Piliere: "Zack Cox to the A's looks more and more like a safe bet"

IMPERIAL PROCLAMATION!! Let's have Nate's excellent Draft post, which exceeds what I could achieve even were I to receive Joe Posnanski's brain in a transplant, be the thread for comments and observations on this afternoon's developments. 

The Draft begins at 3 PM Pacific Time from the studios of the MLB Network and can be seen on that channel... I'll be by with fun-n-frolicksome Game Threads of rib-tickling hilarity -- complete with pictures of the mysterious-yet-legendary "Loch Ness slegnA," as game time approaches at 7 PM.                

-emperor nobody

With the MLB draft tomorrow, more and more rumors are swirling around. At the start of the mock draft season, the A's were linked most often with Michael Choice and Bryce Brentz, two college outfielders. Then the projections started pairing Oakland with a pair of high school arms, Dylan Covey and Karston Whitson. They have also been linked with shortstop Christian Colon, high school pitcher Stetson Allie, and high school outfielder Josh Sale. 

Most of those projections had Zack Cox going somewhere in the first nine picks, usually to Houston or the MetsAccording to Franklin Piliere, MLB analyst who is running some draft rumor updates at, "We are continuing to get word that the Mets are heavily leaning toward Justin O'Conner with the seventh overall pick.... If Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz gets to them, they will likely take one of the pair over O'Conner." Most projections don't have either of those two getting to them, but even if they do, he writes the Astros are leaning heavily towards taking high school outfielder Josh Sale. He also writes the Padres will choose between Choice or Kolbin Vitek. 

If he is correct, that would mean Zack Cox will be available when the A's choose at #10. In case you missed it, here is a link to DFA's Draft Druthers installment about him. There are questions about his swing, and whether or not it will translate into in-game power, and there are questions about his defense, whether he'll stay at 3B or move to 2B and be a more offensive minded second baseman.

Keep in mind that none of the questions are really about how good he is. The questions are whether his power potential will make him a 30 homerun guy rather than a 20 homerun guy. And his defensive tools are not really lacking, they just need work. There aren't a lot of analysts who don't think he'll be able to stick at 3B if his team wanted, and that his ability to make the transition to 2B isn't out of the question. 

I have liked Cox since the draft season began, and performance this year hasn't changed my mind. He's hitting .432/.516/.606/1.122 this year. It's comparable to Dustin Ackley's line from 2009 (.416/.516/.763/1.280), with slightly less power while playing in the toughest division in college baseball. 

This situation reminds me a lot of last year's draft. A lot of people, myself included, were hoping a guy like Leake or Crow fell to Oakland at #13, but didn't. The other guys, like Purke, were expensive, and the guys after that might have been reaches at #13. Fortunately, there was a polished college hitter that played a position of need available. Grant Green might not have been the absolute best player available, but all things considered, it would have been foolish not to take him.

If Cox is available to the A's at #10, I'd be surprised if they do not pull the trigger on him. How would you feel if the A's selected Cox rather than the others that project to also be available (such as Colon, Covey, McGuire, Allie, Whitson, Brentz or Wimmers)?

Various links


And here is a link to Piliere's updates.

Edit: 7:31 PM: Kevin Goldstein just tweeted that Cox may be looking for a signing bonus similar to the one Pedro Alvarez received in 2008. Alvarez signed a 4-yr. deal worth $6.355MM. Keith Law also says he wants a major league deal. It's an interesting development, though I don't think it's necessarily a deal breaker. The A's paid Green (a Boras client) $2.75MM and then signed Stassi for $1.5MM, so they are willing to spend in the draft. 

Keep in mind this is also probably posturing. Yasmani Grandal was asking for Posey money about a week ago ($6.2MM), though since word got out that he and the Royals may or may not have a deal, reports are it's worth around $3MM or a little above.


Second edit: 1:53 AM: As of 10:30 PM, Piliere wrote, "Some sources believe the price tag of Cox may have a lot to do with this [Oakland passing on Cox] and that he could slide as far as the No. 20-25 range," and that, "It now appears Christian Colon is the A's backup plan to Michael Choice, who will almost certainly be off the board." I'll leave the post up for discussion's sake, but I don't feel like doing a writeup about Colon, though in case you know nothing about him, he is the shortstop at Cal State Fullerton. Most of his tools grade out as average to above average, and doesn't do anything poorly. IMO, if the A's select Colon, it won't be that different than Green from last year. Green has a higher ceiling, Colon has a higher floor.

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