A's optimistic about college-heavy Draft haul
OAKLAND -- The A's wrapped up the 2015 Draft feeling the same way they always do: optimistic.
But there was an added sense of excitement in the Draft room this time.
"As we always say at the end of the Draft, we're really happy with it," said A's scouting director Eric Kubota. "But I really, truly believe that we got players we kind of didn't expect to be in play on."
Exhibit A: third-round pick Dakota Chalmers, a hard-throwing right-hander and one of just five high school selections among the A's 40 total picks.
Another: center fielder Skye Bolt, an outfielder out of North Carolina.
"I think the consensus throughout the industry is that there's first-round ability there," said Kubota.
He's not only equipped with plus speed and a plus arm but a plus name. The A's found plenty of those in this year's Draft -- including Bubba Derby, Boomer Biegalski, Dustin Hurlbutt and Tim Proudfoot -- and, when asked if they're the new market inefficiency, Kubota laughed and said, "Apparently. That's what I'm finding. Everyone is asking about the names."
Among their 40 selections, the A's drafted 21 pitchers (16 right-handers), five catchers, seven infielders -- including four shortstops -- and seven outfielders.
That 35 of them came from the collegiate level "was a product of the Draft more than anything," said Kubota.
"In our opinion, we thought the high-school talent pool was probably not at its best," he said. "There were some high-school guys that we identified and just missed out on, but the way it fell, I think we added a lot of polished college players with some upside to them.
"Certainly, we hope they will go out and perform and exceed at a higher level early on, just because they're more mature and farther along the baseball development path."
First-rounder Richie Martin is the crown jewel of their 2015 class. The Florida shortstop, who has hit .292 with five home runs and 20 stolen bases for the Gators as a junior this year, could contribute sooner rather than later for the A's, who traded two shortstop prospects in Addison Russell (Cubs) and Daniel Robertson (Rays) in the past year.
The A's also used their second selection on a shortstop, Alabama's Mikey White.
"I think they're comparable in that they're both high-performing shortstops in arguably the best collegiate league in the country," said Kubota.