The Oakland A's selected Daulton Jefferies with the No. 37 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. The 20-year-old is a right-handed pitcher from UC Berkeley. This pick was part of Competitive Balance Round A, which follows the first round. Competitive balance picks are awarded via lottery to small-market and/or low-revenue teams.
Jefferies was limited to only eight games this season for Cal due to a strained muscle in his shoulder, but he was excellent when he did take the mound. He posted a 1.08 ERA in 50 innings, with 53 strikeouts and only eight walks. (Click here for full college stats.) Keith Law of ESPN praises his changeup in particular.
The shoulder injury definitely hurt Jefferies' stock, but Connor Letourneau of the S.F. Chronicle notes that the righty returned for a couple of outings at the end of the season: "Against Utah and Washington State last month, Jefferies showcased the accuracy and velocity that had once made him a likely first-round pick." Those early returns give hope that rest did the trick for his shoulder. John Sickels of Minor League Ball suggests the same.
Jeffries is on the small side for a pitcher, at 6'0 and 180 pounds. But between his size, his athleticism, and his bulldog demeanor, he draws comparisons to Sonny Gray (at least in terms of style; his upside is probably slightly lower than that).
MLB.com had Jefferies ranked No. 57 on their big board entering the draft, slightly above Baseball America's No. 61 ranking. Keith Law clocked in later at No. 73. Here is what MLB.com had to say about him:
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curve: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Despite his stature -- Jefferies is just six-feet tall -- he was moving up boards at the start of the spring as the most consistent performer among college pitchers in this Draft class. But after six dominant starts, Jefferies missed his first start in April with what was originally thought to be a calf strain. When news circulated that it was actually a shoulder issue, it threw his Draft status way up in the air.
When healthy, Jefferies uses a compact delivery that helps him bring fastballs up to 95 mph to the plate. He can add and subtract from his heater, sitting most comfortably in the low-90s. Jefferies throws his slider across his body, and it serves as more of a chase pitch right now. He doesn't use his changeup that much, but it has good sink and has been effective against left-handed hitters at times. A former shortstop, Jefferies fields his position very well and is extremely competitive on the mound.
Jefferies did return at the end of May to throw eight scoreless innings over two outings, which undoubtedly helped point him back in the right direction. If the medicals check out, a team could still take Jefferies early, thinking he could be a Mike Leake or Jeremy Hellickson-like undersized right-hander.
And the highlight reel!