Friday marked Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, and teams made their picks for Rounds 3-10. The Oakland A's top picks came at Nos. 83 and 112 overall. Here are the players they selected:
3rd: Sean Murphy, C (Wright State)
4th: Skylar Szynski, RHP (high school)
5th: JaVon Shelby, 3B (Kentucky)
6th: Brandon Bailey, RHP (Gonzaga)
7th: Tyler Ramirez, CF (North Carolina)
8th: Will Gilbert, LHP (N.C. State)
9th: Dalton Sawyer, LHP (Minnesota)
10th: Mitchell Jordan, RHP (Stetson)
Jim Callis of MLB.com picked the A's as one of the five teams who found the most talent on Friday, with particular praise for Murphy and Szynski.
Combine that with the A's Day 1 haul, and it makes eight total pitchers taken in their first 11 picks, seven of them college arms. More importantly, they managed to rack up five consensus Top 100 guys according to the big boards of the major sources. Here are the average ranks of the top five picks (via MLB.com, Baseball America, and Keith Law):
|Pick #||Name||Pos||Avg rank||MLB||BA||Law|
Looking at it that way, three of their first five picks were steals at the spots they got them, and another (Shore) was picked just about exactly where he was supposed to be. The only real reach was Jefferies, but his recent injury (which he appeared to return from) certainly skewed his rank -- back in March BA had him at No. 20, and just after the injury Law had him at No. 32. What initially appears to be a reach might just have been the A's sticking with a guy whom others had given up on. The fact that he's a local guy from Cal (via Merced County) should help erase any remaining disappointment with this pick from a fan perspective.
Anyway, here are some scouting reports on the Day 2 picks.
Round 3: Sean Murphy | C | Wright State
2016 stats: .281/.408/.504, 6 HR, 23 BB, 16 Ks
Wright State played four games in the Regionals (Round of 64) of the NCAA Baseball Championship tournament. Overall Murphy went 5-for-15 with a double, triple, and two walks. In one of Wright State's two victories he contributed a two-run double in the decisive 1st inning.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Murphy generated almost no interest as an Ohio high schooler, going undrafted in 2013 and getting just one college offer, an opportunity as a preferred walk-on rather than a scholarship from Wright State. Three years later, he could become the second-highest pick in Raiders history, trailing only Brian Anderson, the No. 3 overall choice in 1993 by the Angels.
Murphy could have the strongest arm among the 2016 Draft's catchers, with multiple evaluators rating it as a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He's more athletic than most backstops and has the receiving and blocking skills to stay behind the plate.
His bat speed and strength give Murphy solid power potential from the right side of the plate. He opened 2016 by homering four times in his first eight games but cooled off considerably after breaking the hamate in his left hand, which sidelined him for six weeks. There are some concerns about his hitting ability because he never has posted big numbers at Wright State and he batted just .226 with wood in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Reaction to the pick:
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Round 4: Skylar Szynski | RHP | High School (Indiana)
According to @angdicarlowndu, A's fourth-rounder Skylar Szynski will bypass scholarship to Indiana and go pro.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) June 10, 2016
Clarification: Until @skylarszynski2 signs with A's (can't happen until Penn is done), option remains to go IU. Family keeping option open.— Angelo Di Carlo (@angdicarlowndu) June 10, 2016
Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels notes Szynski's good size (6'2, 210) and velocity (88-92, top 96), and suggests he could have gone as high as the second round.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Szynski threw a perfect game as sophomore at Penn High (Mishawaka, Ind.) and then won five playoff games to lead the Kingsmen to the state 4-A title as a junior in 2015. He boosted his stock with a succession of strong performances on the showcase circuit during the summer and fall, and he continued to impress scouts throughout his senior season this spring.
Szynski uses a quick arm and strong frame to generate consistent 90-92 mph fastballs and can reach 95. His high-three-quarters delivery enables him to stay on top of his hard curveball, a solid second offering. He also shows some aptitude for throwing a changeup, though it can get too firm at times.
Area scouts say that Szynski has a little less arm strength but better secondary pitches than Indiana high school righties Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson, both of whom the Royals selected in the first round a year ago. His control and command are improving, so there's little doubt that he can make it as a starter in pro ball. He's committed to Indiana.
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Round 5: JaVon Shelby | 3B | Kentucky
2016 stats: .212/.335/.470, 12 HR, 29 BB, 67 Ks
The A's picked Shelby at No. 142 overall. He was ranked No. 158 by MLB.com, but all the way down at No. 260 by Baseball America. He tested positive for Adderall right before the draft. Here's more from MLB.com:
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 40 | Overall: 45
Shelby has extensive baseball bloodlines. His father John played 11 years in the big leagues and is a Triple-A hitting coach in the Rockies system, and his cousin Josh Harrison is an All-Star infielder with the Pirates. His oldest brother (John III) starred at Kentucky, reached Triple-A and now scouts for the Brewers; another brother (Jeremy) played briefly in the Orioles system; and his youngest brother (Jaren) is the top prep position player in Kentucky this year, though scouts think he'd be best off following John III and JaVon's path to the Wildcats.
Shelby's offensive upside and athleticism made him a potential second-round pick entering 2016, but he has had a rough year with the bat and glove and is now a wild card. Though he has some of the best bat speed in the Southeastern Conference, he has swung through hittable fastballs and looked hopeless at times against offspeed pitches. He's still working deep counts and drawing walks, but he's swinging and missing too much to get the most out of his plus raw power.
After playing second base in his first two years at Kentucky, Shelby has moved to third base as a junior. He has the quickness and arm strength for the position, but lacks infield actions and has been erratic at the hot corner. He may have to move to right field in pro ball, which would put more pressure on his bat.
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Round 6: Brandon Bailey | RHP | Gonzaga
2016 stats: 16 games, 2.42 ERA, 100⅓ ip, 125 Ks, 31 BB, 4 HR
This profile from SB Nation's Gonzaga blog, The Slipper Still Fits, notes that his small frame (5'10, 170) gives him the profile of a reliever. It also mentions a low-90s fastball with a good changeup and a slider. He was ranked all the way down at No. 282 by Baseball America, but the A's took him at No. 172.
Bailey pitched against Arizona St. on June 3 in the Regionals (Round of 64) of the NCAA Baseball Championship tournament, and he posted a line of 7 innings, 1 run, 5 Ks, 1 BB to lead Gonzaga to their only win of the tourney.
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Round 7: Tyler Ramirez | CF | North Carolina
2016 stats: .333/.482/.540, 8 HRs, 50 BB, 54 Ks, 10 SB
He was ranked No. 193 by MLB.com and No. 211 by BA, so he was right where he was supposed to be at No. 202 in real life. Here's more from MLB.com:
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Ramirez is the type of player who's viewed differently by scouts and statistical analysts. Evaluators see a tweener with a small frame and no tool that projects better than average, while the numbers show that he has been North Carolina's best hitter the last two years and has contributed in every phase of the game. His consistent production should get him drafted in the first five rounds.
Ramirez employs a simple, compact left-handed swing and has good feel for the barrel. He can drive the ball from gap to gap and is willing to work counts and draw walks. He has average speed, runs the bases well and can steal one on occasion.
A three-year starter for the Tar Heels, Ramirez played right field in his first two seasons before moving to center this spring. While he doesn't have the typical quickness of a center fielder, he has good instincts and makes plays. He'll get a chance to stick there in pro ball, with his fringy arm likely making left field his fallback position.
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Round 8: Will Gilbert | LHP | N.C. State
2016 stats: 24 games, 2.22 ERA, 52⅔ ip, 62 Ks, 11 BB, 2 HR
Gilbert was a reliever for N.C. State, and saved six games this season. Like Bailey, he's got a small frame at 5'11, 170. He wasn't ranked on any big boards.
The lefty pitched once in this year's NCAA Baseball Championship tournament. With his team facing elimination in the finals of the Regionals (Round of 64), Gilbert came out of the bullpen in the 2nd inning and pitched the rest of the game, posting a line of 8 innings, 1 run, 9 Ks, 1 BB. N.C. State won that game against Coastal Carolina but lost the next one, ending their tourney.
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Round 9: Dalton Sawyer | LHP | Minnesota
2016 stats: 16 starts, 3.33 ERA, 94⅔ ip, 112 Ks, 42 BB, 6 HR
Baseball America ranked Sawyer No. 137 on their big board, but the A's were able to get him at No. 262 overall. He started Minnesota's opening game in the Regionals (Round of 64) of the NCAA Baseball Championship, but he was beaten by Wake Forest with a line of 6 innings, 5 runs (4 ER), 5 Ks, 2 BB. Here's more from Bleacher Report:
One of the more attractive senior signs among left-handed pitchers, Dalton Sawyer is an absolute steal for the A's in the ninth round. With a big 6'5" frame and a quality three-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball that sits 90-93, a changeup and a slider he has a good chance to remain a starter.
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Round 10: Mitchell Jordan | RHP | Stetson
2016 stats: 15 starts, 3.94 ERA, 80 ip, 75 Ks, 32 BB, 6 HR
Jordan ranked No. 418 on BA's big board, but made it up to No. 292 in real life. He started the opener for Stetson in the Regionals (Round of 64) of the NCAA Baseball Championship tournament, losing to Miami with a line of 7 innings, 2 runs, 4 Ks, 4 BB.
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Day 3 of the draft took place today (Sat.) and is mostly in the books, but we'll have more on the full draft class in the coming days. In the meantime, here are all the names.