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Prospect Report: Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Oakland Athletics

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Nolan Sanburn
Nolan Sanburn
Bruce Thorson, USA Today Sports

One of my favorite pitchers from the 2012 draft was Nolan Sanburn, drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics. Current buzz about him from the fall is quite good, and here is my current take and grade.

Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 205 DOB: July 21, 1991

Sanburn was drafted in the second round last June from the University of Arkansas, 74th overall, signing slightly above slot for $710,000. He has one of the best arms in the draft and might have gone late in the first round some years, or at least in the supplemental. Although not a tall guy, he's a well-built athlete with a quick arm, showing a 93-99 MPH fastball. He experimented with several secondary pitches in college, including a hard curve, a slower curve, a slider, a cutter, and a changeup. All of them show potential, and while he was used mostly as a reliever for the Razorbacks, the Athletics intend to develop him as a starter. Although that might slow down his progression a bit, I think it makes sense. Sanburn has a wide range of possible outcomes, from number two starter if everything maxes out, to inning-eater, to power closer, to middle reliever. Grade B- with higher potential.

It will be interesting to see how aggressive Oakland is with him this spring: do they assign him to Low-A or High-A? Will he be on a pitch count? Etc.

With the Athletics system thinned out by graduations and recent trades, Sanburn should be one of the top stories to watch in 2013.