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The New Oakland A's: Max Stassi and Sam Dyson

 

Today's rounds of the draft (4-30) held a ton of importance for our favorite team. The A's lacked a 2nd round pick this year and had no supplementals so every pick had more meaning. Who did the A's choose?  I'll focus on the two names that interest me the most.

Coming into today Baseball America had ranked the talent left to be picked.  At the top of the board lay the following 5 talents with BA's corresponding rank in the country: (Spoiler alert: take note of the first two names.)

30. Max Stassi, c, Yuba City (Calif.) HS

38. Sam  Dyson, rhp, South Carolina

41. Zack Von Rosenbuerg, rhp, Zachary (La.) HS

43.  Brody Colvin, rhp, More HS, Lafayette, La.

45. Madison Younginer, rhp, Mauldin (S.C.) HS

 

The A's came into the day with the number 12 pick in the 4th round.  That pick was (you guessed it) Max Stassi.  Stassi is a local high school catcher whose favorite NL team is the Giants and favorite AL team is the A's. He's gotten a full scholarship from UCLA. The question is can the A's convince him to leave it.

The only reason Stassi was available was his price tag.  He fielded calls on the first day from multiple teams (including the Rockies, Tigers, Cardinals and Rangers) asking if slot would sign him.  It wouldn't:

"We have a figure in our head what UCLA is worth," [Jim Stassi, Max's father] said. "And when those clubs called, we said we are not going to make a deal at slot to get it done.

"He would have gone in the (compensation round) if we had settled for slot."

So what is that price? Per Kevin Goldstein:

KG: I hit the phones a bit after they stopped picking, and here's the story there. He wants around $1.5, so now that we're in the fourth round, he's a signability problem. It reminds me a lot of Tim Melville last year.

Melville was drafted in the 4th by the Royals and later signed for 1.25 million dollars.  So, is Stassi worth it and are the A's going to pay up?  The last 5 4th rounders for the A's have been Anthony Capra, Travis Banwart, Chad Lee, Jimmy Shull, and Ryan Webb.  While none of the 5 are great shakes (jury's out on Capra and Banwart if we're feeling generous), all 5 signed.  In those 5 years, the A's have also signed every pick before the 4th round.   The A's don't have a record of drafting people who they don't plan on signing that early.

All well and good but does Stassi have the performance to warrant $1.5 million? According to some sources, most definitely.  His freshman year Stassi hit .580 with 9 HRs.  Sophomore year saw .461 with 5 HRs.  Junior year was .471-15.  Senior year was .593 and 9 HRs through 21 games.  Dude can hit.

Said one scout:

[Stassi is] as close to a sure thing as you will ever find in a high-school player because of his makeup, passion for baseball and ability to hit.

Stassi, the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year last season (with a nomination for the 2009 award), has drawn comparisons to Kendall with more power.  Added another scout:

Oakland would have the steal of the year should Stassi pass on his scholarship to UCLA.

Stassi was a surprise to get in the 4th round but nearly as big a surprise was Sam Dyson in the 10th. 

Dyson is one of those freaks of nature.  The kind of guy who a coach sees kicking a soccer ball around and asks him to join the football team.  Soon after he kicks a 51 yard field goal. He's the kind of kid who can consistently drive a golf ball 300+ yards.

One of Dyson's other gifts is the ability to throw a baseball.  Namely to throw a baseball really really fast.  Dyson possesses a fastball that hits 96 and a slider that hits 86.  He's as Goldstein put it "a big time arm looking for big time cash."

He's also a bionic man: he has had surgeries on both shoulders and his throwing elbow and he has a small dent on his forehead.  Where did that dent come from? Per the article above:

Dyson was just shy of his sixth birthday when the accident happened on a T-ball field in Tampa, Fla. — his mother sitting in the stands and his father coaching on the field. During batting practice that day, Dyson’s forehead ran full bore into a swinging bat, yet the boy did not so much as cry — or bleed — as he found his mother’s waiting arms.

...

The half-inch indentation proved to be a fractured skull. Three separate fractures required doctors to peel back the skin on Dyson’s forehead, insert a few titanium plates and screws and sew him up with 27 stitches.

Must be hell going to the airport.  So his fastball is straight and he's littered with injuries. So why was that Dyson was so highly regarded, the #38 talent according to BA?

Dyson's fastball can be overpowering and sometimes dominant:

“At times, he’s extremely special as you’ve seen this year,” Tanner says. “He can be as good as anybody in the country. Other times, it just doesn’t happen for him. At times, he looks like he’s having a bad night, and he convinces himself this is a bad night. When he has a good night, he’s thinking, ‘I’m good.’ ”

If Dyson can become consistent, he might have the most upside of Stassi, Green, and him.  Some of questioned if health was part of the reason for his inconsistency: he sat out his freshman season with to a torn labrum. 

I'll close with some of Melissa Lockard's thoughts:

Q:Favorite pick so far: Green, Stassi, or Dyson?
ML: I think Stassi was the biggest surprise, so I like that one for that reason. On a talent basis alone, I think the Green pick is tops, but all three are legitimate first-to-supplemental first round talents, which is exciting.
...
Besides Dyson, who projects to be the A's hardest signs?
ML: Definitely Max Stassi.

Can the A's sign all three of Stassi, Green, and Dyson?

Every guy the A's pick, they pick because they think there is a chance they can sign them. Certainly some of these are smaller chances than others, but I think because the A's do have a deep system, they can take some of these risks to see if they can add high level talent from the later rounds. Nino Leyja was an example of a mid-round HS selection last year who signed. Given what the A's were dealing with in terms of no second rounder, I think they have done pretty well.
...
If the A's can sign Green, Stassi and Dyson, it is probably a top 10 draft. There are teams with multiple first round picks who are going to come out higher than the A's almost no matter what given that they had so many more high round picks.
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