Down on the farm: A's top 10 draft picks

A's top pick Matt Chapman - USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the most important story down on the farm this week was the amateur draft. But before we get to that, there's one other important story that needs to be mentioned. And that's the fact that the A's top prospect, Addison Russell, returned to competitive play on Sunday for Stockton. He started at shortstop and went 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base, and apparently felt great after the game. The plan seems to be for Russell to stay with Stockton through Saturday, when the California League All-Star break begins, before making the move to Midland, or possibly even to Sacramento. So the good news is it looks like the golden child is back on track!

As for this week's amateur draft, on my Athletics Farm site this week, I offered some basic info on all the A's top 10 picks. And I also had the opportunity to participate in conference calls with the A's top pick, third baseman Matt Chapman, as well as A's scouting director Eric Kubota. So below you'll find my profile of the A's top two picks from Day 1 of the draft, with plenty of quotes from those conference calls with both Chapman and Kubota, as well as a basic rundown on the A's other top 10 picks...

After unexpectedly taking high school players with their top picks the last two years, the A's returned to their old, familiar ways this year, selecting a pair of collegiate players with the team's top two draft picks on Thursday. In the first round, Oakland went with 21-year-old Cal State Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman. The team then followed up by taking 21-year-old Clemson University RHP Daniel Gossett in the second round.

On Day 2 of the draft, the team focused on pitching, and 7 of the A's top 10 picks turned out to be pitchers this year, only one of whom is a high school hurler. Besides the team's top pick, Matt Chapman, the other two position players who ended up in the A's top 10 were both shortstops. High school shortstop Trace Loehr is an Oregon State recruit, so he there could potentially be a signing issue with him. The only other high-schooler taken by the A's in the top 10 was RHP Branden Kelliher out of Washington. But otherwise, the team targeted half a dozen college hurlers in the first 10 rounds, highlighted by Clemson's Daniel Gossett and Missouri's Brett Graves.

Top pick Matt Chapman is best known for his solid defense and strong throwing arm at third. The A's also like his plate discipline and think that he has the potential to develop into a legitimate power hitter. In 2014, Chapman posted a .312/.412/.498 slash line with 16 doubles, 6 home runs, 27 walks and 26 strikeouts in 205 at-bats for Fullerton. Meanwhile, Gossett flashes three solid pitches - a good fastball, an impressive breaking ball and an above-average changeup. He's been Clemson's top starter and posted a 1.93 ERA while striking out 107 in 107 1/3 innings this year at Clemson.

The A's top pick, Chapman, was not originally drafted out of high school, but A's scouting director Eric Kubota said that Chapman "was clearly the best player left on the board at the time we picked." Kubota also confirmed that Chapman worked out and took batting practice in front of A's brass at the Coliseum on Tuesday. Kubota characterized Chapman as a potential "elite defender at third base," praised his plate discipline, and predicted "this is a guy who is going to develop into a power hitter as his pro career progresses."

Chapman himself isn't shy when it comes to boasting about his defensive abilities. When I asked about his greatest strength as a ballplayer, Chapman was quick to claim that he considers himself "the best" defensive college third baseman out there. And Kubota said the A's like his attitude: "I think he is confident, but I think there is a little part of him too that is a little naïve in terms of how good he might end up becoming. His talents have continued to improve."

Though Chapman played shortstop for three years in high school and Kubota claims the A's think he could still play shortstop, the A's scouting director said, "We really see him as a third baseman starting his pro career and continuing on."

As far as comparisons go, Kubota said "it's easy" to compare Chapman to current A's third baseman Josh Donaldson: "When I wake up at three in the morning in the middle of a dream...that's kind of the profile that if everything comes together, that's the player we are hoping to get here."

Chapman compared himself physically to Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki. And A's minor league pitcher and fellow former southern California prep player Chris Kohler referred to Chapman as A's infield prospect Daniel Robertson's twin, claiming that he "plays so much like him."

Chapman, whose father Jim played college ball for Cal State Pomona, grew up in southern California as an Angels fan but joked, "It's never too late to change your favorite team, right?" He claimed to be very familiar with the A's from following the American League West. And as for his impression of the A's, the team's newest prospect said, "I know the A's play old-school, hard-nosed baseball. And I feel that's exactly how I go about my business."

When it comes to the A's top pitching pick in this year's draft, Kubota called Gossett "a proven college performer." And on what it was that most impressed the team about the right-hander, Kubota said, "He has a fastball that is 92-94. He throws strikes. He has the makings of an out-pitch breaking ball and a very good changeup. There is just a lot to like about him."


1st Round

Matt Chapman

Third Baseman

Cal State Fullerton (CA)

Age: 21 / 6'2" - 215 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2014 College Stats: 6 HR / 27 BB / 26 K / .312 AVG / .412 OBP / .498 SLG


2nd Round

Daniel Gossett

Right-Handed Pitcher

Clemson University (SC)

Age: 21 / 6'1" - 195 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 107 1/3 IP / 78 H / 23 ER / 30 BB / 107 K / 1.93 ERA


3rd Round

Brett Graves

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of Missouri (MO)

Age: 21 / 6'1" - 173 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 93 IP / 98 H / 40 ER / 18 BB / 64 K / 3.87 ERA


4th Round

Jordan Schwartz

Right-Handed Pitcher

Niagara University (NY)

Age: 22 / 6'2" - 195 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 95 1/3 IP / 76 H / 33 ER / 35 BB / 109 K / 3.12 ERA


5th Round

Heath Fillmyer

Right-Handed Pitcher

Mercer County Community College (NJ)

Age: 20 / 6'1" - 190 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 66 IP / 38 H / 5 ER / 25 BB / 94 K / 0.68 ERA


6th Round

Trace Loehr

Shortstop

Rex Putnam High School (OR)

Age: 19 / 5'10" - 175 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2014 High School Stats: 1 HR / 19 BB / 8 K / .393 AVG / .562 OBP / .803 SLG


7th Round

Branden Cogswell

Shortstop

University of Virginia (VA)

Age: 21 / 6'1" - 180 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2014 College Stats: 0 HR / 35 BB / 17 K / .295 AVG / .394 OBP / .341 SLG


8th Round

Branden Kelliher

Right-Handed Pitcher

Lake Stevens High School (WA)

Age: 18 / 5'11" - 175 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 High School Stats: 1.32 ERA


9th Round

Mike Fagan

Left-Handed Pitcher

Princeton University (NJ)

Age: 22 / 6'0" - 185 lbs.

Throws: Left / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 58 IP / 46 H / 15 ER / 18 BB / 77 K / 2.33 ERA


10th Round

Corey Miller

Right-Handed Pitcher

Pepperdine University (CA)

Age: 22 / 6'3" - 190 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2014 College Stats: 113 IP / 92 H / 22 ER / 29 BB / 80 K / 1.75 ERA


#11 RHP Joel Seddon (South Carolina), #12 RHP Tyler Willman (Western Illinois), #13 2B Max Kuhn (Kentucky), #14 C Casey Schroeder (Polk State), #15 2B Trent Gilbert (Arizona), #16 3B Jose Brizuela (Florida State), #17 C Eric Cheray (Missouri State), #18 LHP Michael Nolan (Oklahoma City U.), #19 C Tom Gavitt (Bryant), #20 RHP Koby Guana (CSU Fullerton)

#21 SS Tim Proudfoot (Texas Tech), #22 RHP Brendan McCurry (Oklahoma State), #23 1B Collin Ferguson (St. Mary's), #24 RHP Dawson Brown (U. West Florida), #25 CF Joseph Estrada (Colegio Hector Urdaneta HS), #26 RHP Rob Huber (Duke), #27 CF J.P. Sportman (Cent. Conn. State), #28 RHP Corey Walter (West Virginia), #29 LHP Cody Stull (Belmont Abbey), #30 LHP Derek Beasley (South Carolina-Aiken)

#31 RHP Tyler Schimpf (Capital Christian HS), #32 CF Denz'l Chapman (Junipero Serra HS), #33 C Michael Rivera (Venice HS), #34 1B John Nogowski (Florida State), #35 CF Austen Swift (Bishop Allen Academy HS), #36 OF Tyler Spoon (Arkansas), #37 OF Brock Lundquist (Fountain Valley HS), #38 CF Colt Atwood (Sam Houston State), #39 2B Payton Squier (Greenway HS), #40 SS Bryson Brigman (Valley Christian HS)


You can check out my blog - Athletics Farm - for updates on the A's minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.

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