The Oakland A's had three picks in the Top 50 on Day 1 of the 2016 MLB Draft on Thursday, and they used all of them on college pitchers. Their selections:
No. 6: LHP A.J. Puk (Florida)
No. 37: RHP Daulton Jeffries (Cal)
No. 47: RHP Logan Shore (Florida)
The A's tend to take the best player available when they draft, so it's just a coincidence that they chose all hurlers with these picks, but the influx of pitching couldn't come at a better time. Oakland's rotation is in shambles right now, and while there are several promising prospects in the upper minors, you can never have enough arms. Since these guys are all college players, they figure to be less risky than high school teenagers overall, and they could be candidates to move up the system relatively quickly as well. A's Scouting Director Eric Kubota had this to say about the haul, via Melissa Lockard of Scout.com:
"It wasn't our intention going in [to take three pitchers], but the fact that these three specific pitchers were available, we were really excited," Kubota said. "We had all of them evaluated at one time or another as potential first-round picks. For them to be there at those three picks for us, we think this is a potential big step forward with our pitching depth and we are excited to see how their careers take off from here."
Here's a bit more on each player. Click here to revisit the Open Thread.
No. 6: A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida
Puk was a possibility to go No. 1 overall, so it was somewhat surprising to see him slip all the way to Oakland's No. 6 pick. Kubota was so happy to find him available that he "probably did a little jig to be honest." The 6'7 lefty has big velocity but questions about his command, with the whole package adding up to elite upside. John Sickels of Minor League Ball reports that Puk hit 99 mph this season, and he can operate in the mid-90s. His secondary pitches include a slider and a changeup that both have plus potential, according to MLB.com.
2016 stats: 15 starts, 3.21 ERA, 70 ip, 95 Ks, 31 BB, 6 HR
Slot bonus: $4,069,200
AN Poll: 93% approval rating (946 votes)
Avg pre-draft rank: 3.3 (MLB #4, BA #1, Law #5)
Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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No. 37: Daulton Jefferies, RHP, Cal
Jefferies was considered a first-round talent by some, but his stock was hurt by a strained muscle in his shoulder that cost him much of his 2016 campaign. He did return at the end of the season and looked like his old self, according to Connor Letourneau of the S.F. Chronicle, but the injury remains a concern for the time being. He throws a low-90s fastball, a slider, and a change, but it's his command and pinpoint control of those pitches combined with his aggressiveness and polish that lead John Sickels of Minor League Ball to suggest that Jefferies could be in the bigs within two years, profiling as a No. 3 starter.
2016 stats: 8 starts, 1.08 ERA, 50 ip, 53 Ks, 8 BB, 4 HR
Slot Bonus: $1,745,700
AN Poll: 75% approval rating (354 votes)
Avg pre-draft rank: 64.0 (MLB #57, BA #61, Law #74)
Hometown: Atwater, California
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Logan Shore, RHP, Florida
Shore was teammates with Puk in Florida, and Shore was the ace of the staff -- Puk's stock is higher because of how much more he can still improve. The right-hander throws strikes and has good command of his arsenal, which includes a low-90s fastball, a change, and a slider; John Sickels of Minor League Ball especially loves the changeup. Sickels envisions him as a guy who can reach MLB quickly, and both he and Keith Law of ESPN suggest Shore could be a backend starter who can top out as a No. 4.
2016 stats: 16 starts, 2.44 ERA, 92⅓ ip, 80 Ks, 15 BB, 4 HR
Slot bonus: $1,351,800
AN Poll: 83% approval rating (343 votes)
Avg pre-draft rank: 48.3 (MLB #42, BA #34, Law #69)
Hometown: Coon Rapids, Minnesota
#Athletics finish day one with Logan Shore, the righty from Florida. The A's may have picked up 3/5 of their 2018 rotation tonight.— Melissa Lockard (@oakclubhouse) June 10, 2016
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Day 2 of the draft kicks off Friday on 9:30 a.m., featuring Rounds 3-10.