innings during his 3-year collegiate career. This season, Puk walked 31 and struck out 95 while posting a 3.21 ERA over 70 innings of work for Florida.

The last time the A’s took a pitcher with their top pick in the draft was 2011 when the team took RHP Sonny Gray. Like Gray, Puk is considered to have the talent to be a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. And if he develops as hoped, along with Gray and fellow lefty Sean Manaea, Puk could be a part of a talented trio atop the A’s starting rotation in years to come.

*          *          *

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A’s Top 10 Draft Picks Mid-Season Progress Report

A's top pick Richie Martin

A’s top pick Richie Martin

It’s been about two months since this year’s amateur draft and about seven weeks since most of the players picked by the A’s began playing with either the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s. Fortunately, the A’s managed to sign all of their top 10 picks this year. And with about seven weeks of play now in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.

The A’s top pick, shortstop Richie Martin, got off to a hot start for Vermont but has since cooled off a bit. The 20-year-old has shown a consistent ability to get on base though, walking 20 times over his first 31 games and putting up a .385 on-base percentage while also swiping 6 bases for the Lake Monsters.

The fastest riser of this year’s draft class has been the A’s 2nd-round pick, infielder Mikey White, who is the only member of this year’s crop to make it all the way up to the Beloit Snappers of the Class-A Midwest League. White earned the promotion after putting up an impressive .315/.405/.459 slash line in 111 at-bats for Vermont, though he has struggled a bit, going 3 for 37, since joining Beloit. With top pick Richie Martin the primary shortstop at Vermont, White split time between shortstop and third base while with the Lake Monsters but has been the starting shortstop since joining the Snappers.

The pitching standout of this year’s draft class for the A’s has clearly been RHP Bowdien Derby. The California native struck out 131 in 103 innings while pitching for San Diego State earlier in the year. And, so far, the 21-year-old has struck out 25 and walked just 5 over 23 1/3 innings while posting a 1.54 ERA in his first professional season in the A’s organization.

You’ll find the A’s top 10 picks of the 2015 draft along with their current statistics through August 7 below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…

 

rm6210061st Round

Richie Martin

Age: 20 / Shortstop

Vermont Lake Monsters

118 AB / 2 HR / 20 BB / 30 K / .254 AVG / .385 OBP / .381 SLG / .766 OPS

 

mw608383b2nd Round

Mikey White

Age: 21 / Shortstop-Third Baseman

Vermont Lake Monsters + Beloit Snappers

148 AB / 2 HR / 16 BB / 40 K / .257 AVG / .345 OBP / .372 SLG / .717 OPS

 

dc_MG_8530_resize23rd Round

Dakota Chalmers

Age: 18 / Right-Handed Pitcher

AZL A’s

11 2/3 IP / 9 H / 2 ER / 11 BB / 8 K / 1.54 ERA / 1.71 WHIP

 

sb6214504th Round

Skye Bolt

Age: 21 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters

105 AB / 2 HR / 10 BB / 28 K / .210 AVG / .276 OBP / .352 SLG / .628 OPS

 

kd6641285th Round

Kevin Duchene

Age: 21 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

22 1/3 IP / 22 H / 9 ER / 7 BB / 17 K / 3.63 ERA / 1.30 WHIP

 

bd6222466th Round

Bowdien Derby

Age: 21 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

23 1/3 IP / 15 H / 4 ER / 5 BB / 25 K / 1.54 ERA / 0.86 WHIP

 

kf6648517th Round

Kyle Friedrichs

Age: 23 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

23 2/3 IP / 17 H / 8 ER / 10 BB / 11 K / 3.04 ERA / 1.14 WHIP

 

nc6633128th Round

Nick Collins

Age: 21 / Catcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

108 AB / 2 HR / 10 BB / 14 K / .269 AVG / .336 OBP / .343 SLG / .679 OPS

 

jl6647239th Round

Jared Lyons

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

9 IP / 17 H / 13 ER / 3 BB / 10 K / 13.00 ERA / 2.22 WHIP

 

sp59606610th Round

Steven Pallares

Age: 22 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters

142 AB / 1 HR / 30 BB / 24 K / .246 AVG / .376 OBP / .310 SLG / .686 OPS

 

 

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Get the Inside Scoop on Oakland’s Top 10 Draft Picks of 2015 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

A's scouting director Eric Kubota

A’s scouting director Eric Kubota

After selecting a good number of high school players over the past few years, the A’s returned to their old, familiar ways in this year’s draft, taking college players with nine of their top ten picks. The A’s took a pair of college shortstops with their top two selections. Top pick Richie Martin is a multi-talented, speedy, young shortstop out of Florida who’s still just 20 years old, while 21-year-old Mikey White is a solid-hitting shortstop out of Alabama.

The man responsible for overseeing the A’s efforts in the amateur draft is scouting director Eric Kubota. Kubota started out his career in the baseball world by interning for the A’s in the mid-‘80s and eventually served as the assistant director of scouting and the supervisor of international scouting before succeeding Grady Fuson as scouting director following his departure after the 2001 season.

In past years, we’ve talked with Kubota about top picks like Addison Russell in 2012, Billy McKinney in 2013 and Matt Chapman in 2014. And this year, we were eager to get his insights on #1 pick Richie Martin, as well as the rest of the A’s top ten picks of 2015.

When we spoke with Kubota, exactly one week after the start of this year’s draft, the A’s had signed eight of their top ten picks, with Richie Martin and Skye Bolt the only members of the top ten still remaining unsigned. Since then, although the A’s haven’t officially announced it, Jim Callis has reported that the A’s have come to terms with Bolt. Meanwhile, Martin’s signing will have to wait until he’s completed play in the College World Series.

 

AF:  Well, first of all, you guys took an awful lot of college players in this year’s draft – you only took five high school guys out of your forty picks. Was that just a function of the talent that was available or was there any other thinking involved there?

EK:  I think it was just more the way the draft pool was set. I think it was pretty well known that it was more of a college-heavy draft. So it certainly was not a conscious decision to necessarily take more college guys than high school guys.

AF:  Now your top pick Richie Martin, the shortstop out of Florida, was a college junior, but he’s young for a junior at just 20 years old. What was it about him that impressed you so much that you wanted to make him your 1st-round pick, and did his relatively young age help influence your thinking about him?

rmbrn_richie050513_10715444_8col2EK:  Yeah, his age definitely was a factor. He’s really less than two years older than some of the high school prospects we’re talking about and has three years of playing in the SEC, so it was certainly a factor. Richie’s a super athletic kid. He’s got outstanding defensive ability. He’s got the arm for the position, and we think the bat is ever improving. He performed very well with the bat in the Cape Cod League and in the SEC this year. We think he’s a very strong defensive shortstop, he can really run, and we think the bat is going to play in the major leagues.

AF:  What would you say his single best tool is?

EK:  His single best tool is probably his speed – he can really run – and just a little behind that would be his defensive ability.

AF:  So is there anyone you might compare him to?

EK:  Yeah, I thought about this because I know you always like to ask about it. For Richie, the guy he idolizes and the guy he does have some similarities to – I don’t want to say he is this person – but his idol is Derek Jeter, and there are a lot of parallels that you can make. I’m not saying he’s going to be Derek Jeter, but he has that kind of profile.

AF:  So let’s just say he’s Derek Jeter-ish!

EK:  I also thought a little bit about Barry Larkin, but I think Larkin probably has more power.

AF:  I remember Barry Larkin was always the comp for Addison Russell.

EK:  Yeah, that might end up being a pretty good comp.

AF:  With your 2nd-round pick, you went back to another college shortstop with Mikey White out of Alabama. He seems to have a pretty advanced bat at this stage of the game. There’s been some talk that maybe he profiles a little better as a second baseman. So tell me what you think about him with the bat and also what you think about him in the field.

MBAEK:  Yeah, he’s a very advanced hitter. He performed well in the SEC. Both he and Richie Martin, we’ve seen them since they were in high school. So he’s a guy we’ve seen a lot of over the years. Mikey’s always been able to hit. He’s got some strength. We think there’s power there that’s in play now and more power to develop. And from a defensive standpoint, we think, with his hands, he’ll be able to play shortstop in the major leagues.

AF:  So as far as you’re aware, the plan is to keep him at shortstop for the foreseeable future?

EK:  Yep, you’re going to see both those guys at shortstop.

AF:  And who would you compare him to?

EK:  For Mikey White, I thought he’s kind of like a Rich Aurilia type at shortstop – a very steady defender at shortstop with some power.

AF:  Now with your 3rd-round pick, you took your only high school player in the top ten rounds, Dakota Chalmers, the tall right-hander out of Georgia. So tell me what it was that made you want to make him your first high school pick of the draft?

EK:  When we evaluated Dakota, it was as a near 1st-round pick – that was our evaluation of him. He’s another guy we’ve seen a lot of over the summer and through the spring. We’ve seen him up to 95-96 mph, and we think he’s got a plus curveball – a strikeout, out-pitch type of curveball – and really an advanced feel for the changeup for a high school kid. So his stuff is top notch, and we think there’s physical projection left for him. Like I said, he was a guy going into the draft that we kind of saw as a near 1st-round type of guy.

dc_MG_8530_resize2AF:  I’d heard that a lot of people looked at him that way. Is there any particular reason you think he ended up falling to you in the 3rd round?

EK:  It’s hard to say. There are lots of different factors that go into making decisions for thirty different teams. It may have been signability at one point or another.

AF:  Well, it sounds like you made him an offer he couldn’t refuse [reportedly a signing bonus of $1.2 million].

EK:  [Laughter]

AF:  He does seem rather advanced for a high schooler though. Do you look at him as a guy who could move fairly quickly for a young kid?

EK:  I think we’re expecting him to be in Arizona for this year, and then we’ll just let things play out.

AF:  Any comparisons for him?

EK:  Chalmers I kind of likened to Clay Buchholz. Physically they’re similar, and they have the same kind of stuff.

AF:  He’s pretty much a real tall, skinny guy, right?

EK:  Right, exactly.

sbbolttt2AF:  Your 4th-round pick was one of the best names in the draft, Skye Bolt out of North Carolina. He’s a switch-hitter and a center fielder and he seems to profile like a lot of the hitters you targeted – some power and some plate discipline. So, besides his name, tell me what it was that you liked about Skye Bolt?

EK:  He’s full of ability, first and foremost. I mean, talent-wise, he’s a 1st-round talent if you just look at the tools. It was to our advantage that he didn’t have the kind of year offensively, at least average-wise, that he’d hoped to have, and I think that kind of pushed him down in the draft. But from a physical talent standpoint, he has 1st-round ability.

AF:  And who would you compare him to?

EK:  The guy I thought of, it’s not a really great physical comp, but I think the kind of player he could be is kind of a Jim Edmonds type – very good defense in center field with power.

AF:  Moving out of the southeast, your 5th-round pick was your first lefty. And everyone loves a lefty, so tell me what it was that you guys loved about Kevin Duchene out of Illinois?

kdILLOSUKevinDuchene2EK:  He’s got solid stuff – we’ve seen him up to 92 mph with a good breaking ball and changeup. He’s got an advanced feel for how to use his stuff. If you just look at the success he had at Illinois, he obviously knows how to pitch. We think we know the kid well. We think that he can really pitch, he’s got good stuff, and the kid’s solid.

AF:  It seems like a lot of these pitchers you guys took have really impressive walk-to-strikeout ratios and have really good command, and he seems to fit right into that profile as well.

EK:  Right, right. As an organization, we’ve discussed that a little bit. It doesn’t get any easier to throw strikes as the strike zone gets smaller as you move up.

AF:  Do you have a comp for him?

EK:  Potentially Jimmy Key for Duchene – kind of an average-sized left-hander who can really pitch.

AF:  Now your 6th-rounder was your first west coast pick, RHP Bowdien Derby out of San Diego State.

bdDerby1.0.0bEK:  I think he goes by “Bubba” actually. So he also makes the “all-name” team.

AF:  Yeah, I found him on Twitter as “Bubba Derby.” He was one of two guys out of San Diego State you took in the first ten rounds. I think he led the conference in strikeouts, so I guess it’s easy to tell what you like about him, but tell me a little bit more about Bubba Derby.

EK:  He’s kind of an average-height guy, and I think that probably pushed him down a little bit. There generally can be a bias against that in scouting. But just based on his ability and his stuff, and what he did with his stuff, we were certainly happy that we could get him in the 6th round when we got him. Obviously, he can throw strikes and he can miss bats, which are two things we value highly. We’ve seen him up to 93 mph. I’ve heard from other people that he was up in the high-90s as a closer, but we saw him up to 93 as a starter.

AF:  So is his fastball the main thing that guys are missing?

EK:  Yeah, it’s the fastball, but he also has a really good changeup.

Kyle FriedrichsAF:  Well, that always helps! Now you went with another west coast guy in the 7th round, RHP Kyle Friedrichs out of Long Beach State. He seems to have really exceptional command. I think he had 12 walks and 109 strikeouts. So obviously he must have a clue what he’s doing on the mound, but tell me what you saw in him.

EK:  Exactly, it’s kind of a common thing among these guys. We think that their stuff is solid, and these guys are all high performers with things we value. He had very low walk rates and very high strikeout rates, so he fits right in with that. We really think he has exceptional fastball command. And if there’s one characeteristic you need to be able to pitch in the major leagues it’s being able to command the fastball.

AF:  So in the 8th round, you took your first catcher, another middle-of-the-diamond player – like all these guys in your top ten picks. So tell me what you like about Nick Collins as a hitter and also how he profiles behind the plate.

ncSHallGtown-NickCollinsXYZ2EK:  Well, first and foremost, we think he can hit. He’s a big, physical kid. He’s a left-handed hitter. He’s got a very strong arm. I think his receiving skills are a little bit behind those two skills right now. But we’re very confident that he has the ability to evolve into a solid catcher.

AF:  I guess anytime you can find a left-handed hitting catcher with a strong arm it probably piques your interest.

EK:  Yeah, I mean, he can catch the baseball. But catching in professional baseball is just so different than at a high school or college level. There’s so much more asked of catchers, so there’s so much more development that goes into catchers, probably more so than almost any other position because it’s so different. But we like his hands, and we think he’s going to develop into a very good defensive catcher.

jlbaseball-action-jaredlyons9-new2AF:  In the 9th round, you went with another left-hander, Jared Lyons out of Liberty. Has he primarily been a starter or a reliever over his college career?

EK:  Prior to this year, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen for them. I think his role had kind of shifted around in previous years. He’d pitched primarily out of the pen and made some spot starts, but his stuff jumped up this year and he really established himself as a Friday night guy for Liberty. Also, it’s a common theme, but he threw strikes, he missed bats and he performed really well with solid stuff. I sound like a broken record!

AF:  Well, I guess we know what you’re looking for anyway! Now in the 10th round, you went with another up-the-middle guy, center fielder Steven Pallares, who was the second player you took out of San Diego State. He seems to be another guy with some pop and some plate discipline, so tell me a little bit more about him.

spCGcLRYsWcAAKzAN2EK:  Yeah, he’s unique for a college senior in that we think that there’s an upside left to him. We think we may be just seeing the tip of the iceberg with this kid. It’s unusual to talk about a senior draft pick that way, but that’s kind of how we see him.

AF:  And how do you feel about him defensively in center field?

EK:  We think he’s got the ability to stay in center. But he also has the ability to play all three of the outfield positions. He’s played some infield and has some versatility. I think we’re just going to see how things shake out with his development and see where he best fits as time goes on.

AF: So it’s my understanding that all your top ten picks have signed except for Skye Bolt and Richie Martin. Of course, Richie Martin has been in the College World Series, but are you anticipating having all of your top ten picks in the fold before long?

EK:  Yes, I think we’re very close to finishing things up with Skye hopefully this week. And then with Richie, we obviously have to wait until after the World Series is over.

AF:  And I think you’ve signed 27 of the 40 guys so far. So it seems like you’ve moved pretty quickly and taken care of business pretty fast this year.

EK:  We did a lot of leg work before the draft. So it made things easier once the draft ended.

AF:  And I imagine we’re probably going to see most of these college pitchers from the first ten rounds going to Vermont this year.

EK:  Yeah, they will all go to Arizona to begin with, because we do our medical stuff and we do our orientation. And then we have to evaluate where they are in their throwing programs. Some of these guys haven’t thrown for three weeks, so we’ve got to get them back into shape before sending them out. But ultimately, yeah, most of them will be in Vermont for the bulk of the summer.

AF:  That’s what I expected. By the way, does part of the orientation these days include “what not to say on Twitter?”

EK:  [Laughter] I think that starts long before they get to us! But we certainly do talk to them about things like that, and we talk to them about it repeatedly!

AF:  Obviously, the draft is the centerpiece of your year. But now that we’re about a week removed from the draft, besides talking to people like me, what’s your time primarily taken up with now?

EK:  We’re putting 2015 in the books, and we’re getting ready for 2016. Next week, I’m going to an event that’s going to feature players for 2016. But there’s a big event going on this week that we have scouts at. It really doesn’t stop. We start up almost immediately.

AF:  So nobody’s taking off and going on vacation the week after the draft?

EK:  Not really. We’re taking a little time to catch our breath and then we’re back at it!

AF:  Well, thanks for taking some of that time to talk with us!

 

A’s 2015 Draft Class

#1 Richie Martin SS (Florida), #2 Mikey White SS (Alabama), #3 Dakota Chalmers RHP (HS-GA), #4 Skye Bolt CF (North Carolina), #5 Kevin Duchene LHP (Illinois), #6 Bowdien Derby RHP (San Diego State), #7 Kyle Friedrichs RHP (Long Beach State), #8 Nick Collins C (Georgetown), #9 Jared Lyons LHP (Liberty), #10 Steven Pallares OF (San Diego State)

#11 James Terrell OF (HS-CA), #12 Chris Iriart 1B (Houston), #13 Brett Siddall OF (Canisius), #14 Boomer Biegalski RHP (Florida State), #15 Ryan Howell 2B (Nevada-Reno), #16 Dustin Hurlbutt RHP (Tabor), #17 Brent Wheatley RHP (USC), #18 Brett Sunde C (Western Michigan), #19 Seth Brown 1B (Lewis-Clark St), #20 James Naile RHP (Alabama-Birmingham)

#21 Andrew Tomasovich LHP (Charleston Southern), #22 Brady Bramlett RHP (Mississippi), #23 Eric Senior OF (HS-ON), #24 Heath Bowers RHP (Campbell), #25 Evan Manarino LHP (Irvine), #26 Jordan Devencenzi C (Nevada-Reno), #27 Xavier Altamirano RHP (Oral Roberts), #28 Marc Berube RHP (Pittsburgh), #29 Armando Ruiz RHP (Alabama State), #30 Brendan Butler RHP (Dowling)

#31 John Gorman RHP (Boston College), #32 Michael Murray RHP (Florida Gulf Coast), #33 Mike Martin CF (Harvard), #34 Shane Conlon 1B (Kansas State), #35 Tim Proudfoot SS (Texas Tech), #36 Troy Rallings RHP (Washington), #37 Andy Cox LHP (Tennessee), #38 Chris Cullen C (HS-GA), #39 Gregory Fettes C (Kentucky), #40 Nick Maton SS (HS-IL)

*          *          *

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Getting to Know the A’s 2015 Top 10 Draft Picks

A's top pick Richie Martin

A’s top pick Richie Martin

Now that day two of the amateur draft is complete, it’s time to run down the A’s top ten picks of the 2015 draft. After taking two collegiate shortstops with their top two picks on Monday, the team continued to prefer college players on Tuesday but focused more on finding promising young pitchers.

Overall, the team took five pitchers and five position players with its top ten picks. The five position players picked were all up-the-middle guys, including the two college shortstops, along with two college center fielders and one college catcher. Of the pitchers, four were college arms – two right-handers and two left-handers.

The only non-college player selected by the A’s in the top ten rounds was 6’3” high school right-hander Dakota Chalmers. Considering the fact that the Chlamers has committed to Georgia, could he possibly pose a signing risk? We’ve heard that the A’s are confident that won’t be an issue.

As we mentioned yesterday, top pick Richie Martin is a 20-year-old shortstop out of Florida who came in second in the Cade Cod League in hitting last summer with a .364 average. He also possesses good speed and seems to have the defensive ability to stick at shortstop in the long-term.

Second pick Mikey White is a 21-year-old shortstop out of Alabama who’s always been solid at the plate and has shown a consistent ability to get on base, but many think he may ultimately end up being a better fit at second base.

The three hitters taken on Tuesday – catcher Nick Collins and center fielders Skye Bolt and Steven Pallares – all fit the classic A’s profile as power and patience guys. All of them have walked at least as many times as they’ve struck out this season and all possess a slugging percentage of at least .449.

The pitchers are primarily high strikeout guys with good control. San Diego State right-hander Bowdien Derby led the Mountain West Conference in strikeouts with 131 over 103 innings of work, while Long Beach State right-hander Kyle Friedrichs showed exceptional control with just 12 walks to go along with 109 strikeouts.

We’ll be learning a lot more about all the A’s top picks in the coming days and can look forward to getting the chance to see much more of them at Vermont or Arizona, or possibly even Beloit, before the month is through.

 

rmbrn_richie050513_10715444_8col21st Round

Richie Martin

Shortstop

Florida

Age: 20 / 6’0” – 185 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 5 HR / 33 BB / 34 K / .292 AVG / .404 OBP / .424 SLG

 

MBA2nd Round

Mikey White

Shortstop

Alabama

Age: 21 / 6’1” – 195 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 4 HR / 31 BB / 47 K / .339 AVG / .444 OBP / .537 SLG

 

dc_MG_8530_resize23rd Round

Dakota Chalmers

Right-Handed Pitcher

North Forsyth High School (GA)

Age: 18 / 6’3” – 170 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 High School Stats: 51 1/3 IP / 27 H / 11 ER / 37 BB / 82 K / 1.50 ERA / 1.25 WHIP

 

sbbolttt24th Round

Skye Bolt

Center Fielder

North Carolina

Age: 21 / 6’2” – 180 lbs.

Bats: Both / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 10 HR / 40 BB / 40 K / .259 AVG / .383 OBP / .449 SLG

 

kdILLOSUKevinDuchene25th Round

Kevin Duchene

Left-Handed Pitcher

Illinois

Age: 21 / 6’2” – 210 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2015 College Stats: 102 2/3 IP / 89 H / 20 ER / 18 BB / 88 K / 1.75 ERA / 1.04 WHIP

 

bdDerby1.0.0b6th Round

Bowdien Derby

Right-Handed Pitcher

San Diego State

Age: 21 / 5’10” – 180 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 103 IP / 94 H / 38 ER / 34 BB / 131 K / 3.32 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

 

Kyle Friedrichs7th Round

Kyle Friedrichs

Right-Handed Pitcher

Long Beach State

Age: 23 / 6’1” – 190 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 100 IP / 90 H / 31 ER / 12 BB / 109 K / 2.79 ERA / 1.02 WHIP

 

ncSHallGtown-NickCollinsXYZ28th Round

Nick Collins

Catcher

Georgetown

Age: 21 / 6’2” – 228 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 7 HR / 22 BB / 21 K / .370 AVG / .435 OBP / .540 SLG

 

jlbaseball-action-jaredlyons9-new29th Round

Jared Lyons

Left-Handed Pitcher

Liberty

Age: 22 / 6’0” – 190 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2014 College Stats: 50 2/3 IP / 40 H / 16 ER / 12 BB / 48 K / 2.84 ERA / 1.03 WHIP

 

spCGcLRYsWcAAKzAN210th Round

Steven Pallares

Center Fielder

San Diego State

Age: 22 / 6’2” – 185 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 9 HR / 37 BB / 33 K / .352 AVG / .447 OBP / .523 SLG

 

#11 James Terrell OF (HS-CA), #12 Chris Iriart 1B (Houston), #13 Brett Siddall OF (Canisius), #14 Boomer Biegalski RHP (FL St), #15 Ryan Howell 2B (NV Reno), #16 Dustin Hurlbutt RHP (Tabor), #17 Brent Wheatley RHP (USC), #18 Brett Sunde C (West Mich), #19 Seth Brown 1B (Lewis-Clark St), #20 James Naile RHP (AL-Birm)

#21 Andrew Tomasovich LHP (Charleston South), #22 Brady Bramlett RHP (Mississippi), #23 Eric Senior OF (HS-ON), #24 Heath Bowers RHP (Campbell), #25 Evan Manarino LHP (Irvine), #26 Jordan Devencenzi C (NV Reno), #27 Xavier Altamirano RHP (Oral Roberts), #28 Marc Berube RHP (Pittsburgh), #29 Armando Ruiz RHP (AL St), #30 Brendan Butler RHP (Dowling)

#31 John Gorman RHP (Boston Coll), #32 Michael Murray RHP (FL Gulf Coast), #33 Mike Martin CF (Harvard), #34 Shane Conlon 1B (KS St), #35 Tim Proudfoot SS (TX Tech), #36 Troy Rallings RHP (Washington), #37 Andy Cox LHP (Tennessee), #38 Chris Cullen C (HS-GA), #39 Gregory Fettes C (Kentucky), #40 Nick Maton SS (HS-IL)

 

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A’s Pick a Pair of Collegiate Shortstops on Day 1 of the Draft

rmCHBTsrKUYAA4geDFor the second year in a row, the A’s selected a collegiate infielder with their first pick in the amateur draft. Last year it was third baseman Matt Chapman, and this year it was shortstop Richie Martin.

Martin is a 20-year-old junior out of Florida who came in second in the Cade Cod League in hitting last summer with a .364 average. He also possesses good speed and seems to have the defensive ability to stick at shortstop in the long-term.

The A’s followed up their first pick by selecting their second college shortstop of the day, Mikey White out of Alabama. White is a 21-year-old junior who’s always been solid at the plate and has shown a consistent ability to get on base, but many think he may ultimately end up being a better fit at second base.

The A’s aren’t expecting to have any trouble signing either of their top two picks this year. The draft resumes on Tuesday with rounds 3 through 10. We’ll have more complete coverage of the A’s top ten picks tomorrow. But in the meantime, here’s the basic rundown on the A’s first two picks of the 2015 amateur draft…

 

rmbrn_richie050513_10715444_8col21st Round

Richie Martin

Shortstop

Florida

Age: 20 / 6’0” – 185 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 5 HR / 33 BB / 34 K / .292 AVG / .404 OBP / .424 SLG

 

MBA2nd Round

Mikey White

Shortstop

Alabama

Age: 21 / 6’1” – 195 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 College Stats: 4 HR / 31 BB / 47 K / .339 AVG / .444 OBP / .537 SLG

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.