Collegians prominent throughout A’s Draft

P/OF Smith and P Dicochea notable prep selections

June 6th, 2019

OAKLAND -- Given the A’s knack for discovering and developing talent, at least two or three members from their 2019 Draft class can be expected to make an impact as Major League performers.

However, management isn’t dropping any hints regarding which selections from this year’s draft, which concluded Wednesday, ultimately will distinguish themselves.

Asked which draftees might be particularly close to reaching the Majors, A’s general manager David Forst said in an email reply, “Impossible to know. You always have hopes for certain guys to move through the system quickly, but we'll have to see how they respond once they're in pro ball.”

Given that the A’s picked 29th in the first round and 27th in subsequent rounds due to their glittering 97-65 record last year, Forst expressed satisfaction with the A’s haul overall.

“We're very happy with the group of 40 players we've drafted,” Forst said. “Our staff was faced with more of a challenge than usual considering the late pick in the first round and the relatively small draft pool we were working with, and I think [scouting director] Eric [Kubota] and his group did a fantastic job identifying players over the course of the spring.”

Oakland selected 19 college pitchers, 16 college position players, four high school position players and one high school pitcher. Of the position players, 10 were infielders, six were outfielders and four were catchers. The preponderance of collegians wasn’t necessarily unusual for the A’s, Forst said.

Nor did the A’s concentrate primarily on filling a particular positional void within the organization.

“We didn't go into this with any needs or specific goals,” Forst said. “I'm confident we've added a lot of talent to the organization over the last three days.”

Forst said that third-round pick Marcus Smith of Pembroke Hill (Mo.) High School, who was billed as a pitcher and outfielder, will concentrate solely on playing outfield if he signs with the A’s.

That leaves eighth rounder Jose Dicochea of Sahuarita (Ariz.) High School as the lone prep pitcher the A’s drafted. Oakland has high hopes for the 6-foot-3, 180 pounder.

“Dicochea has a live arm and a frame that projects to get bigger as he develops,” Forst said. “We believe he can be developed as a starter who already has three pitches [fastball, curveball, changeup].”

As is the case with every team, the A’s will have to compete against colleges who already have coaxed commitments from their draftees. Dicochea and Smith have committed to the University of Arizona and the University of Michigan, respectively.

Among the A’s more intriguing selections was Harvard first baseman Patrick McColl, Oakland’s 10th-round pick who was raised in the Bay Area (Los Altos, Calif.). Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 215 pounds, McColl possesses a legitimate athletic pedigree. He’s the son of former NFL and Stanford University linebacker Milt McColl, who won two Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers. The younger McColl compiled a slash line of .387/.448/.707 with 47 RBIs and a team-high 12 homers this year.

“Patrick had a great senior season. He distinguished himself as more than just a ‘senior sign,’ said Forst, who is a Harvard graduate himself.