The 2008 MLB Draft signing deadline has ended. A lot of people feel the A's are cheap as an organization because they read Moneyball and learned the A's don't spend money. Hopefully the signing of Micheal Inoa and the large over slot money the A's handed to some of the draft picks will help put an end to that notion.
Let's review the draft: (Round, Name, Position, Signing Bonus)
1. Jemile Weeks, 2B, $1.91m
Weeks was considered an overdraft at the 12th pick, but I feel the positional scarcity of middle infielders helped make the A's take him over the numerous 1B/DH types available at the time. Weeks responded to the high pick by posting a .297/.422/.405 line in 74 AB in Kane County A ball before going down like a true Athletic with a hip flexor on July 29. Hopefully nothing too serious but with the minor league season nearly over no need to rush him back now.
2. Tyson Ross, RHP, $694k
Ross was considered a possible first round talent with his 6'5'' frame and powerful delivery, but dropped after scouts were worried about his 2008 season at Cal Berkeley. The A's happily took him 58th overall and like Weeks started at Kane County A ball. He made 3 appearances, throwing 7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 7 K before being shut down with arm troubles. Unlike the Weeks injury, some people like Driveline Mechanic's Kyle Boddy may have seen this coming. Ross too is done for the rest of the season.
3. Preston Paramore, C, $430k
Scouts raved about Paramore's defense before the draft as well as his plate discipline/contact combo, walking 17 more times than striking out in his collegiate career. He continued the trend in the minors, posting a .234/.422/.338 line good for a .188 ISO-OBP and 20:24 K:BB ratio. He'll finish out the season at Kane County as well.
4. Anthony Capra, LHP, $260k
Capra too has started at Kane County, 7 starts with 33 IP, 30 H, 14 ER, 3 HR, 14 BB, 27 K. Capra features an average fastball with a decent changeup. He's gone 6 innings pitched three of his last four starts.
5. Jason Christian, SS, $182k
20 years old from of the University of Michigan, Christian has hit quite well at Short Season A ball in Vancouver, .292/.408/.422 in 185 AB. He's also sporting 10:1 SB:CS and 58:35 K:BB ratios. Not a large sample but a very encouraging bunch of numbers, if he can stick at short there is some good potential here.
6. Tyreace House, OF, $130k
A Junior College pick, House has shown great speed and plate discipline so far, 12 SB without getting caught and 13:15 K:BB in 76 AB in the Arizona Rookie League. He has displayed no power though, literally. His .263/.380/.276 is 1 double, no triples or home runs, mostly due to his 69.4 GB% if Minor League Splits data is right. With his speed he should be able to stick in CF and may turn out to be a Rajai Davis type, which does have its uses.
7. Brett Hunter, RHP, $1.1m
This is the big story and the main reason for this post tonight. Today it was announced that the A's signed Hunter to the largest seventh round bonus in history. Hunter was projected to be a first round talent before the 2008 college season started, but he hurt his elbow in his second start of the year for Pepperdine (also the alma mater of former Athletic Danny Haren). He would come back to pitch for Team USA (Collegiate) in the summer, striking out 26 in only 18.1 IP. That display of health earned him the huge $1.1 million bonus he received, about a million over slot for a 7th round pick.
Hunter features an above average fastball in the 92-95 mph range (yes that range is quite wide but coming back from injury I'm not sure where it really stands right now), and a nice slider. His delivery requires a lot of effort, which combined with his injury probably scared most teams off. But if he reaches his full potential the A's will have quite the coup for only a little over a million dollars.
8. Jeremy Barfield, OF, $92k
Teams are often concerned with a player's makeup, and one of the way's they often look for good makeup is in family background (this will continue later for the A's). Barfield is the son of former major leaguer Jessie Barfield and brother of Indians 2B Josh Barfield. While he doesn't have the prospect status his brother Josh had, he's currently hitting .293/.347/.413 in 184 AB in Vancouver while playing RF.
9. Mitchell LeVier, OF, $75k
He's hitting .237/.274/.280 in Vancouver. He was drafted as a catcher but has been playing CF, but that hitting line won't cut it at any position.
10. Rashun Dixon, OF, $600k
This was the A's first over slot signing and quite a good one I feel. The big bonus was needed to lure Dixon away from a football scholarship at the University of Mississippi. 6'2'' and 210 lbs, Dixon has outstanding speed and arm strength as well as power to all fields. He's been outstanding in Rookie ball thus far, hitting .286/.357/.563 with 8 triples and 6 home runs in 126 AB. He has struck out 47 times, but has walked 14. He's still quite raw but he's shown all the tools that made him what many scouts considered to be a 2nd or 3rd round talent.
I had trouble finding signing bonuses for any picks after round 10, they should be assumed to be around slot money with the exception of Dusty Coleman. I'll list the rest of the picks signed and the stats of any that have received significant playing time and noteworthy lines.
11. Chistopher Berroa, CF
13. Daniel Thomas, RHP
14. David Thomas, LF
.273/.378/.370 in 154 AB, most of them in Vancouver. Yet another player in the A's organization whose ISO-OBP is greater than his ISO.
15. Nino Leyja, SS
.317/.395/.468 in 139 AB along with 27:19 K:BB and 10:1 SB:CS. Those are very impressive numbers for any 17 year old in the AZL, much less from a shortstop. It is a small sample from a 14th round draft pick, but any production in the organization from the SS position is quite welcome.
16. Matthew Fitts, RHP
24.2 IP, 23 H, 9 ER, 1 HR, 7 BB, 12 SO, 65.1 GB% in relief at Vancouver
19. Michael Hart, RHP
25 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 34 SO. Dominating numbers and he may make an appearance at Kane before the end of the year.
20. Rodney Rutherford, 3B
21. Mathieu Leblanc Poirier (had to mention the full name because it just looks awesome and more like a French poet then a baseball player), RHP
21.2 IP, 34 H, 19 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 18 SO in the AZL. Maybe he should be a poet instead.
24. Kenny Smalley, RHP
25. Trey Barham, LHP
26. Ryan Doolittle, RHP
Brother of A's minor league 1B Sean Doolittle (who is struggling in his move to AA .232/.279/.377 after his breakout .305/.385/.560 in the California League), Doolittle is another example of being drafted based on family background. Unfortunately his 30.2 IP, 41 H and 20 ER don't indicate he has much of the talent his brother has.
28. Dusty Coleman, SS, $675k
The A's second large over slot signing, Coleman hit .314/.401/.510 in his sophomore season. Considered to be a 4th-6th round talent, the A's needed to shell out the cash to get him away from his junior year at Wichita State. He's only had 27 AB in the AZL hitting .222/.300/.333. Shortstop talent is hard to find (look at the minors and majors to see how shortstops have been hitting) and I'm all for the A's going over slot to increase their SS depth.
29. Justin Murray, RHP
30. Kevin Jernigan, 2B
31. Mickey Storey, RHP
32. Ben Hornbeck, LHP
27 IP, 22 H, 11 ER, 2 HR, 15 BB, 33 SO in Vancouver.
33. Shawn Haviland, RHP
Totals: 26 picks signed, $6.15 million + the other 15 unknown bonuses, 1 C, 2 2B, 3 SS, 1 3B, 6 OF, 10 RHP, 3 LHP. The Hunter signing coupled with Inoa and Weeks gave the A's the equivalent of three first round picks. The A's system is loaded with 1B/DH types (Chris Carter, Sean Doolittle, Daric Barton) so they passed over most of those players in the draft, instead looking to load up on middle infield depth. I think this is a good idea, especially considering the dearth of middle infield talent present in most top 100 minor league lists.
It would have been nice to lure 12th round pick 1B Zac Elgie away from Kansas, but they weren't able to get him to sign a deal. Despite this, I still think it was a solid draft for the A's and will help one of (if not the best) farm system in baseball even more. As always if you can't get enough of the A's here find more news and analysis at Oaktown Awesomer's