A's need arms, but may surprise with picks

Oakland has options at Draft, including righty Johnson, infielder Jones

June 3rd, 2019

OAKLAND -- and , both first-round selections by the A’s, are prime examples of how the Draft can change the outlook of an organization. The American League Gold Glove Award winners are now viewed as cornerstones of the franchise, and now the club is in search of the next homegrown star to join them.

The 2019 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 41 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, mock Drafts from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the A’s, whose first selection is No. 29 overall.

In about 50 words

The A’s have managed to lock down their corner-infield spots in recent years, and now they’d like to do the same with the outfield. They were hoping Kyler Murray would be the center fielder of the future, but the two-sport star chose to play in the NFL, drafted No. 1 overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Austin Beck, selected No. 6 overall two years ago, could end the revolving-door trend that's been happening over the years at a couple of outfield spots, but the A’s could still use some more outfield depth.

What they’re saying

“Every Draft is different and is dictated, obviously, by where you pick, and more recently, the size of your pool. Picking 29th overall and having one of the smaller pools makes this one a little more challenging than others, but we know that big leaguers come from all over the Draft and [scouting director] Eric [Kubota] and his staff have worked hard to identify the best players all spring.” -- A’s general manager David Forst, on the organizational approach to the Draft

Who might they take?

In their latest mock Drafts, Mayo and Callis appear to be split on the direction in which the A’s might go in the first round. Mayo has Oakland selecting Campbell University pitcher Seth Johnson, a former shortstop who is considered to have premium early-round stuff. Callis is projecting the A’s to take UNC Wilmington shortstop Greg Jones, who hit .343 during his 2019 season and is considered to have top-of-the-scale speed.

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the A’s have a pool of $5,605,900 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $2,424,600 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
and are the top two prospects in the organization, but they’re two of just three left-handed pitchers on the A's Top 30 list. Oakland will look to land the best player available early on, but the club will need to find more southpaws to add some depth throughout the system.

Trend watch
The A’s have selected college players with their top pick in four of their past five Drafts, and that trend is likely to continue, as the club often favors more experienced players who are advanced in their development, whether they're pitchers or position players.

Recent top picks
2018: Kyler Murray, OF (did not report)
2017: Austin Beck, CF (Class A Advanced Stockton)
2016: A.J. Puk, LHP (Tommy John surgery; expected back in 2019)
2015: , SS (Orioles)
2014: Matt Chapman, 3B (A’s)