A's likely eyeing polished talent to replenish system
Oakland expected to draft college-level players that have potential to help soon
OAKLAND -- The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday, June 8, through Wednesday, June 10, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the A's, whose first selection is the 20th overall pick.
In about 50 words
A's scouting director Eric Kubota and his team are putting the finishing touches on "The Board," which features a list of players they have recognized as potential picks in the early going of the Draft, ultimately easing the selection process.
It's no secret the A's farm system is rather depleted at the moment, following a bevy of trades in recent years that have resulted in the departure of several top prospects, including a pair of shortstops in Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson and outfielder Billy McKinney. Oakland made a conscious decision last year to restock its pitching depth, selecting seven pitchers among the team's first 10 picks, but drafting for system needs is often trumped by drafting for the best player available. Expect the A's to do just that, likely with a focus on polished collegiate players that can help them sooner rather than later.
There is little consensus throughout the first round, and this Draft class appears to be lacking the type of high-ceiling talent that has headlined previous years' classes. By the time the A's are on the clock, much of the premium pitching talent will be off the board, so look for them to select a bat. MLB.com's experts have linked Oakland to collegiate outfielders Ian Happ and Donnie Dewees and prep bats Chris Betts (catcher) and Cornelius Randolph (shortstop).
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 $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to 5 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.
The A's have been assigned a pool of $5,444,100, which ranks 24th in the Majors. The value assigned to Oakland's first-round pick is $2,214,000.
Organizational holes aren't typically the No. 1 priority in the Draft, at least in the early stages, since needs are always changing because of injuries, promotions and trades, among other factors. Taking the best available player trumps all, and the A's are thin in most all areas at the Minor League level.
Long keen on college players, Oakland bucked that trend in 2012, when five of its first seven picks came from the high school level. The A's also used their first pick of the '13 Draft to pick a prep player, before returning to their old ways last year, using each of their first five picks on collegiate talent.
RECENT DRAFT HISTORY
First baseman Matt Olson, still just 21 after being drafted by Oakland in the first round (47th overall) in the 2012 Draft, could be a big league regular as soon as 2016. Olson slugged 37 home runs at Class A Advanced Stockton last year and has routinely led Double-A Midland in home runs, walks and RBIs this year.
In The Show
Pitchers Sean Doolittle and Sonny Gray and infielder Max Muncy are the only players from the past five A's Draft classes in the Majors at the moment, though right-hander A.J. Griffin is expected back soon after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The A's recent top picks
2014: Matt Chapman, 3B, Class A Advanced Stockton
2013: McKinney, OF, Double-A Tennessee (Chicago Cubs)
2012: Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs
2011: Gray, RHP, Oakland A's
2010: Michael Choice, OF, Triple-A Round Rock (Texas Rangers)