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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)

*          *          *

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Exclusive: Get the Inside Scoop on Oakland’s Top 10 Draft Picks of 2014 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

A's scouting director Eric Kubota

A’s scouting director Eric Kubota

After unexpectedly taking high school players with their top pick in each of the past two years, the A’s returned to their old, familiar ways this year, selecting college players with eight of the team’s top ten picks. The A’s made 21-year-old Cal State Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman their top pick this year. Chapman is best known for his solid defense and strong throwing arm at third, but the A’s also like his plate discipline and think that he has the potential to develop into a legitimate power hitter.

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.

We talked to Kubota about a week and a half after the draft, just a day after top pick Matt Chapman’s signing was officially announced. At the time we spoke, the A’s had signed seven of their top ten picks, but Kubota expressed confidence that the remaining three would all be in the fold before long. And we were happy to get his take on the A’s main man, Matt Chapman, along with all the team’s other top ten picks from the first ten rounds of the 2014 draft…

AF:  I really want to get a quick take from you on all the A’s top ten draft picks this year. But before we start getting into this year’s draft class, is there anyone from last year’s draft class who really gives you a particular sense of pride when you look at them this year?

EK:  Well, we’re certainly happy with Billy McKinney’s progress. His batting average might not show it, but he’s a high school guy and he’s playing in advanced Single-A, so it was really a stretch for him. I think he’s actually swung the bat better than the numbers have necessarily shown. So we’re certainly happy with him.

mcimg_6735bAF:  Well, it was just announced earlier this week that you signed your #1 pick, third baseman Matt Chapman out of Cal State Fullerton. So tell me what really excited you most about him?

EK:  With him, it’s really the upside. I think he’s just starting to scratch the surface of what he can be. We know that there’s a ton of impact power in his swing. And we think, with just a few adjustments, his power will be up there. So we really think, down the road, we’ll have a chance to get a third baseman who can affect the game both on defense and at the plate.

AF:  Prior to the draft, a lot of people were projecting him as more of a 2nd-round guy. Was there anything in particular that you guys saw in him that you placed a higher value on than some other people did?

EK:  I would say that probably everybody who was picking towards where we were picking in the draft had him in their conversation. Everybody’s going to have different positions and there’s going to be people who evaluate the draft outside the industry…but just about every team that picked at the back half at least had some conversation about him.

dgVVLYQGJKSGDGSMH.20131021153816bAF:  Your #2 pick was RHP Daniel Gossett out of Clemson, who seems to fall into the mold of a slightly smaller-body-type guy like Sonny Gray. Tell me what you really liked about him, and are smaller pitchers the new market inefficiency?

EK:  I don’t know that that’s necessarily the case. We don’t really think of him as small…Daniel’s taller than 6 feet. So we didn’t really take his height into account. We think he’s plenty physical enough to do what he needs to do. He’s got very good stuff. He throws 92-94 mph. He throws strikes with his fastball and locates it down. He has an excellent breaking ball and a very good changeup.

AF:  Are there any major league pitchers you’d compare him to?

EK:  I hesitate to compare anybody to Sonny Gray, just because what he’s done is so incredible. But he’s on the less-physical side – probably you could say David Cone, physically anyway, those are the kind of people you could compare him to.

bgbrettgraves2AF:  Your #3 pick was RHP Brett Graves out of Missouri, who a number of people really liked, but his strikeout numbers aren’t really quite as eye-popping as a lot of the guys you’ve taken. So tell me what made you want to go with him.

EK:  He’s a little bit different. He’s more of a pitch-to-contact guy. He throws hard up there at 94-95 mph, but he’s more of a sinkerball type pitcher than a strikeout guy now…but we like the fact that he keeps the ball out of the air and throws strikes and he throws hard.

AF:  And he’s officially still unsigned, correct?

EK:  Correct, yes.

jsjordan-schwartz3bAF:  Your #4 pick was RHP Jordan Schwartz out of Niagara, who didn’t seem to be quite so high on some people’s radar before the draft. So what did you like about him?

EK:  He’s a former position player. We really liked the athleticism. He saw him up to 97 mph with a strikeout breaking ball. We think he’s kind of an upside guy. He’s kind of untapped…we could get a really high ceiling with him once he starts getting some professional instruction.

AF:  Your #5 pick was RHP Heath Fillmyer, who’s from a smaller school, Mercer County Community College out of New Jersey. So what did he do to get himself on your radar?

SONY DSCEK:  He’s very similar to Schwartz in that he’s also a converted position player. We saw a very good fastball, 94-95 mph, and an above-average curveball. He’s another guy who’s a real upside kid. With player development, we can give him to [minor league pitching coordinator] Scott Emerson and some of our pitching people in player development, and the sky’s the limit.

AF: And he’s still officially unsigned, right?

EK:  Yes.

AF:  Your #6 pick was high school shortstop Trace Loehr out of Oregon. It was announced that he signed earlier this week. What did you like so much about him to make him your first high school pick on the board, especially since he’d already committed to Oregon?

tl1339-7-Red-7bEK:  There’s a lot to like about Trace. He’s got tools. He’s a plus runner. We really like the way he swings the bat. We really, really love his makeup. We think there’s just a lot here. He’s got a lot of the traits that we think make players successful in the long run, and we’re excited about that.

AF:  Was there one thing in particular that really jumped out for you about him, or was it more of a well-rounded package that he presented?

EK:  No, we think he can really swing the bat. He’s got a chance to be a very good defender too, but I think the thing that we were most drawn to was the bat.

AF:  So kind of like with Billy McKinney where you really liked the swing?

EK:  Yeah, kind of. It’s a little different in that he plays the middle infield, so it’s a little different, but yeah.

AF:  Are there any major leaguers you might compare him to?

EK:  Yeah, I thought a little bit about Kyle Seager when I saw him.

bcuva_baseball_branden_cogswell_2013_01_home3AF:  Your #7 pick was another middle infielder, Branden Cogswell out of Virginia. His offensive numbers weren’t really that eye-popping, but he was taking a lot of walks and getting on base. So what did you like about him?

EK:  Well, that was one of the things obviously. We liked his ability to get on base – we valued that. But we also really liked his defense. He played second base this year, but we think he can play shortstop. We really like his defense and think the offense will be more than enough to allow him to be a major league player.

AF:  And he’s the only other one of the top ten who still hasn’t signed yet. He’s still playing, right?

EK:  Correct, he’s still playing.

bk1339-3-Green-7bAF:  Your #8 pick was the only high school pitcher you took in the top ten, RHP Branden Kelliher out of Washington. What so impressed you about him to make him the one high school pitcher you went with in the top ten?

EK:  We valued him higher than that spot, and we were happy that he fell to us. We’ve seen him up to 96 mph. We’ve seen a good breaking ball. He’s probably more on the slight side physicality-wise. There’s some similarity to a guy we took out of the northwest 12 or 13 years ago – Jeremy Bonderman. Same kind of physicality, same kind of stuff.

mffagan_oacAF:  Your #9 pick was LHP Mike Fagan out of Princeton, who was the only left-hander you took in the top ten. Tell me a little bit about what you liked about him.

EK:  He’s a guy who’s always had a lot physical ability. We’ve seen a lot of him – we’ve scouted him quite a bit. And this year, he really turned the corner as far as his performance. He’s a left-hander who throws up to 92-93 mph and he’s got a good breaking ball. He’ll go out as a starting pitcher. But I could imagine him potentially being a left-handed specialist down the road. It might be a little bit of a lazy comparison, but he kind of reminds me of Craig Breslow, another Ivy League left-hander.

cmPdineSJU-Miller2AF:  And your #10 pick was RHP Corey Miller out of Pepperdine, who was actually one of the physically bigger pitchers you took in the top ten. What did you like about him?

EK:  He’s a physical kid with a good body who’s got solid stuff with a history of pitching well and winning.

AF:  Are you expecting to sign all your top ten picks?

EK:  We hope to get them all done, and we feel confident that we can get them all done.

AF:  Is it safe to assume that most of the college pitchers we’ve discussed are likely to end up at Vermont this year?

EK:  Well, they’re all going to Arizona to begin with. And yeah, it’s likely that most of them will be in Vermont before the end of the summer.

AF:  And finally, how excited are you to see Matt Chapman signed, and how excited are you to see him out there playing in the coming weeks?

EK:  Very excited. You know, the whole scouting staff will be living and dying by those box scores this summer!

AF:  Okay, great! Thanks a lot.


A’s 2014 Draft Class

#1 3B Matt Chapman (CSU Fullerton), #2 RHP Daniel Gossett (Clemson), #3 RHP Brett Graves (Missouri), #4 RHP Jordan Schwartz (Niagara), #5 RHP Heath Fillmyer (Mercer College), #6 SS Trace Loehr (Rex Putnam HS), #7 SS Branden Cogswell (Virginia), #8 RHP Branden Kelliher (Lake Stevens HS), #9 #LHP Mike Fagan (Princeton), #10 RHP Corey Miller (Pepperdine)

#11 RHP Joel Seddon (South Carolina), #12 RHP Tyler Willman (Western Illinois), #13 2B Max Kuhn (Kentucky), #14 C Casey Schroeder (Polk State), #15 2B Trent Gilbert (Arizona), #16 3B Jose Brizuela (Florida State), #17 C Eric Cheray (Missouri State), #18 LHP Michael Nolan (Oklahoma City U.), #19 C Tom Gavitt (Bryant), #20 RHP Koby Guana (CSU Fullerton)

#21 SS Tim Proudfoot (Texas Tech), #22 RHP Brendan McCurry (Oklahoma State), #23 1B Collin Ferguson (St. Mary’s), #24 RHP Dawson Brown (U. West Florida), #25 CF Joseph Estrada (Colegio Hector Urdaneta HS), #26 RHP Rob Huber (Duke), #27 CF J.P. Sportman (Cent. Conn. State), #28 RHP Corey Walter (West Virginia), #29 LHP Cody Stull (Belmont Abbey), #30 LHP Derek Beasley (South Carolina-Aiken)

#31 RHP Tyler Schimpf (Capital Christian HS), #32 CF Denz’l Chapman (Junipero Serra HS), #33 C Michael Rivera (Venice HS), #34 1B John Nogowski (Florida State), #35 CF Austen Swift (Bishop Allen Academy HS), #36 OF Tyler Spoon (Arkansas), #37 OF Brock Lundquist (Fountain Valley HS), #38 CF Colt Atwood (Sam Houston State), #39 2B Payton Squier (Greenway HS), #40 SS Bryson Brigman (Valley Christian HS)


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

Exclusive: Get the Inside Scoop on the A’s Top 12 Draft Picks of 2013 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

ekubotaFor the second year in a row, the A’s surprised the baseball world by selecting a high school hitter with their first pick in the amateur draft. Last year’s top pick, Addison Russell, has generated an awful lot of enthusiasm from both inside and outside the organization, and now this year’s top pick, outfielder Billy McKinney, will be getting his chance to make his mark.

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.

We talked to Kubota a week after the draft, and just hours after top pick Billy McKinney’s signing was officially announced. At the time we spoke, the A’s had signed 7 of their top 12 picks, but Kubota expressed confidence that the remaining 5 would all be in the fold before long. Since it’s a busy time for Kubota, we were happy that he took the time to give A’s Farm his take on the A’s main man, McKinney, along with all the team’s other top 12 draft picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2013 draft.

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AF:  I wanted to start out by asking you about last year’s draft class. Of course, the golden child, Addison Russell, has gotten most of the attention out of that group of guys. But I was wondering if there’s anyone else from last year’s draft who stands out for you and kind of warms your heart?

EK:  Well, there are a few candidates for that. I think I would start with Daniel Robertson, who we obviously took high in the draft, but he’s performed very well with the bat and he’s played shortstop at a very high level, which has been a surprise for us. So that’s certainly something that was kind of unexpected for us – that he would be able to play that position as well as he has. Beyond that, obviously we’re happy with where Matt Olson is in his development. And John Wooten, who was a very late pick, has performed very well in Beloit and he’s kind of validated our signing him. He was a guy we saw in the Cape Cod League a couple of summers ago, and he played really well up there. He had a rough spring last spring, but he’s gone out and played very well. On the pitchers’ side, there were a few senior pitchers we took later in the draft – Ryan Dull and Tucker Healy – both of whom have performed very well in the Beloit bullpen. So, all in all, we’re really excited about last year’s draft class.

AF:  Well, it seems like it’s been panning out pretty well so far. So was there anything unique about this year’s draft for you? How would you characterize it in general?

EK:  Well, I think it shook out where we took a lot of pitching in the first 10 rounds – and you can never have too much of that. And just the way the draft fell presented us with a lot of opportunities as far as pitchers. So, if anything, I would say that probably characterized our draft class as much as anything.

bmc320xAF:  So I wanted to get your take on your top 12 picks from the first 10 rounds. Your top pick, Billy McKinney, signed earlier today, and was actually out at the Coliseum taking batting practice today. So tell me what made you really fall in love with this guy?

EK:  Well, the first thing you fall in love with with Billy is his bat. We really, really love the way this kid swings the bat. It’s rare when, across the whole scouting staff, everybody agrees about the quality of the kid’s bat. So that’s the first thing that jumps out at you. You know, I’ve said it before, I think there are some similarities to Mark Kotsay – and if that’s how he ends up, I think we’d all be happy.

AF:  Were you there to see his batting practice session earlier today?

EK:  Yes, I was, and he did very well. He swung the bat really well and carried himself really well. He hit in the same group as Yoenis Cespedes, so that’s not an easy thing for any young kid to do, but he handled himself well.

AF:  So he wasn’t intimidated at all, huh?

EK:  No, no, he swung the bat well.

dospringstate10weatherford4-3cAF:  Your second pick was Dillon Overton, the big left-hander out of Oklahoma. He hasn’t signed yet, but what put him so high on your target list?

EK:  Well, Dillon Overton can really pitch. He’s got a history of high strikeout numbers and low walks. He’s just a left-hander with good stuff who knows how to pitch, and we were very happy that he was there in that spot. Coming into the year, there were a lot of people who probably rated him higher than Jonathan Gray, who went third in the country, and deservedly so.

AF:  What pitches is he working with right now?

EK:  A fastball, a slider and a changeup – all of which have a chance to be above average when everything’s right.

AF:  And he’s not signed at this point, right?

EK:  He’s not, but we feel comfortable that something should be coming down the pike fairly quickly.

cpf009965cf7c51910fc2a1bf2aca1138b5AF:  Your third overall pick was Chad Pinder, the infielder out of Virginia Tech, who’s signed. What did you like most about him, were you surprised that he was still available to you at that point – because I kow he was pretty highly-ranked – and what do you foresee for him position-wise?

EK:  Yeah, we were pleasantly surprised that he was still there when we picked him. And what we liked about him is he really can swing the bat – that’s the first thing with him that we really liked. We think he can hit. He’s played third base predominantly in his career but moved over to shortstop this year and did a good job there. And I think we’re going to let him go out at shortstop and see if he can establish himself at that position. We think he has the physical tools to do it.

AF:  With him, Robertson and Russell, you’re certainly going to have some depth at shortstop in the low minors anyway!

EK:  Right.

rhHealy2AF:  Well, that’s never a bad thing! Your fourth pick was Ryon Healy, who hasn’t signed yet. He’s a big college kid out of Oregon who’s played both first base and third base, but I’m assuming what you really liked about him was his bat.

EK:  Yeah, we really liked the bat. He’s always performed with the bat. He’s always had the strength for power, and this year it finally translated into home run numbers. We do think he has the physical ability to play third base, and we’ll probably give him an opportunity to try and do that. But first and foremost, he’s a big right-handed power bat who profiles at the corner positions.

AF:  Is there anyone you would compare him to?

EK:  I would say Billy Butler possibly.

ckChrisKohler12bAF:  Your fifth overall pick was left-hander Chris Kohler out of southern California, who’s signed. There aren’t normally a lot of high school pitchers too high on your list. So what was it about him that made you want to take a high school pitcher that high up this time around?

EK:  He’s a classic projection high-school left-hander who flashes above-average stuff now. And in our opinion, it’s just a matter of physical maturation and development where it’s going to be consistently plus stuff. He’s been up to 93 mph. He can really spin a breaking ball. We really think there’s a high ceiling with Chris.

dc7417296896_fbd45c83de_z2AF:  Your sixth pick was right-hander Dylan Covey out of San Diego, who’s signed. He was a 1st-round draft pick coming out of high school a few years ago, but he found out he had diabetes and decided to go to college rather than sign with the Brewers, and now you were able to pick him up a little lower in the draft. So given his whole history, how do you view him at this point?

EK:  We scouted him a lot when he was in high school, when he was a 1st-round pick. We liked him a lot back then. In the time since then, he’s had to learn how to deal with his diabetes, which was really a new situation for him. He didn’t have any clue about that before that physical. But we’ve seen him, and his stuff is starting to get back to what we saw in high school. I think it’s a combination of him learning how to manage his diabetes and just gaining some additional confidence. But we think it’s a situation where we got potentially a 1st-round talent in the 4th round, and we’re really happy about that.

bwEP-130529103bAF:  Your seventh pick was right-hander Bobby Wahl out of Ole Miss. He’s not signed at this point, but tell me what you liked about him.

EK:  He’s just a big physical kid with a good arm – up to 95-96 mph. He’s been a starter in arguably the best college league in the country – the SEC – and he’s been a Friday night starter in that league. He’s got a big arm with a good breaking ball. We’ll send him out as a starter and see what happens. But if he ends up in the back of the bullpen, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either.

AF:  What’s the likelihood of him signing?

EK:  We feel confident that all these guys will be signed hopefully within the next few weeks.

kffinnegan-for-blogAF:  Your eighth pick was another college right-hander, Kyle Finnegan, out of Texas, who hasn’t signed yet either.

EK:  Same situation – we’re really close on getting that done. He’s an athletic right-hander. He’s been a starter and a reliever in college. We’ve seen him up to 97 mph with a good slider. And he’s just a big arm in the system. I was just thinking today that he kind of reminds me a little bit of Grant Balfour.

AF:  Really, is he crazy?

EK:  No comment (laughs).

ddDustinDriver12bAF:  Your ninth pick was another right-hander, Dustin Driver, a high school pitcher who hasn’t actually signed yet but has expressed a strong desire to forego UCLA and sign.

EK:  Same situation – we feel comfortable about him and hope to have that done relatively shortly. He’s a physical high school right-hander – we’ve seen him up to 95 mph with a good slider. There was kind of a common theme amongst a lot of these pitchers. We took physical kids with big arms. And we’re going to turn them all over to (minor league pitching coordinator) Scott Emerson and the rest of our pitching coaches and our player development system and see what happens.

tm4L3AF:  Your tenth pick was a hitter, surprisingly enough, Tyler Marincov out of Florida, who’s signed. So what made you want to break that string of pitchers and go with an outfielder?

EK:  Well, we need some guys to play the outfield behind those pitchers. But he’s an athletic kid. He performed both from a power standpoint and a speed standpoint at North Florida. He’s just a good athlete with upside and performance.

AF: Is there anyone you’d compare him to?

EK:  I’m blanking now – the guy from Arkansas back in the late ’80s and early ‘90s…

AF:  Kevin McReynolds?

EK:  Exactly, Kevin McReynolds!

msg24e7d00000000000005f8058cd094daf07be9009598f748f4dda0d4e20AF:  Okay, your last couple of picks on Day 2 of the draft were both college left-handers. Matt Stalcup was your eleventh overall pick. He’s signed, but he didn’t come out of a big school in Kansas, so what got him on the radar for you?

EK:  He’s just a left-hander with a fastball in the ‘90s and a good breaking ball with a very good history of missing bats and striking guys out. He’s from a smaller school, but a couple of our scouts got to see him and were very impressed with his stuff, and we were happy to get him.

jg19K9UZ.AuSt.79bAF:  Your twelfth and final pick on Day 2 was Jerad Grundy, a left-hander out of Kentucky, who’s signed. What made you want to get him before Day 2 was through?

EK:  He’s just a polished performer who knows how to use his stuff and has a history of getting guys out.

AF:  Is there anyone you’d compare him to?

EK:  Yeah, on Grundy, I’m going to go with Curt Young.

AF:  Well, that’s a good one! Okay, just a couple of quick questions on this top 12 group of picks. So do you feel confident that, at the end of the day, you’re going to end up with all these guys in the fold?

EK:  We do.

AF:  And are all these pitchers we’ve talked about likely to start out as starters?

EK:  I would think all those guys will begin their careers as starting pitchers.

AF:  And all the hitters we’ve discussed, except McKinney, are college guys. So would you assume all those college hitters will most likely be starting out in Vermont?

EK:  Probably, yeah. I would say that it’s most likely that’s where they will start.

AF:  And what about the pitchers?

EK:  I would say the two high school kids (Chris Kohler and Dustin Driver) will probably be in Arizona, and the college guys will likely be in Vermont.

AF:  So we’re expecting all these college guys are headed to Vermont and all these high school guys are going to end up in Arizona.

EK:  Yeah, I would say that’s safe to assume.

AF:  Well, hopefully Billy McKinney does well in Arizona and pulls an Addison Russell for you this year!

EK:  Yeah, that’d be nice!

AF:  Well, good luck and thanks a lot!

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

A’s Make High School Outfielder Billy McKinney their Top Pick in 2013 Amateur Draft

Billy McKinney: The A's new golden child

Top draft pick Billy McKinney:     The A’s new golden child

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…

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#1 (24th Overall)



Billy McKinney

Center Fielder

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


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 #2 (63rd Overall)



Dillon Overton

Left-Handed Pitcher

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


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 #3 (71st Overall)



Chad Pinder

Shortstop/Third Baseman

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


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Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

A’s Farm in Top 10 MLB Blogs in 2012!

Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick gave A’s Farm a taste of things to come in spring training!

Well, the results are in – and in our first year out of the box, A’s Farm was ranked in the Top 10 MLB blogs for 2012! At our peak late in the season, we were averaging almost 5,000 hits per week and almost 20,000 hits per month. And we want to be sure to thank all you devoted A’s fans who are obviously committed to learning as much as possible about the organization from top to bottom.

We also want to thank MLB Trade Rumors for repeatedly featuring A’s Farm as one of their top blog picks of the week, Baseball Reference for regularly featuring us in their player news section, and A’s Nation who asked us to provide a weekly minor league update during the season for the hordes of A’s fans who get their A’s news from the biggest and best A’s blog on the web.

In 2012, A’s Farm profiled the A’s new players and top prospects, offered progress reports on the team’s top draft picks, named the A’s organizational all-stars, and featured interviews with GM Billy Beane, along with players like Josh Reddick, Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle, and front office personnel like assistant GM David Forst, scouting director Eric Kubota and director of player personnel Billy Owens. And in one of our most popular pieces of the year, A’s Farm profiled A’s super-scout and Moneyball bad guy Grady Fuson. All that in addition to our daily updates on all the A’s minor league affiliates – the Sacramento River Cats, Midland RockHounds, Stockton Ports, Burlington Bees, Vermont Lake Monsters and the Arizona League A’s.

Stay tuned for much more right here in 2013, and be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up to date on all the A’s minor league teams and top prospects down on the farm!


Exclusive: Get the Inside Scoop on the A’s Top 10 Draft Picks of 2012 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

Thanks to the loss of free agents Josh Willingham and David DeJesus, the A’s had a few more picks than usual in the upper ranks of the amateur draft this year – 5 of the first 75 picks to be exact. And surprisingly, the team used a number of those picks to target high school players, something that’s been uncommon for the organization in the past.

The man responsible for overseeing the A’s efforts in the amateur draft is scouting director Eric Kubota. Kubota grew up in northern California, graduating from Aptos High School before moving on to the University of California at Berkeley. He started out his career in the baseball world by interning for the A’s in the mid-‘80s before signing on as the assistant director of baseball relations in 1987. Kubota eventually served as the assistant director of scouting and the supervisor of international scouting before being selected to succeed Grady Fuson as scouting director following his departure after the 2001 season.

In his time at the helm of the A’s scouting department, the team has drafted players like Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, Huston Street, Kurt Suzuki, Cliff Pennington, Jemile Weeks, Michael Choice and Sonny Gray. So who better to give us the inside scoop on this year’s top draft picks for the A’s? We talked a week after the draft had ended, before #1 pick Addison Russell’s signing had been officially announced (word has it that it’s all but a done deal and that an official announcement could be coming at any time). We took the opportunity to get Kubota’s take on the A’s main man, Russell, along with all the team’s other top 10 draft picks of 2012.

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AF: The main thing that’s been notable with this year’s draft as far as the A’s go is the large number of high school players taken with high draft picks this time around. Is there any specific reason for that change?

EK: Obviously, it was a change that we took so many high school guys. But there wasn’t any conscious change in how we scouted and how we set up our boards and things like that. And I’ve told people every year that we like high school guys. It’s just the way the board falls. And this year what presented itself was an opportunity to draft the high school guys we thought were clearly the best guys. So that’s how that all came to be.

AF: A lot of people felt there just wasn’t that much mind-blowing college talent available this year either. Did that also factor into things?

EK: I think that’s fair to say. We thought that the high school crop was deeper. There’s also a little bit of cost certainty built into the new system, so that helped as well a little bit – to just kind of have an idea of what you were getting into financially. But I say it every year, and I know it hasn’t necessarily been brought out by our drafts, but we like plenty of high school players, but a lot of times it’s just the way the board falls.

AF: So what did you see in your first pick, high school shortstop Addison Russell, that you really liked, is there anything that needs work with him, and are there any players you would compare him to?

EK: Well, the first thing that you notice about Addison is his athleticism. He’s just an extremely gifted athlete in many ways. It bears out in his running speed and his agility. We really like the athleticism – we like the upside. He’s a guy who we think has plus tools across the board – a potential 5-tool player – and a lot of upside. He can be an offensive shortstop with power, with speed, with arm strength – really with the whole package. Like any high school player, there’s a lot of development that has to happen for him to get where he’s going. But we like his ability to play and we like his skills. As far as major league players that he reminds us of, Barry Larkin is one name that comes to mind.

AF: Do you see him starting out for you as a shortstop in the minor leagues?

EK: We see him as a shortstop in the major leagues, yes.

AF: How certain were you that he was going to end up being your first-round pick heading into the draft?

EK: We had a pretty good sense that he was in a mix of guys who could be our first-round pick. What generally happens is you end up with two or three or four guys, based on what you’re hearing and how you like them, that you think are going to be the group from which you’re going to pick. And in some ways, the decision gets made for you based on who gets picked in the draft. But he was certainly amongst the group of guys that we thought we had a chance to get.

AF: Your second pick was another high school shortstop, Daniel Robertson out of southern California. What did you see in him that made you want to grab him so early?

EK: Daniel Robertson really impressed us with his bat. We feel he’s got a very, very advanced approach to hitting for a high school guy. He’s got strength. His defensive skills are very solid – we think they’re good enough for him to play shortstop. Ultimately, down the road, he probably ends up at third base. We’re very confident that he has the offensive potential to be a profile player there. He’s very polished as far as what he does now. And some guys have compared him to David Wright.

AF: Your third pick was another high school player, Matt Olson, a big left-handed hitting high school first baseman out of Georgia. What did you like about him?

EK: What we really like about him is his bat. He’s really a sweet swinger. He kind of reminds us of John Olerud. He’s a big-framed kid, so there’s a chance to add a lot of strength to his frame, and that’s where the power’s going to come with him. We really like the bat, and we like his chances to have power down the road as his body gets bigger and stronger. And he’s very, very good around first base.

AF: So what do you think the prospects are of getting all your top three picks signed?

EK: We’re working out the final details. But we’re pretty optimistic about where things are headed.

AF: So you’re pretty optimistic about getting all three of them locked up at this point?

EK: Correct.

AF: Now your fourth pick was a college catcher, Bruce Maxwell, out of Alabama who’s already signed. Do you project him remaining as a catcher at the major league level?

EK: Yeah, first and foremost, we do think he’s a catcher. We think he has all the necessary ingredients to catch. Once again, what we really like about Bruce is his bat. First off, if you look at his numbers, I know it was Division III, but you’d be hard-pressed to find statistics like that anywhere. But what our scouts saw with their eyes matched every bit of those stats.

AF: If I’m correct, I think he hit around. 470.

EK: Yeah, and four or five times more walks than strikeouts with 16 homers or something like that.

AF: And he’s a left-handed hitting catcher too, right?

EK: Correct.

AF: With your fifth pick, you took your first pitcher in the draft, right-hander Nolan Sanburn out of the University of Arkansas, who’s still unsigned. Tell me what made you want to take him as your top pitcher in the draft.

EK: Nolan’s kind of an old school power pitcher. He’s got a fastball that’s up to 97-98 mph. We’ve seen an above-average curveball and an above-average changeup at times. He’s a strong, physical kid. He’s pitched both as a starter and out of the bullpen. We think he’s got the necessary ingredients to start in professional baseball. And he has the kind of stuff that could work his way to the upper ranges of the rotation or, if he does have to go back to the bullpen, to the late innings out of the bullpen. Sanburn, physically, reminds me of Tim Belcher.

AF: Your sixth pick was Kyle Twomey, a young left-handed high school pitcher from southern California who appears to be a real long, lanky kind of guy. I know there was some question about him maybe wanting to go to college. What did you like about him?

EK: What we like about Kyle is his projection and his ability to pitch right now. He flashes three average-to-better pitches. He touches 91-92 mph with his fastball right now. We think with normal physical development, he’s going to throw a bit harder. He’s got an above-average changeup right now. His breaking ball has good shape. He has all the ingredients – he just needs a little more velocity in our opinion. But he’s got a very, very good feel for what he’s doing out there. He already knows how to pitch. We just think the sky’s kind of the limit with this kid because he’s got so much physical development left to him. And he kind of reminds us a little bit of Andrew Heaney who went #9 in the draft this year.

AF: Your seventh pick was high school outfielder B.J. Boyd out of Palo Alto, who seemed really eager to sign up and play. So I guess that made it easy for you, right?

EK: Yeah. It’s just nice when some kid’s are very, very excited about signing and getting going with their pro career, and B.J. certainly wants to do that. He’s a tremendous athlete. He was a tremendous high school football player. He could have probably played Division I football. He’s a strong, compact, electric athlete. There’s a lot of upside to a lot of things he does. He’s probably a little rough around the edges, and there’s some development that needs to happen for it all to come together for him. But he can really run, he’s got strength in his bat, and he’s got a chance to really play center field. Some of the guys who saw him compared him a little bit to a young Carl Crawford.

AF: Your eighth pick was another left-handed hitting first baseman, Max Muncy out of Texas. How would you compare him to Matt Olson, your other top first base pick?

EK: First off, he’s three years older, so that puts him three years farther down the development track. Once again, what we really like about Max is his bat. All of us who went in there to see him, for lack of a technical term, he just looked “hitter-ish.” And we really like his chances to hit. He’s a surprising athlete. He doesn’t scream “athlete” on first look, but he runs well, and he’s very good around first base. And we just like the whole package with Max but, first and foremost, the bat.

AF: With your ninth pick, you went back to pitching with college right-hander Seth Streich out of Ohio. What did you like about him?

EK: He’s an athletic kid. He’s got a good body. We’ve seen him throw hard, up to like 94-95 mph, with a very good slider. He was one of the better hitters on their team at one time, but he just decided that pitching was his best way to help the team. We actually think he’s kind of an upside guy. He just hasn’t pitched as much as some of these guys. And we just like the whole combination of body, athleticism and stuff.

AF: Your tenth pick was another college pitcher, Cody Kurz out of Oxnard who’s a little younger. I think he’s only 19. Tell me about him.

EK: Yeah, he’s a younger kid who just hasn’t pitched all that much. He was actually a Division I football recruit. He was a linebacker, which will tell you something about his physicality. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic. We’ve seen him up to 94-95 mph. We’ve seen him with a very good breaking ball. We just think we’re kind of just seeing the tip of the iceberg on him. We just think there’s a lot of upside to him.

AF: Once these guys are all drafted, how involved are you in the signing process?

EK: Very involved. Most of the signings go through me. Occasionally there will be guys where either Billy Beane or David Forst have good relationships with their advisors, so they may help out. But most of the negotiations work through me. The scouts do a lot with them in some of the cases, and then in certain cases I do some of them.

AF: So in this period after the draft is over, your work is certainly not done. There’s still plenty of stuff to follow up on for you.

EK: Yeah, we’re trying to get players signed. And basically, the day after the draft ends, we start getting ready for next year’s draft.

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#1 (11th Overall)

Addison Russell


Pace High School / Pace, Florida

Age: 18

6’1” / 210 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2012 High School Stats: .358 AVG / .532 OBP / .815 SLG




#2 (34th Overall)

Daniel Robertson


Upland High School / Upland, California

Age: 18

6’1” / 190 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2012 High School Stats: .560 AVG / .696 OBP / 1.000 SLG




#3 (47th Overall)

Matt Olson

First Baseman

Parkview High School / Lilburn, Georgia

Age: 18

6’4” / 225 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2012 High School Stats: .353 AVG / .421 OBP / .765 SLG



#4 (62nd Overall)

Bruce Maxwell


Birmingham-Southern College / Birmingham, Alabama

Age: 21

6’2” / 230 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2012 College Stats: .471 AVG / .619 OBP / .928 SLG



#5 (74th Overall)

Nolan Sanburn

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of Arkansas / Fayetteville, Arkansas

Age: 20

6’1” / 205 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2012 College Stats: 39 1/3 IP / 28 H / 11 ER / 22 BB / 47 K / 2.52 ERA




#6 (106th Overall)

Kyle Twomey

Left-Handed Pitcher

El Dorado High School / Placentia, California

Age: 18

6’3” / 180 lbs.

Throws: Left / Bats: Left

2012 High School Stats: 73 2/3 IP / 39 H / 8 ER / 25 BB / 77 K / 0.76 ERA



#7 (139th Overall)

B.J. Boyd


Palo Alto High School / Palo Alto,California

Age: 18

5’11” / 205 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2012 High School Stats: .507 AVG / .628 OBP / .704 SLG



#8 (169th Overall)

Max Muncy

First Baseman

Baylor University / Waco, Texas

Age: 21

6’1” / 205 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2012 College Stats: .322 AVG / .418 OBP / .494 SLG


#9 (199th Overall)

Seth Streich

Right-Handed Pitcher

Ohio University / Athens, Ohio

Age: 21

6’3” / 200 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Left

2012 College Stats: 75 1/3 IP / 81 H / 37 ER / 36 BB / 62 K / 4.42 ERA




#10 (229th Overall)

Cody Kurz

Right-Handed Pitcher

Oxnard College / Oxnard, California

Age: 19

6’4” / 225 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2012 College Stats: 24 2/3 IP / 15 H / 4 ER / 11 BB / 21 K / 1.46 ERA



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