A’s Select 10 Players to Complete 2023 First-Year Player Draft

July 11th, 2023

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland A’s selected 10 players on day three of the 2023 First-Year Player Draft, the club announced today.

The selections are right-handed pitcher Drew Conover (11th round, Rutgers), catcher Cole Conn (12th round, University of Illinois at Chicago), left-handed pitcher Will Johnston (13th round, Texas A&M), infielder Luke Mann (14th round, Missouri), outfielder Will Simpson (15th round, Washington), right-handed pitcher Ryan Brown (16th round, Oregon State), infielder Colby Halter (17th round, Florida), outfielder Derrick Tarpley Jr. (18th round, Brownsville Area High School), right-handed pitcher Derek Salata (19th round, Illinois State), and left-handed pitcher Diego Barrera (20th round, Loyola Marymount).

Conover, 21, went 5-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 17 games, including 14 starts, in his junior season at Rutgers and was named Third Team All-Big Ten. The 21-year-old right-hander began his college career at Seton Hall before transferring to Rutgers after his sophomore season. A 2022 Cape Cod League All-Star, Conover was originally drafted by Detroit in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft. In three collegiate seasons, he went a combined 7-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 43 appearances.

Conn, 22, hit .232 with 12 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 26 RBI and 16 stolen bases this season. Over three collegiate seasons, the switch hitter batted .273 with a .374 on-base percentage and a .492 slugging percentage. He started in each of his 51 games for the Flames this year, including 45 starts at catcher. 

Johnston, 22, was 3-3 with a 5.89 ERA and four saves in 27 appearances, including six starts, in his senior season at Texas A&M. The left-hander walked 31 and struck out 70 over 47.1 innings for a 13.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Across four collegiate seasons, he went 6-4 with a 5.77 ERA  in 66 games. 

Mann, 23, batted .311 with a .428 on-base percentage and a .680 slugging percentage in 54 games as a fifth-year senior at Missouri. After hitting 17 home runs last season, the most by a Tiger since 2004, the left-handed hitter surpassed his own mark with 21 this year. Overall, Mann batted .268 with 27 doubles, three triples, 49 home runs and 141 RBI in 179 collegiate games. 

Simpson, 21, a two-time AllPac-12 honoree, batted .335 with 12 doubles, 18 home runs and 58 RBI this season. His home runs led the Huskies and are the seventh most in a single season in program history. Across four collegiate seasons, the outfielder hit .299 with 36 homers and 143 RBI. 

Brown, 22, recorded 11 saves, tied for the most in the Pac-12 in 2023. An All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, went 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 25 games for the Beavers this season, striking out 34 batters and walking just five across 30.2 innings. Across three collegiate seasons, Brown was 9-4 with 20 saves and a 3.90 ERA in 56 career outings, all in relief. 

Halter, 21, batted .247 with nine doubles, four triples, three home runs, 30 RBI and 25 walks. A 2022 Cape Cod League All-Star and a 2022 National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Week, the left-handed hitter collected a .259 average, a .354 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging percentage across three collegiate seasons with the Gators.

Tarpley, 17, is committed to Youngstown State University and was named to the 2023 WPIAL All-Section Team by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2022, he batted .651 with a 1.069 slugging percentage. 

Salata, 23, went 5-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 13 starts for Illinois State this season, leading his team with 88 strikeouts in 75.0 innings pitched. In five collegiate seasons, the right-hander was 13-16 with a 4.24 ERA in 63 games, including 24 starts. He struck out 197 and walked 56 for a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and he allowed just 18 home runs in 193.0 innings pitched.

Barrera, 23, went 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA in his senior season at Loyola Marymount. Began his collegiate career at Washington in 2019 but attended Mt. San Antonio College (JC) in 2020 before transferring to LMU in 2021. Across 51 games as a four-year college player, the left-hander was 13-6 with a 2.85 ERA. He struck out 199 and walked 44 while allowing just 14 home runs. 

The A’s selected a total of 21 players in the Draft, including 17 college players and four high schoolers. The breakdown features 11 pitchers, five outfielders, four infielders and one catcher.