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Comp picks yield value in prep ranks for A's

OAKLAND -- Though the A's go about the Draft just as any other team, opting for overall ability rather than focusing on organizational needs, their first three picks Monday appear to nicely fit the latter mold.

After selecting prep shortstop Addison Russell with the 11th overall pick in the first round, the A's snatched up high school infielders Daniel Robertson (No. 34) and Matt Olson (No. 47) in the supplemental round that followed as compensation for Josh Willingham and David DeJesus.

It marks the first time the A's selected a high school athlete with their first three picks since 1978, when they drafted Mike Morgan and Tim Conroy in the first round and Keith Atherton in the second round.

"It's different," A's scouting director Eric Kubota said smiling, "but I've told you guys every year that we like high school guys. You don't seem to believe me, but now, see? I told you."

Robertson played three years at third base at the varsity level in high school before making the switch to shortstop his senior season to help out his team at Upland High School in Southern California. Kubota said the A's will likely keep him at shortstop for the time being but noted that "if he does have to go to third base, he has the chance to be a plus defender there."

The biggest gain, though, is his bat.

"His standout tool is his bat, just a very, very advanced high school bat," Kubota said. "He's got strength and power. We really, really like his bat."

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Robertson posted a .560 average and .696 on-base percentage to go along with 36 RBIs, 41 runs and eight stolen bases as a senior. He tallied six home runs and 18 extra-base hits and has a scholarship to UCLA to consider.

Olson, meanwhile, is a first baseman with a left-handed power bat from Parkview High School in Georgia. The Vanderbilt recruit, whose 6-foot-4 frame weighs in at 236 pounds, can hit for both average and power. He hit .353 with a .421 on-base percentage during his senior season.

"For us, one of the best high school bats in the country -- just a very skilled hitter with strength, and the power's going to come as he gets bigger and stronger," Kubota said. "We really feel good about his bat. We saw him hit home runs off two first-round pitchers this year."

Oakland's depth at both first base and on the left side of the infield has lacked in recent years, making sense of the A's choices despite their typical desire to draft college players.

"We really did not draft for need," Kubota said, "but there is certainly value to middle-of-the-diamond players."

Oakland Athletics