A's disappointed to get 6th pick in Draft Lottery

December 7th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The A’s were optimistic heading into Tuesday night’s inaugural MLB Draft Lottery. In addition to being tied for best odds to land the top pick, general manager David Forst sported his lucky shoes and green socks. But ultimately, the ping pong balls did not fall their way.

Despite finishing 2022 with the second-worst record in baseball, which in years prior would have guaranteed them the second overall pick, the A’s came away from the lottery with the No. 6 overall selection for the 2023 MLB Draft. Of the three clubs (A’s, Nationals, Pirates) with a 16.5 percent chance at landing pick No. 1, Oakland was the only team to fall out of the top three. Pittsburgh landed the top selection, while Washington received the No. 2 overall pick.

In the days leading up to the Draft Lottery, Forst had run Tankathon, a program that provides mock Draft Lottery simulations, a countless amount of times. The average determined that the chance of landing a pick outside of the top three was somewhere between 3 percent and 4 percent. So as A’s front-office members viewed the result while watching from their suite, silence came over the room.

“That was disappointing,” Forst said. “I’m not sure there’s another word to put on it.”

The impact of this outcome will certainly be felt in terms of bonus-pool allocation. Per Forst’s calculations, the difference in bonus-pool money between the sixth and first pick is roughly $3 million.

“That’s a significant difference,” Forst said. “We had planned on picking first. The biggest impact at any point in the Draft is the size of your Draft pool. It affects what you can do all the way through the 20 rounds. Not to mention the access to the first five players that you want. There’s a long way to go until the Draft. We’ll figure it out. But we were hoping for better results.”

Whether second or sixth, the A’s know the strong need to capitalize on such a high pick by finding a player who can make an impact in the near future, particularly for a club that is going through a rebuild. They have missed in their previous two forays into the top-10 section of the MLB Draft, selecting current NFL quarterback Kyler Murray ninth overall in 2018 and taking Austin Beck, an outfielder who has struggled to produce past Double-A, sixth overall in 2017.

Per MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo, LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander and Indiana high school outfielder Max Clark rank as the top three Draft prospects for 2023. Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford and Grand Canyon shortstop Jacob Wilson are others who Mayo believes could go somewhere in the top six.

“We’ve learned how important it is to hit on that pick,” Forst said. “You see the impact on the entire farm system of not having a first-round pick that moves as you projected. Kyler is the extreme example because we didn’t have a player at all. You sort of look at our other first-round picks over the past decade, no matter where they were in the first round, and you see the impact it has on the health of your overall system.”

A’s reach deal with Jace Peterson

Improving the offense is high atop the list of goals for the A’s this offseason, and they appear to have found one potential option.

Utility man reached an agreement with the A’s on a two-year deal, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed the deal.

Peterson, 32, fits the mold of the type of player the A’s covet with his versatility, having played every position except catcher over his nine big league seasons. Having spent the previous three seasons with the Brewers, Peterson slashed .238/.337/.373 with 16 home runs, 26 doubles, 70 RBIs and 23 stolen bases over 232 games.

The majority of Peterson’s time with Milwaukee in 2022 came at third base, a position which figures to be up for grabs for the A’s come Spring Training. However, his multi-positional abilities also make him an ideal replacement for super utility man Chad Pinder, who entered this offseason as Oakland’s lone free agent.

Asked about the reported signing, Forst chose not to comment specifically on Peterson, though he did indicate that the club is looking for players who can play multiple positions.

“As we look at the position player group, I think we’re putting a premium on versatility,” Forst said. “In general, we’re looking to make this team better in the big leagues.”