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Draft Review - Oakland Athletics

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The second up in a series of draft reviews is the Oakland Athletics and their scouting director Erik Kubota.

Follow the jump for a pick-by-pick analysis. The number before a pick is the round in which the player was drafted, and the overall pick number is denoted, as well.

1. Michael Choice, OF, UT Arlington, #10 Overall, 6'0''/215, Seiler Rating 1B2: Choice steadily climbed up boards over the course of the 2010 season, and he eventually landed squarely in the top ten. The Indians and Padres were interested in him in earlier spots, so the A's got a good deal here for an all-around talented player that profiles to be a great Major League player, with his ceiling being at the all star level. He should be signing sooner rather than later. DOB: 11/10/89.
2. Yordy Cabrera, 3B, Lakeland HS (FL), #60 Overall, 6'1''/204, Seiler Rating 1B1: Cabrera was a solid first round candidate entering the spring, and he was being considered by a few teams in the last third of the first round as late as the weekend before the draft. He fell to the second round, and the A's got a serious bargain of a high-level power bat, though his bust rate is somewhat high and he turns 20 in September. This was a great pick, though his negotiations might go down to the wire. DOB: 9/3/90. Commitment: Miami.
3. Aaron Shipman, OF, Brooks County HS (GA), #92 Overall, 6'0''/174, Seiler Rating 1B1: Shipman started really rising up draft boards in mid-April, and he worked his way up to the point that I thought he'd go in the second round to a team that loved his athleticism. All of his tools expect power are above-average, and he profiles as an excellent center fielder. He landed here for another bargain, and the A's were really rolling at this point. I don't expect his negotiations to last until August 16, as his best interest is signing and starting his development track. DOB: 1/27/92. Commitment: Mercer.
4. Chad Lewis, 3B, Marina HS (CA), #125 Overall, 6'3''/200, Seiler Rating 2C1: Lewis fits the bill as a prototypical third base bat with power potential and a good arm. That makes him valuable, and he landed in a range where I expected him to go. I'm not necessarily as high on his hitting tools as others are, though, and I think his bust rate is high due to a few mechanical flaws that make him vulnerable to quality pitching at times. He can get locked in, though, making him as good as anyone in the class with the bat when he's hot. He should sign for an affordable price. DOB: 12/10/91. Commitment: San Diego State.
5. Tyler Vail, RHP, Notre Dame HS (PA), #155 Overall, 6'1''/187, Not Rated: Vail was one of the better prep arms from cold-weather Pennsylvania, but that didn't mean he was a highly sought-after prospect. Some teams liked his arm, while plenty simply thought he'd be better off at Maryland. With a roughly delivery and a solid-average fastball as his only future Major League pitch, he has future reliever written all over him. He should sign for an affordable amount, though, and his arm at least has some juice in it. DOB: 11/3/91. Commitment: Maryland.
6. Tony Thompson, 3B, Kansas, #185 Overall, 6'4''/219, Seiler Rating 2C3: Thompson had the unfortunate bad luck of fracturing his kneecap right before the season was set to begin, and he never really recovered. He started out slow, and even though his bat showed back up, his mobility is still down, and most think he'll have to move to first base. He has a good enough bat to still be a starter there, but the risk is higher. He's already signed, and he should be playing short-season ball shortly. DOB: 12/19/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
7. Jordan Tripp, OF, Golden West JC (CA), #215 Overall, 6'4''/215, Not Rated: Tripp was an interesting junior college bat that fell just outside of my Draft Notebook group. He has size and good enough tools to start in the outfield at the Major Leagues, most likely in a corner outfield spot, but he only produced for a single year, so it's hard to say that he'll continue to produce against better pitching. He should sign, though, and this is an intriguing pick. DOB: 10/27/89.
8. Blake Hassebrock, RHP, UNC Greensboro, #245 Overall, 6'5''/205, Seiler Rating 3C1: Hassebrock hasn't really put it together in college for three years, though his roles in school held him back more than his stuff. With only one average or better pitch in a plus fastball, he has reliever written all over him, and despite his size, his ceiling is as a one-pitch setup man. This was about where I expected him to go, and I'd expect that he signs sooner rather than later, too, making this a solid selection. DOB: 7/15/89.
9. A.J. Kirby-Jones, 1B, Tennessee Tech, #275 Overall, 5'10''/215, Seiler Rating 4D5: Kirby-Jones put himself onto the prospect scene with big numbers, and even though his tools are limited, he's been nothing but raking for two years now. He has plus power, but a longer swing with a major hole in it makes him very vulnerable to the strikeout, making him a powerful bench bat more than a starter. He's not very athletic, either, but this is a solid risk at this range, and he signed very quickly. DOB: 10/2/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
10. Josh Bowman, RHP, Tampa, #305 Overall, 6'2''/195, Seiler Rating 4D3: Bowman had an excellent freshman campaign two years ago, and I had him on my radar as a possible breakout candidate for this spring, as he might have returned to that high level and found himself in the top five rounds. However, he stayed rather stagnant, and this was a tad bit earlier than I thought he'd go. He fits as a possible fifth starter or swing man, but he seems to be signable with decent-enough stuff to be a pro pitcher. DOB: 9/9/88.
11. Wade Kirkland, SS, Florida Southern, #335 Overall, 5'10''/180, Seiler Rating 3D7: I thought Kirkland might go three to five rounds earlier, as he's a hard-nosed player with utility man tools in a weaker college class. However, he fell due to his lack of bigger tools, and he signed immediately on the dotted line. I think he's a solid name to watch in terms of him becoming a potential Major League bench bat, as he has high makeup and can run and field. DOB: 4/4/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
12. Matt Thomson, RHP, San Diego, #365 Overall, 6'4''/195, Seiler Rating 4D6: Thomson was drafted in the twelfth round a year ago by the Tigers, and a solid season in the bullpen at San Diego allowed him to be a solid senior arm. He has average stuff, but plus command, making him a possible middle reliever with polish. He still has an attractive frame, as well, so this is about where I thought he'd go. He's already signed and should do well in the lower minors. DOB: 3/22/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
13. A.J. Griffin, RHP, San Diego, #395 Overall, 6'5''/215, Seiler Rating 4D7: Griffin was teammates with Thomson, and I expected both of them to go out in this range, though I didn't expect they'd land with the same team in back-to-back picks. He also has average stuff, but his calling card is a plus changeup, so he could be a solid middle reliever in a relatively short period of time as a senior reliever. He hasn't signed yet, but he will in short order, and he should report to short-season ball. DOB: 1/22/88.
14. J.C. Menna, RHP, Brookdale CC (NJ), #425 Overall, 6'2''/175, Seiler Rating 4D5: Menna is quite similar to Thomson and Griffin in terms of stuff, but he's been starting on his junior college team this spring. He features three pitches in the area of average, but he still profiles better as a relief arm than a starter. He hasn't signed yet, but I think he will, as his alternative is a small Florida school in Lynn. DOB: 12/24/88. Commitment: Lynn.
15. Scott Woodward, 3B, Coastal Carolina, #455 Overall, 6'1''/185, Seiler Rating 3C2: I thought Woodward would go as many as eight rounds higher, as he can control the strike zone and run pretty well, making him a nice offensive threat. He doesn't hit enough to play third base, but he might profile as a solid second baseman. I think he's a risk of not signing, as he could go back to Coastal for a senior year and end up ten rounds higher, but we'll see what happens, as their season just recently ended. DOB: 12/3/88.
16. Ryan Hughes, LHP, Nebraska, #485 Overall, 6'6''/220, Not Rated: Hughes is a very big, physical lefty that was drafted in the same round two years ago by the Diamondbacks, so he's not exactly new to the prospect scene. He was used sparingly at Nebraska after time at Chabot College, and I thought he'd go later and possibly return for his senior year. He has average or below stuff, making him more of a lefty specialist, but he should sign, as he's already 22 without much prospects for a higher pick next year. DOB: 5/20/88.
17. Drew Tyson, RHP, Reinhardt (GA), #515 Overall, 6'5''/195, Not Rated: Tyson is a tall, skinny arm who wasn't even on my radar, despite his close proximity to my Atlanta home. He features thoroughly average stuff and a history of Tommy John surgery, so this is a bit risky, but he may have more upside than at first look. He already signed, and he should be pitching in short-season ball when their season opens. DOB: 8/11/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
18. Jose Macias, RHP, Franklin Pierce (NH), #545 Overall, 6'2''/180, Not Rated: Macias only has a single year of pitching under his belt, but it was a great one, as he completed dominated all the competition he faced. He only has average stuff, though, making him a potential middle relief arm, but he's signed already and has a big first test in short-season ball. Maybe his stuff is good against wood bats, too. DOB: 7/18/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
19. Logan Chitwood, RHP, Texas-Tyler, #575 Overall, 6'1''/185, Not Rated: Chitwood first came on to the radar of scouts when he pitched at Navarro JC, a nice Texas Juco program that puts out quality players on a regular basis. After a year at Texas-Tyler, he looked like a good organizational arm, but not much more than that, which is why I thought he'd fit somewhere beyond the twenty-fifth round. He should be signing somewhat soon, though, as this is a great opportunity for him. DOB: 3/28/89.
20. Rashad Ramsey, OF, Chattooga HS (GA), #605 Overall, 6'0''/175, Not Rated: Ramsey was another Georgia player I didn't have on my radar as an early pick, which tells me their Georgia area scout has the ear of Erik Kubota, as well as the fact that their scout is thinking outside of the box here. Ramsey is very athletic, but he's not really a baseball player first, as he's an option quarterback with a small school commitment to play football. I don't expect him to sign, but it's an interesting pick for athleticism nonetheless. DOB: 5/10/92. Commitment: West Georgia.
21. Michael Anarumo, LHP, LeMoyne, #635 Overall, 6'4''/180, Not Rated: Anarumo is a draft-eligible sophomore that I expected to go completely undrafted, as he hasn't pitched much and hasn't been successful enough to warrant a high draft pick. His stuff is average, and he fits as a middle reliever in the long run, so I just wonder what they saw in him that other teams didn't. I also wonder if he'll sign, and I'd put odds against it. DOB: 9/7/89.
22. Mike Strong, LHP, Oklahoma State, #665 Overall, 6'0''/175, Seiler Rating 4D6: Strong had a solid first year at Oklahoma State after two years at Iowa Western CC, and he moved up three rounds from his draft position a year ago. I thought he'd go about ten rounds higher as a solid middle relief option from the left side, but I bet he returns for his senior year, where he'll likely be a starter once again. DOB: 11/17/88.
23. Zach Thornton, RHP, Oregon, #695 Overall, 6'6''/220, Seiler Rating 4D5: I liked Thornton as a solid senior arm, but apparently most teams didn't like him enough to draft him earlier. With three roughly average pitches, I think he profiles best as a potential #5 starter, but he needs to keep improving his command to reach that point. He's already signed, and I think you'll see him succeed in the lower levels before being challenged in the upper minors. DOB: 5/9/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
24. Ryan Lipkin, C, San Francisco, #725 Overall, 6'1''/200, Not Rated: Lipkin is a re-draft for the A's, as they took him in the forty-third round a year ago. He profiles as a solid backup catcher that handles a pitching staff well, and he's not a complete liability with the bat as long as he's facing a right-handed pitcher. He's already signed and should move through the lower minors quickly before settling in as a shuttle catcher in the upper minors. DOB: 10/8/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
25. Josh Whitaker, 3B, Kennesaw State, #755 Overall, 6'3''/235, Not Rated: Whitaker was seen more as a first baseman coming out of Kennesaw, but the A's see him as a solid senior third base prospect with organizational piece upside. He has some pop, but he's not good at much else, and he's going to strike out a lot. He has already signed and will play in short-season ball this summer. DOB: 2/8/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
26. Jake Brown, LHP, Georgia Southern, #785 Overall, 6'2''/220, Not Rated: Brown is another senior pick, and he profiles as an organizational piece in the bullpen. He formerly played at Pitt CC  in North Carolina, which is where he became a little more known, but with below-average stuff and his age at 23, he's just a piece to watch in the short-term. DOB: 12/28/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.
27. Seth Frankoff, RHP, UNC Wilmington, #815 Overall, 6'5''/200, Not Rated: Frankoff was an unsuccessful starting piece at UNC Wilmington for three years before a largely successful transition to middle relief this spring. He has average stuff all around, and I like this pick a little more than the previous few bullpen pieces, as I think he has Major League reliever upside, though of the shuttle caliber. He's already signed, so we'll see if I'm right. DOB: 8/27/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
28. Ryan Pineda, 2B, Cal State Northridge, #845 Overall, 5'11''/180, Seiler Rating 3D6: I thought Pineda would go some twenty rounds earlier as a solid utility player with some pop and defensive tools, especially at second base. However, as a junior without big tools, he fell, and he's likely to return to school for his senior year, though I wouldn't put it past the club to give signing him a shot. DOB: 4/17/89.
29. Zach Hurley, OF, Ohio State, #875 Overall, 6'0''/200, Not Rated: Hurley is a solid senior bat that has shown production in his time at Ohio State, but his tools are short from becoming a true prospect. He was drafted late last year, but he's an organizational bat at the best, as his tools are just too short. He's already signed and should be a nice leader for the younger players in short-season leagues. DOB: 5/27/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
30. Jeff Urlaub, LHP, Grand Canyon (AZ), #905 Overall, 6'2''/160, Not Rated: I think Urlaub decided that he wanted to pitch at as many different possible places in college, so he did the whirlwind tour of four places in four years. He's a lefty specialist at best in the pros, and he's already 23, so this is an average pick in this range since he's already signed. DOB: 4/24/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
31. Aaron Judge, 1B, Linden HS (CA), #935 Overall, 6'7''/230, Seiler Rating 2C2: Judge was considered both a position prospect and a ptiching prospect, and I thought that if he got drafted early, it'd be as a pitcher. He fell due to his college commitment and a few questions about his bat, but he has plus power, a plus arm, and possible upside for a corner outfield spot. He won't be signing in this range, but he could absolutely explode over the next three years at college. DOB: 4/26/92. Commitment: Fresno State.
32. Todd McInnis, RHP, Southern Mississippi, #965 Overall, 6'1''/160, Seiler Rating 4D4: McInnis was a successful pitcher at Southern Miss, but he battled back problems through most of his career, and he strained his elbow late this spring. He fell nearly twenty rounds as a result, and I'd expect him to go back to school for his senior year, though he's already 22. DOB: 3/26/88.
33. Sean Murphy, RHP, Keystone (PA), #995 Overall, 6'6''/215, Not Rated: Murphy wasn't on my radar much, but he threw for a solid small college program, and he has nice pro size and fringe-average stuff. He fits in well as an organizational arm, and he's going to be signing right away. DOB: 8/23/88.
34. Aaron Larsen, RHP, Bethany (KS), #1025 Overall, 6'1''/190, Not Rated: Larsen was a two-way player in college, with shortstop his primary position, but the reason he was really on the radar of the A's was that he originally comes from Fallbrook, California. He's a little on the small side, and he has fringy stuff, so he's an organizational arm, but he should be a good arm for the short-season leagues, as he's already signed. DOB: 3/1/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.
35. Andrew Bailey, RHP, Concord (WV), #1055 Overall, 6'5''/215, Not Rated: Sharing a name with a decorated Oakland A means that this Andrew Bailey will be watched a little more than a typical 35th round pick. He has a nice arm, better than a typical 35th round pick, but he's still probably just a low minors arm for awhile. He signed already, so we'll see. DOB: 3/30/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.
36. Bobby Geren, 3B, San Ramon Valley HS (CA), #1085 Overall, 6'1''/185, Not Rated: If you read the name again here, you'll know why the A's made this pick. The son of manager Bob Geren, this Geren is short on tools, but maximizes his potential with hard-nosed, heady play. He's headed to Princeton, so he's obviously not going to sign. DOB: 5/28/91. Commitment: Princeton.
37. Daniel Petitti, C, North Georgia College and State, #1115 Overall, 6'1''/190, Not Rated: Petitti originally comes from the strong Roswell High program in Roswell, Georgia, and he's an example of how players with few tools can become good players with good teaching. He's the definition of a backup catcher with some defensive tools, and he's a nice late-round sign for short-season catching depth. DOB: 5/12/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
38. Mike Fabiaschi, 2B, James Madison, #1145 Overall, 5'11''/185, Not Rated: Fabiaschi is a solid middle infield depth prospect, as he's had four years of at-bats at a good program in James Madison. He doesn't have many tools, and he's a smaller guy without much strength, but he's a solid senior player that will fit well in a short-season team, having already signed. DOB: 8/17/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.
39. John Nester, C, Clemson, #1175 Overall, 6'1''/210, Not Rated: Nester is a defense-first catcher from Clemson who doesn't have a whole lot of experience. He fell from a possible top fifteen rounds selection due to that lack of experience, and he'd be better served returning to school for his senior year, which is inevitable in this spot. DOB: 5/28/89.
40. Andrew Smith, RHP, Roswell HS (GA), #1205 Overall, 6'1''/185, Seiler Rating 2C2: Smith is a polished prep righty who showed three Major League quality pitches at times, but he was always considered a very tough sign due to a strong college commitment. He fell as a result, and he's a high-level follow for the next three years at UNC. DOB: 11/5/91. Commitment: North Carolina.
41. Andrew Knapp, C, Granite Bay HS (CA), #1235 Overall, 6'1''/175, Seiler Rating 2C1: Knapp was a late riser up draft boards in the back half of the spring, but he fell due to his strong college commitment. He's a NorCal prospect, so I see the Oakland attraction, and his strong bat and arm could make him an early selection in 2013. DOB: 11/9/91. Commitment: California.
42. Louie Lechich, LHP, St. Mary's HS (CA), #1265 Overall, 6'4''/200, Not Rated: Lechich is a tall, projectable NorCal arm that was also selected here due to geography more than real chances of signing him. He also has a decent bat, and he's slated to be a solid producer immediately at Cal. DOB: 11/19/91. Commitment: California.
43. Spencer Haynes, SS, Brandon HS (FL), #1295 Overall, 5'10''/160, Not Rated: Haynes got a lot of attention due to being the teammate of Roderick "Rock" Shoulders at Brandon High, but it was deserved, as he flashes enough tools to be an interesting follow. He was a late commit to UCF, so keep his name in mind for the next three years. DOB: 3/15/92. Commitment: Central Florida.
44. Lonnie Kauppila, SS, Burbank HS (CA), #1325 Overall, 6'1''/170, Seiler Rating 3C1: Kauppila is a smooth player that has a great bat and smooth fielding instincts, though his toolset fits better at second base than shortstop. However, he's likely to be a nice college shortstop, and he could go in the top three rounds in three years. DOB: 1/17/92. Commitment: Stanford.
45. Krey Bratsen, OF, Bryan HS (TX), #1355 Overall, 6'1''/165, Seiler Rating 3B1: Bratsen has huge tools, but he fell from a possible early pick due to a strong college commitment and the fact that he's going to be a nice football player for the Aggies, as well. He's a plus-plus runner, plus-plus thrower, and a plus fielder, making him very, very attractive for the future. He'll be draft-eligible again after his sophomore year in 2012, so watch him closely. DOB: 6/12/91. Commitment: Texas A&M.
46. Tyler Skulina, RHP, Walsh Jesuit HS (OH), #1385 Overall, 6'5''/252, Seiler Rating 4C1: Skulina is a large-framed individual who struggled with elbow and back issues through high school. He has enough stuff to be a #3 starter eventually, but his strong college commitment and health issues dropped him here, where he won't be signing. DOB: 9/18/91. Commitment: Virginia.
47. Troy McClendon, OF, Fullerton JC (CA), #1415 Overall, 6'3''/180, Not Rated: McClendon has some tools to work with, but he simply hasn't produced in two years at Fullerton College, which is why he was well below my radar. He's finished two years at Fullerton, so he could move on to a four year school with a late commitment this summer. DOB: 9/1/90.
48. Zach Johnson, 1B, Ohlone JC (CA), #1445 Overall, 5'11''/200, Not Rated: Johnson played on the left side of the infield at Ohlone, though he didn't really do it very well. As someone that turns 22 today, there isn't much upside here, but he has a commitment to a great NAIA school, so I don't expect him to sign. DOB: 6/16/88. Commitment: Lewis-Clark State.
49. Nick Rosso, OF, Lincoln HS (CA), #1475 Overall, 6'1''/180, Not Rated: Rosso forced his way onto the prospect scene as a senior due to big production in Northern California, though he's simply a late-round follow. He hasn't committed to a school as far as I know yet, but it should be interesting. DOB: 3/3/91.
50. T.J. Walz, RHP, Kansas, #1505 Overall, 6'0''/175, Seiler Rating 2C3: Walz was on the top of my list for picks in day three of the draft, but he told all teams that he wanted to return to school for his senior year. He has solid stuff that could fit as a #4 starter or setup man, and you should follow him as a possibility for the top senior arm next year. DOB: 11/21/88.

 

Now that you have writeups on each of their 50 picks, let's talk about why I gave the A's a Grade B for their draft. To begin, I want to say that I like their first three picks quite a bit. The combination of Choice, Cabrera, and Shipman give them three great athletes with potential impact bats and gloves, and even though they're each risky in their own way, at least one should become an above-average Major League regular. Cabrera stands out as having the highest ceiling of the bunch, but he's also the biggest bust rate guy, and I wonder why he fell so far given the other options on the table for a few teams before the A's. The payout could absolutely be big, but there are questions about his bat and glove to be answered. Beyond those first three picks, I start to feel a little less sure about their class. I'm not high on Chad Lewis, as I said in the writeup, and I think it's more intuitive than for any real reason, as he gets good scouting grades on a regular basis. The one thing I particularly dislike about this draft class is that there is not a single signable arm I see as having an impact. They're all bullpen arms, including Vail, and none have a ceiling higher than an 8th inning piece. It reminds me in a way of the Mariners' 2009 class, as they also didn't take an arm until the 5th round. It just annoys me that the A's didn't stick with the strength of this class, which was college arms, and I know that teams with long histories of successful drafting typically stick to the strengths of the draft. I know the A's jumped on opportunities in the first three rounds, but arms are important, even when your minor league depth is strong, as that depth can be thinned out in months, much less years. So even though I like the first three picks in this class, I can't grade it up, because they didn't really draft with balance. They're going to get some good high-end offensive talent from their early picks, but the lack of pitching really hurts this class in the long run.

 

What do you think of the Athletics' draft?