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Down On The Farm: A's Scouting Director Eric Kubota on the Draft


I had the opportunity to talk with A's scouting director Eric Kubota on Friday to get his quick take on the A's top 12 draft picks from the first 10 rounds of this year's amateur draft. At this point, the A's have signed 7 of their top 12 picks, but Kubota expressed confidence that the remaining 5 would all be in the fold before long. And 5 of these players - infielder Chad Pinder, outfielder Tyler Marincov and pitchers Dylan Covey, Matt Stalcup and Jerad Grundy - will actually be starting play in the A's organization on Monday night when the Class-A short-season Vermont Lake Monsters open their season. You can get daily updates on all the A's minor league teams and top prospects as well as the complete interview with Eric Kubota on my Athletics Farm blog, and you'll find some key highlights from my interview with Kubota, followed by the usual statistical updates for each affiliate's top players, right here on Athletics Nation...

A's scouting director Eric Kubota on some notable standouts from last year's draft not named ‘Addison Russell'...

I think I would start with Daniel Robertson, who we obviously took high in the draft, but he's performed very well with the bat and he's played shortstop at a very high level, which has been a surprise for us. So that's certainly something that was kind of unexpected for us - that he would be able to play that position as well as he has. Beyond that, obviously we're happy with where Matt Olson is in his development. And John Wooten, who was a very late pick, has performed very well in Beloit and he's kind of validated our signing him. He was a guy we saw in the Cape Cod League a couple of summers ago, and he played really well up there. He had a rough spring last spring, but he's gone out and played very well. On the pitchers' side, there were a few senior pitchers we took later in the draft - Ryan Dull and Tucker Healy - both of whom have performed very well in the Beloit bullpen. So, all in all, we're really excited about last year's draft class.

On 1st pick high school outfielder Billy McKinney...

The first thing you fall in love with with Billy is his bat. We really, really love the way this kid swings the bat. It's rare when, across the whole scouting staff, everybody agrees about the quality of the kid's bat. So that's the first thing that jumps out at you. You know, I've said it before, I think there are some similarities to Mark Kotsay - and if that's how he ends up, I think we'd all be happy.

On 2nd pick college left-hander Dillon Overton...

Dillon Overton can really pitch. He's got a history of high strikeout numbers and low walks. He's a left-hander with good stuff who knows how to pitch, and we were very happy that he was there in that spot. Coming into the year, there were a lot of people who probably rated him higher than Jonathan Gray, who went third in the country, and deservedly so.

On 3rd pick college shortstop/third baseman Chad Pinder...

We were pleasantly surprised that he was still there when we picked him. And what we liked about him is he really can swing the bat - that's the first thing with him that we really liked. We think he can hit. He's played third base predominantly in his career but moved over to shortstop this year and did a good job there. And I think we're going to let him go out at shortstop and see if he can establish himself at that position. We think he has the physical tools to do it.

On 4th pick college first baseman/third baseman Ryon Healy...

We really liked the bat. He's always performed with the bat. He's always had the strength for power, and this year it finally translated into home run numbers. We do think he has the physical ability to play third base, and we'll probably give him an opportunity to try and do that. But first and foremost, he's a big right-handed power bat who profiles at the corner positions.

On 5th pick high school left-hander Chris Kohler...

He's a classic projection high-school left-hander who flashes above-average stuff now. And in our opinion, it's just a matter of physical maturation and development where it's going to be consistently plus stuff. He's been up to 93 mph. He can really spin a breaking ball. We really think there's a high ceiling with Chris.

On 6th pick college right-hander Dylan Covey...

We scouted him a lot when he was in high school, when he was a 1st-round pick. We liked him a lot back then. In the time since then, he's had to learn how to deal with his diabetes, which was really a new situation for him. He didn't have any clue about that before that physical. But we've seen him, and his stuff is starting to get back to what we saw in high school. I think it's a combination of him learning how to manage his diabetes and just gaining some additional confidence. But we think it's a situation where we got potentially a 1st-round talent in the 4th round, and we're really happy about that.

On 7th pick college right-hander Bobby Wahl...

He's just a big physical kid with a good arm - up to 95-96 mph. He's been a starter in arguably the best college league in the country - the SEC - and he's been a Friday night starter in that league. He's got a big arm with a good breaking ball. We'll send him out as a starter and see what happens. But if he ends up in the back of the bullpen, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either.

On 8th pick college right-hander Kyle Finnegan...

He's an athletic right-hander. He's been a starter and a reliever in college. We've seen him up to 97 mph with a good slider. And he's just a big arm in the system. I was just thinking today that he kind of reminds me a little bit of Grant Balfour.

On 9th pick high school right-hander Dustin Driver...

He's a physical high school right-hander - we've seen him up to 95 mph with a good slider. There was kind of a common theme amongst a lot of these pitchers. We took physical kids with big arms. And we're going to turn them all over to (minor league pitching coordinator) Scott Emerson and the rest of our pitching coaches and our player development system and see what happens.

On 10th pick college outfielder Tyler Marincov...

He's an athletic kid. He performed both from a power standpoint and a speed standpoint at North Florida. He's just a good athlete with upside and performance.

On 11th pick college left-hander Matt Stalcup...

He's a left-hander with a fastball in the ‘90s and a good breaking ball with a very good history of missing bats and striking guys out. He's from a smaller school, but a couple of our scouts got to see him and were very impressed with his stuff, and we were happy to get him.

On 12th pick college left-hander Jerad Grundy...

He's just a polished performer who knows how to use his stuff and has a history of getting guys out.


(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 40-30

Key 2nd Half Additions: RHP Kyler Newby has joined the River Cats bullpen from Midland.

Top Cats:

C Stephen Vogt (9 HR / 23 BB / 27 K / .327 AVG / .391 OBP / .558 SLG / .948 OPS)

1B Daric Barton (3 HR / 46 BB / 25 K / .287 AVG / .436 OBP / .414 SLG / .849 OPS)

OF Michael Choice (10 HR / 38 BB / 58 K / .289 AVG / .389 OBP / .450 SLG / .839 OPS)

RHP Sonny Gray (82 1/3 IP / 79 H / 24 ER / 3 HR / 27 BB / 83 K / 2.62 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)

RHP Bruce Billings (66 2/3 IP / 63 H / 29 ER / 6 HR / 27 BB / 67 K / 3.92 ERA / 1.35 WHIP)

LHP Justin Thomas (73 2/3 IP / 81 H / 34 ER / 6 HR / 28 BB / 57 K / 4.15 ERA / 1.48 WHIP)


(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 33-36

Key 2nd Half Additions: RHP Drew Granier will be joining the RockHounds starting rotation from Stockton.

Top Hounds:

1B Anthony Aliotti (10 HR / 51 BB / 63 K / .362 AVG / .462 OBP / .573 SLG / 1.035 OPS)

OF Conner Crumbliss (3 HR / 22 BB / 14 K / .280 AVG / .405 OBP / .467 SLG / .872 OPS)

OF Jake Goebbert (12 HR / 24 BB / 54 K / .291 AVG / .362 OBP / .498 SLG / .860 OPS)

RHP Murphy Smith (83 1/3 IP / 78 H / 25 ER / 5 HR / 22 BB / 50 K / 2.70 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

RHP Zach Neal (84 2/3 IP / 83 H / 33 ER / 6 HR / 23 BB / 53 K / 3.51 ERA / 1.25 WHIP)

LHP Frank Gailey (28 2/3 IP / 26 H / 6 ER / 2 HR / 3 BB / 22 K / 1.88 ERA / 1.01 WHIP)


(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 38-32

Key 2nd Half Additions: RHPs Raul Alcantara, Ryan Dull and Tucker Healy will be joining the Ports pitching staff from Beloit.

Top Ports:

1B Max Muncy (18 HR / 49 BB / 46 K / .304 AVG / .414 OBP / .537 SLG / .951 OPS)

OF Rashun Dixon (6 HR / 21 BB / 44 K / .225 AVG / .362 OBP / .461 SLG / .823 OPS)

SS Addison Russell (7 HR / 27 BB / 67 K / .249 AVG / .332 OBP / .467 SLG / .799 OPS)

RHP Drew Granier (83 IP / 71 H / 30 ER / 5 HR / 40 BB / 97 K / 3.25 ERA / 1.34 WHIP)

RHP Tanner Peters (82 1/3 IP / 85 H / 40 ER / 16 HR / 17 BB / 76 K / 4.37 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

LHP Jake Brown (51 2/3 IP / 51 H / 26 ER / 7 HR / 10 BB / 38 K / 4.53 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)


(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 5-2

Record This Season: 43-27

Top Snappers:

2B Chris Bostick (9 HR / 30 BB / 55 K / .283 AVG / .366 OBP / .483 SLG / .849 OPS)

OF John Wooten (9 HR / 26 BB / 54 K / .285 AVG / .353 OBP / .446 SLG / .799 OPS)

3B Renato Nunez (13 HR / 15 BB / 72 K / .278 AVG / .327 OBP / .496 SLG / .823 OPS)

RHP Michael Ynoa (45 2/3 IP / 36 H / 11 ER / 2 HR / 14 BB / 40 K / 2.17 ERA / 1.09 WHIP)

RHP Raul Alcantara (77 1/3 IP / 84 H / 21 ER / 3 HR / 7 BB / 58 K / 2.44 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)

RHP Vince Voiro (51 2/3 IP / 53 H / 16 ER / 0 HR / 18 BB / 46 K / 2.79 ERA / 1.37 WHIP)

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.