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Oakland A's: Mock on the clock

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MinorLeagueBall's annual community mock draft is coming up in eight days. Let's take a superfluously specific look at what our Oakland A's drafter might have in store at #6.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, we looked at how the top 5 picks of the annual MinorLeagueBall mock might shake out.

Since virtual GM's plans are laid out in the open in the form of MODs, we can spy on those and also look at the pick through a team identity/philosophical lens.

On to the A's...

1.6) Athletics - guessatomoMOD 1

2015 A's - RHP Walker Buehler (1.20)

2015 A's - 3B Trey Cabbage (2.63)

2014 A's - OF Derek Hill (1.25)

2014 A's - LHP Alex Verdugo (2.65)

2013 A's - OF Phil Ervin (1.24)

2013 A's - LHP Garrett Williams (2.63)

Oakland drafter guessatomo is a seasoned mock veteran and will be manning his Swingin' A's for the fourth consecutive year.

'Tomo's approach in the past is best described as value-based with a willingness to mix in athletic prep players in the meat of the draft. His work at the back-end of the early rounds is nice to know, but with the A's holding a premium pick this year, it will be more instructive to look at what's in play at 6 by creeping on his informative initial MOD.

Though the post is over two weeks old, its popularity among the Green and Gold faithful leaves us with a number of thoughts, lists, and resources that provide the thinking behind Oakland's first pick. We should be able to construct a reasonable facsimile of their current board:

  • Jason Groome
  • Riley Pint
  • Delvin Perez
  • Corey Ray
  • Mickey Moniak
  • Nick Senzel
  • Blake Rutherford
  • Dakota Hudson
It's true that everything revolving this draft seems to be up in the air, so it feels good to finally declare some certainty: Oakland would really like to come away with a starting-caliber outfielder with this pick.

That old draft axiom that mandates prioritizing talent over need surely has its place, but running the ship in Oakland is quite a different animal. Their ideal development model entails schooling their young guys to become 5-6 year contributors for the big club at bargain-rate salaries before those players leave for pastures both greener and golden-er.

For the Oakland farm, the need for quality outfielders stands well above anything else. To wit: their preseason top 20 on these electronic pages indicate a downright glut of viable infielders, several intriguing arms, but no one (other than possible corner guy Matt Olson) to roam the spacious OF at O dot Co. Shortstop starlet Franklin Barreto was given some outfield reps in winter ball, but the preferred outcome for the team's #1 prospect is to improve the glovework as he climbs the upper levels and stay at his natural position.

With the knowledge that our A's mock drafter is very much in tune with the farm system - and his top three players already off the board - I'd expect guessatomo to be on the clock deciding between those final five names on his list. Ray, Moniak, Senzel, Rutherford, Dakota Hudson.

Since Billy Beane's first draft on the job in '98, the team has amassed a stupefying 34 "first-round" picks, a number that (per wikipedia) includes compensation and supplementals. The A's went the college route on 29 of those occasions, including a 10-year stretch between '02-'11 which saw them pop 23 straight collegians with their #1/comp/supp. selections. EVP of Baseball Ops Beane and first-year GM David Forst simply don't play around with these picks, always tending towards the safe route and nabbing guys that have a track record against advanced NCAA competition.

Corey Ray fits the A's mold to a T; if he's available, he's the pick whether we're talking 'Tomo's mock draft or the IRL Oakland war room. The ACC All-American has no discernible holes in his game and though the arm isn't a standout tool, it's going to play fine in center where his 70 speed will allow him to cover the vast real estate in the current* home stadium.

Perfect Game's initial mock (subscrip needed for the entirety) alludes to the muscle mass Ray has been able to add since arriving on campus. He's been putting it to practice without sacrificing any facet of his all-around game: the Louisville product has improved on his stellar soph campaign with an uptick in power and walks while depressing his strikeout rate considerably. He's also a pristine 37-37 on the basepaths in 2016.

A perfectly plausible scenario for Oakland is that the top 5 pick-holders are understandably enamored with the triple digit heat and knee-buckling breaking stuff that's in play up top. If that comes to pass, both the literal and virtual A's front office would be thrilled to quench their thirst for mitigating risk in the draft by taking the safest thing in it.

The pick: A's select OF Corey Ray, Louisville