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A's stick with righties, take Schwartz in fourth round

The A's took their third straight college right-hander with their fourth pick in the First-Year Player Draft, selecting junior Jordan Schwartz from Niagara University in New York.

Schwartz had 109 strikeouts and 35 walks in 95 innings during his junior season, going 5-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 14 starts.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righty from Hornell, N.Y., also played the outfield, batting .258 with four extra-base hits in 120 at-bats.

"You're talking about a guy that was an all-state football player in high school; he's a two-way player [at Niagara] -- the athleticism is something that stuck out to us," A's assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes said. "Not only that, but the ability to throw 90 to 94 [mph], we like the upside with his arm, we like the upside with the athleticism. We think there's a tremendous amount of projection in his future."

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 10 a.m. PT.

Schwartz struggled on the hill in his first two seasons at Niagara, and as a sophomore he posted an 8.19 ERA in 17 appearances. But as he began to shift more of his focus away from hitting and toward pitching, he made adjustments and turned in a stellar junior campaign.

"For him, a lot of it had to do with his development of a good offspeed pitch, of a slider," said Niagara head coach Rob McCoy. "He struggled for two years commanding the strike zone with his fastball, and a lot of it stems from he was trying to be too fine and he didn't have a wrinkle.

"Once he developed that slider, he gained more confidence in being able to throw the ball across the plate, pound the zone more and knowing he can attack and get guys out."

Schwartz was an All-MAAC Second Team selection in 2014, leading the conference in strikeouts while holding opponents to a .217 average.

While he continued to play the outfield, Schwartz made a big jump as a pitcher.

"His first two years, he worked a lot offensively," McCoy said. "He would hit every day instead of throw every day. He put a lot of focus on his offense. This year was the first year that I think he decided to focus more on the mound, and that's part of the reason it's shown and paid off."

Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for
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