OAKLAND -- There wasn’t one specific area of need the A’s were targeting in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. What general manager David Forst and his scouting team were in search of was an “impact player,” and they believe they found one in Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson.
No. 29 was the latest first-round pick the A's have had this century, and in Davidson, they get a switch-hitter who slashed .291/.574/.412 as a junior with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Davidson adds some depth to the A’s MLB Pipeline Top 30 list, which currently features five shortstops, including Jorge Mateo at No. 8.
“We’re extremely excited that Logan was available when we made our selection,” A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said. “He’s a two-way shortstop that is able to contribute offensively at a premium position and we’re looking forward to seeing him in green and gold.”
While the A’s were not necessarily looking to make up for their wasted first-round pick from 2018 in Kyler Murray -- who, after being selected No. 9 overall, elected to play in the NFL after he was taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year -- Forst and Co. knew they needed to add a prospect with the potential to move through the farm system pretty quickly.
“You can’t say that you don’t feel the hole in the system of going a year without a first-round pick, but it doesn’t change our process,” Forst said. “We can’t try to double down and make up for not having a 2018 first-rounder. But you look at the system and where a first-rounder might be, it’s impossible not to notice that you don’t have a first-round pick out there on the field.”
Listed at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Davidson is considered to have above-average arm strength, which should allow him to stick at his natural position. He was previously selected in the 30th round of the 2016 Draft by the Phillies out of Providence High School, where he was named the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.
Throughout their amateur careers, young players tend to look at big league stars and try to take something from their games to implement into their own, and Davidson is no different.
“I guess one of them would be Christian Yelich from the left side,” Davidson said when asked about players he models his game after. “I kind of mimic him a little bit. I always like to watch Mike Trout. He’s one of the best players in the game and fun to watch. Definitely take stuff from his swing. Those are the top two. Corey Seager is another guy. Those are some of the guys off the top of my head.”
His father, Mark, played six seasons in the Major Leagues as an outfielder with the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros.
Though his father was a big leaguer, the game was never forced on him. In fact, Logan actually had to ask for permission from his father in order to use the batting cage that was built in their barn in North Carolina.
He didn’t like to put pressure on me,” Davidson said. “I would have to ask him to go hit. I think that’s the best way to do it. That way I didn’t get burned out. It was always put on me, which I think is the perfect way to do it.”
First-round picks often have a fast track to the Majors, but Davidson isn’t putting an estimation on his arrival to Oakland. He’s ready to grind through the Minors like the rest of his fellow prospects, and make his mark in the big leagues when the organization believes the time is right.
“I’m not putting a timetable on it,” Davidson said. “Stick to the process and everything will take care of itself, I’ll take that route. If I keep doing what I’m doing and continue to grow, I think everything will take care of itself.”
Oakland selected pitcher Tyler Baum with its 66th pick, a right-hander out of North Carolina with a fastball that has been clocked around the 91-94 mph range to go with an 81-85 mph changeup. Baum posted a 3.95 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 25 walks over 86 2/3 innings pitched in 2019.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.