Thursday, June 7, 2012

A's Get a Little of Everything in the Draft

We talked a bit about the top Giants draftees over at The Giants Baseball Blog a few days ago, and today, I wanted to talk a bit about the A's top picks, as they had a few first round/compensation selections and looked to have cashed in.

As always, you never quite know what you get in the MLB Draft until the players take the field and start playing for their respective organizations, but the A's had 5 picks in the top-100, and used them wisely. Here's a brief player capsule on each of their 5 five picks.

Russell Can Do It All
#11) Addison Russell, 3B; Pace HS, FLA: Russell was one of the top-3 prep bats to come out in this years class, and since the A's have had trouble producing quality hitters in recent years, it really didn't surprise me that they took a stick with their top overall pick. Russell is a very good athlete who played short in high school, but most believe his future is at 3rd base. He's got the bat for it, and he's a plus defender with a cannon arm. He kind of reminds me a bit of Pablo Sandoval with his size, and his ability to hit everything in the strike zone. One thing the A's will work with him on is being patient and staying back, but this kid looks like the real deal and the A's have to be ecstatic with this selection. He's just 18, so he's probably got a few years of seasoning to do before being big league ready, but he's got the tools to move through Oakland's system quickly.

#34) Daniel Robertson, SS; Upland HS, CA: Again, the A's had a clear need to add some potential starting MLB bats in this draft, and they did just that with both Russell, and their 2nd pick, Robertson. Both Robertson and Russell played SS in high school, but Robertson has more of a chance to stick there as a pro. He's got the intangibles you look for in a shortstop, plus he was one of the best prep hitters in the draft. He's not as powerful as Russell, but you won't find too many prep bats that hit for a better average and played as important role for his team than Robertson. A lot of scouts had him going in the first round, so it's almost like the A's came out with two first round infielders with these top-two selections.

#47) Matt Olson, 1B; Parkview HS, GA: Olson was both an impact hitter and pitcher in high school in Georgia, but he was drafted with the intent on making him a first basemen. He's got a smooth left-handed stroke which the ball just jumps off of. He's got the ability to hit for plus power at the next level and should carry a decent average with it. This one was a bit surprising, as he wasn't even in a lot of the top-100 prospect lists, but after doing some research, I can see why the A's like the 6'4" 235 pound slugger.

#62) Bruce Maxwell, C; Birmingham Southern: This was the real head-scratcher for me. There were a lot of nice prospects on the board, better catchers even, but the A's obviously liked something about Maxwell. He's a good receiver and a terrific defender, but it seems like his defensive skills may be ahead of his hitting right now. Again, I don't know enough about him to deem this a bad pick, but at 62, you'd expect to get someone with a little more clout and track record, however, they really made up for it with their 5th selection.

Sanburn a Possible Ace Closer!
#74) Nolan Sanburn, RHP, Arkansas: The A's got lucky with this one here. Sanburn was one of the higher thought off relievers in this draft, and many thought he'd come off the board in the first round. He had success as closer for Arkansas, and I doubt the A's have plans on moving him from the bullpen. His fastball sits in the mid-90's with regularity with the ability to add a few mph when needed. Plus, with two college seasons under his belt, and being a relief pitcher, he appears to be the pick with the quickest track to the bigs. The A's dealt their star young closer Andrew Bailey before the season, and they've likely found his long-term replacement in this touted flame-thrower. 

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