Oakland A's Mock Draft: Last-Minute Picks and Predictions
The 2014 MLB amateur draft begins on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. ET. Over the course of three days and 40 rounds, over 1,000 players could potentially be selected by the 30 organizations.
The Oakland A's have the 25th pick.
With 40 picks and thousands of talented young men to choose from, it's nearly impossible to accurately predict the draft. Instead, this post will do the work for you, seeking out multiple other "expert" mock drafts and keying in on Oakland's first pick only.
Before getting to those mock drafts, however, the one true expert when it comes to the draft is Eric Kubota, the A's director of scouting. Kubota has held the position for 13 years, so if anyone knows what the A's will do, it's him. Jane Lee of MLB.com spent some time with Kubota, who said himself that "the farther you go down, the harder it is to know in all the picks ahead of you." Lee also wrote:
The A's certainly haven't shied away from high school bats, and in his latest mock Draft, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo had Oakland taking prep third baseman Michael Chavis, who is considered to be capable of one day moving behind the plate. It's his bat that's drawing plenty attention. At the same time, this is considered to be a pitching-rich Draft class, so don't be surprised if the A's go in that direction.
So right off the bat, we have Kubota saying that knowing how the draft will play out is impossible and an MLB writer who won't be surprised if the A's go pitching or infield.
Here's what the rest have to say...
Bleacher Report's 1st-Round Prediction
Featured Columnist Adam Wells has the A's taking third baseman Michael Chavis in the first round.
Wells states that because the A's have taken a high school player in the last two consecutive drafts, the trend will continue. Wells says, "Georgia prep star Michael Chavis is the best value still on the board. He has all the makings of an above-average big league third baseman..."
The A's currently have Renato Nunez as the top third-basemen prospect. Beyond him, there isn't much in terms of third base, although if Addison Russell eventually switches, he could be the guy long-term.
Oakland balked at taking high school players for years, so it'd be a little bit surprising to see a third high school player taken in three years. But Wells sees it happening that way.
MLB.com's 1st-Round Prediction
Jim Callis of MLB.com also sees the A's taking a high school player. But this time, it's outfielder Monte Harrison from Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri.
The logic here, according to Callis, is that the A's are linked to another high school player—Ti-Quan Forbes—but that Harrison is simply the better prospect. Hence, if the A's want a top-tier high school player, Harrison has more value on the table if both prospects are available.
Callis also points to Derek Hill of Elk Grove (California) High School.
Hill could be an interesting pick just based on locale alone—Elk Grove is an hour-and-a-half away from Oakland and 30 minutes away from the Single-A Stockton Ports. Hill is predicted to go ahead of both Forbes and Harrison, however.
After just two mock drafts, it seems clear there is less of a dilemma to choose a high school player.
Of the three here, Hill sounds like he'll be gone by the 25th pick. And if the A's are linked to a third baseman (Wells' prediction in the slide prior), then an infielder seems the more likely route. I'd guess they'll stick with their link to Forbes over taking Harrison in this particular case.
However, stockpiling outfield prospects is necessary. If not now, then the A's must pluck a bunch next year.
ChicagoNow.com's 1st-Round Prediction
Now you may be thinking: "this is an Oakland mock draft, so why take a Chicago site into consideration?"
John Arguello of ChicagoNow.com accumulated the opinions of 10 writers, including a few from Baseball Prospectus, one from ESPN, multiple sources who focus on the draft each year and a former MLB scout.
The A's pick here is UNLV right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde.
First and foremost, you can never have too many pitchers in your system. Second, the A's clearly love pitching. Every year they seem to have a stockpile of guys just in case, and they make household names out of guys as well, from A.J. Griffin to Dan Straily, Jesse Chavez to Tyson Ross.
Arguello's first line screams Oakland as well: "If not for the Tommy John surgery, Fedde wouldn't be available here. When healthy, he was sitting 91-94, up from last year, and touching higher."
That's what the A's do: They snag guys who others won't touch because of injury.
Sporting News' 1st-Round Prediction
The first thing that jumps out about Ryan Fagan's May 19 mock draft at Sporting News is that he has the Houston Astros selecting Carlos Rodon. Why is this special? Because every single other mock draft had Brady Aiken as the hands-down best prospect, while Fagan has him going third overall.
But Fagan also has Erick Fedde, Monte Harrison and Michael Chavis going right before the A's pick at 25.
Instead, the pick for Oakland here is Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost. Here's what Fagan said:
The best true catching prospect in the draft, Pentecost is a good value pick for the Athletics at this spot. If he’s still here, that is. He has the tools to warrant a spot in the top 15, should another team decide to take someone at this position.
Looking at the organization's depth, it wouldn't seem like the A's need a catcher. Derek Norris is young and should spend years with the A's, assuming he's healthy and producing. But after Norris and prospect Bruce Maxwell—23 years old and in Single-A—it's slim pickings.
The A's could use depth here.
Baseball America's 1st-Round Prediction
Baseball America is seen as an authority when it comes to draft prospects and the minor leagues. That's because they've done their homework, revising their mock draft four times as of this writing. However, John Manuel has linked Oakland to three different players in four attempts.
First it was Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie. Then it was Chavis, twice.
Now it's Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino.
Two things are worth noting. One is that Manuel now has Chavis going two picks later to the St. Louis Cardinals; all other players on this list (in prior slides) are taken before the A's pick in this mock draft. Lastly, the A's selected Blandino out of high school in 2011.
Depth at third base may not be a priority, but they clearly know this kid well if they had their eye on him three years ago.
MLB Draft Insider's 1st-Round Prediction
Chris Crawford of MLBDraftInsider.com agrees with those who liked shortstop Ti'Quan Forbes or outfielder Monte Harrison.
Crawford predicts that the A's will take whoever is available at the 25th pick, but if both are still there, Oakland will go with Forbes.
According to Perfect Game, Forbes has plenty of power potential from the shortstop position. He's committed to Mississippi already, so there's a chance he doesn't sign.
But as a first-round draft pick, it's likely he'd sign.
Scout.com's 1st-Round Prediction
Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel also sees the A's selecting Ti'Quan Forbes.
McDaniel had fantastic insight on which A's executives are visiting which scouts:
Oakland has been the subject of some rumors this spring, with the owner showing up to see Cal Poly lefty Matt Imhof, GM Billy Beane showing up to see Ti'Quan Forbes and multiple high level execs in to see Monte Harrison and Michael Chavis. Forbes fits best at this pick and is a big athlete with feel to hit, but an unsure positional fit.
In addition to Forbes, here's one more mock draft that links the A's to Harrison and Chavis.
More 1st-Round Predictions and Final Thoughts
A few late additions appeared as of June 3. Here are a few more:
USA Today: Michael Chavis
Bleacher Report's Tyler Brooke: Monte Harrison
Sports Illustrated: Erick Fedde
Swingin' A's: Ti'Quan Forbes
For those of you who kept track, it appears the A's are most likely destined to select either Michael Chavis, Monte Harrison, Ti'Quan Forbes or Erick Fedde. In order, Forbes' and Chavis' names appear the most often, with Harrison next and Fedde the least frequent of the bunch.
It's also worth noting that if you look at each of these dozen mock drafts, all of the players mentioned are clearly first-round picks. In mocks that have the A's picking Harrison, for example, it's most likely that the same draft sees the likes of Fedde, Chavis and Forbes going earlier.
Ultimately, it seems that whoever is available will be picked. But who do they go with if all four are there?
The A's just went outfield in 2013 and shortstop in 2012. Unless a pitcher is going to be Sonny Gray, it's easier to wait until a later round (even if that means Round 2).
By default, the final prediction here is going to be Michael Chavis. Adding a bit more depth in the organization at third base is smart in case Renato Nunez doesn't pan out as Josh Donaldson's future heir.