Well, the key to having a good farm system is having a good draft! And with this year’s amateur draft having occurred just two weeks ago, in lieu of our regular updates on the A’s minor league system, I wanted to take the opportunity this week to offer some insights on the fresh crop of young players entering the A’s organization from the man who knows them best – A’s scouting director Eric Kubota. I had the chance to interview him last week for my Farm blog, and I’ve excerpted his insights on the A’s top 10 draft picks of 2012 here on Athletics Nation right after the jump…
#1 (1st Round - 11th Overall Pick)
Shortstop / Age: 18 / Pace High School - Pace, Florida
2012 High School Stats: .358 AVG / .532 OBP / .815 SLG
Eric Kubota says: Well, the first thing that you notice about Addison is his athleticism. He’s just an extremely gifted athlete in many ways. It bears out in his running speed and his agility. We really like the athleticism - we like the upside. He’s a guy who we think has plus tools across the board – a potential 5-tool player - and a lot of upside. He can be an offensive shortstop with power, with speed, with arm strength – really with the whole package. Like any high school player, there’s a lot of development that has to happen for him to get where he’s going. But we like his ability to play and we like his skills. As far as major league players that he reminds us of, Barry Larkin is one name that comes to mind.
#2 (Compensation Round - 34th Overall Pick)
Shortstop / Age: 18 / Upland High School - Upland, California
2012 High School Stats: .560 AVG / .696 OBP / 1.000 SLG
Eric Kubota says: Daniel Robertson really impressed us with his bat. We feel he’s got a very, very advanced approach to hitting for a high school guy. He’s got strength. His defensive skills are very solid - we think they’re good enough for him to play shortstop. Ultimately, down the road, he probably ends up at third base. We’re very confident that he has the offensive potential to be a profile player there. He’s very polished as far as what he does now. And some guys have compared him to David Wright.
#3 (Compensation Round - 47th Overall Pick)
First Baseman / Age: 18 / Parkview High School - Lilburn, Georgia
2012 High School Stats: .353 AVG / .421 OBP / .765 SLG
Eric Kubota says: What we really like about him is his bat. He’s really a sweet swinger. He kind of reminds us of John Olerud. He’s a big-framed kid, so there’s a chance to add a lot of strength to his frame, and that’s where the power’s going to come with him. We really like the bat, and we like his chances to have power down the road as his body gets bigger and stronger. And he’s very, very good around first base.
#4 (2nd Round - 62nd Overall Pick)
Catcher / Age: 21 / Birmingham-Southern College - Birmingham, Alabama
2012 College Stats: .471 AVG / .619 OBP / .928 SLG
Eric Kubota says: We think he has all the necessary ingredients to catch. Once again, what we really like about Bruce is his bat. First off, if you look at his numbers, I know it was Division III, but you’d be hard-pressed to find statistics like that anywhere. But what our scouts saw with their eyes matched every bit of those stats.
#5 (2nd Round - 74th Overall Pick)
Right-Handed Pitcher / Age: 20 / University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, Arkansas
2012 College Stats: 39 1/3 IP / 28 H / 11 ER / 22 BB / 47 K / 2.52 ERA
Eric Kubota says: Nolan’s kind of an old school power pitcher. He’s got a fastball that’s up to 97-98 mph. We’ve seen an above-average curveball and an above-average changeup at times. He’s a strong, physical kid. He’s pitched both as a starter and out of the bullpen. We think he’s got the necessary ingredients to start in professional baseball. And he has the kind of stuff that could work his way to the upper ranges of the rotation or, if he does have to go back to the bullpen, to the late innings out of the bullpen. Sanburn, physically, reminds me of Tim Belcher.
#6 (3rd Round - 106th Overall Pick)
Left-Handed Pitcher / Age: 18 / El Dorado High School - Placentia, California
2012 High School Stats: 73 2/3 IP / 39 H / 8 ER / 25 BB / 77 K / 0.76 ERA
Eric Kubota says: What we like about Kyle is his projection and his ability to pitch right now. He flashes three average-to-better pitches. He touches 91-92 mph with his fastball right now. We think with normal physical development, he’s going to throw a bit harder. He’s got an above-average changeup right now. His breaking ball has good shape. He has all the ingredients – he just needs a little more velocity in our opinion. But he’s got a very, very good feel for what he’s doing out there. He already knows how to pitch. We just think the sky’s kind of the limit with this kid because he’s got so much physical development left to him. And he kind of reminds us a little bit of Andrew Heaney who went #9 in the draft this year.
#7 (4th Round - 139th Overall Pick)
Outfielder / Age: 18 / Palo Alto High School - Palo Alto, California
2012 High School Stats: .507 AVG / .628 OBP / .704 SLG
Eric Kubota says: It’s just nice when some kid’s are very, very excited about signing and getting going with their pro career, and B.J. certainly wants to do that. He’s a tremendous athlete. He was a tremendous high school football player. He could have probably played Division I football. He’s a strong, compact, electric athlete. There’s a lot of upside to a lot of things he does. He’s probably a little rough around the edges, and there’s some development that needs to happen for it all to come together for him. But he can really run, he’s got strength in his bat, and he’s got a chance to really play center field. Some of the guys who saw him compared him a little bit to a young Carl Crawford.
#8 (5th Round - 169th Overall Pick)
First Baseman / Age: 21 / Baylor University - Waco, Texas
2012 College Stats: .322 AVG / .418 OBP / .494 SLG
Eric Kubota says: Once again, what we really like about Max is his bat. All of us who went in there to see him, for lack of a technical term, he just looked "hitter-ish." And we really like his chances to hit. He’s a surprising athlete. He doesn’t scream "athlete" on first look, but he runs well, and he’s very good around first base. And we just like the whole package with Max but, first and foremost, the bat.
#9 (6th Round - 199th Overall Pick)
Right-Handed Pitcher / Age: 21 / Ohio University - Athens, Ohio
2012 College Stats: 75 1/3 IP / 81 H / 37 ER / 36 BB / 62 K / 4.42 ERA
Eric Kubota says: He’s an athletic kid. He’s got a good body. We’ve seen him throw hard, up to like 94-95 mph, with a very good slider. He was one of the better hitters on their team at one time, but he just decided that pitching was his best way to help the team. We actually think he’s kind of an upside guy. He just hasn’t pitched as much as some of these guys. And we just like the whole combination of body, athleticism and stuff.
#10 (7th Round - 229th Overall Pick)
Right-Handed Pitcher / Age: 19 / Oxnard College - Oxnard, California
2012 College Stats: 24 2/3 IP / 15 H / 4 ER / 11 BB / 21 K / 1.46 ERA
Eric Kubota says: He’s a younger kid who just hasn’t pitched all that much. He was actually a Division I football recruit. He was a linebacker, which will tell you something about his physicality. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic. We’ve seen him up to 94-95 mph. We’ve seen him with a very good breaking ball. We just think we’re kind of just seeing the tip of the iceberg on him. We just think there’s a lot of upside to him.
You can check out my blog - Athletics Farm - for daily updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.