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A’s Farm Report: Getting to Know A’s Top 11 Draft Picks

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A’s top pick Kyler Murray
Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

This week, I profiled the A’s top 11 picks in the first 10 rounds of the amateur draft on my Athletics Farm site. We also featured an interview with Nashville’s top reliever, Bobby Wahl, which you can find here.

Of the top 11 picks profiled below, the A’s have announced that they’ve come to terms with 8 of them: OF Jameson Hannah, LHP Hogan Harris, 1B Alfonso Rivas, RHP Brady Feigl, OF-1B Lawrence Butler, RHP Charlie Cerny, RHP Chase Cohen and RHP Clark Cota. Jon Heyman has reported that the A’s have reached agreement with top pick Kyler Murray, but the team has yet to confirm that.

After taking three position players with their top three picks on Monday, the A’s shifted their focus to college pitchers on the second day of the draft, selecting five college pitchers with their eight picks on Tuesday. And, overall, the team ended up taking five college pitchers, five college hitters and one high school hitter with its top eleven picks this year. So, let’s take a quick look at what we know about some of the team’s top new talent. I’ve yet to locate Lawrence Butler’s high school stats for 2018, so I’ve included his 2017 high school stats below…

#1 – 1st Round

Kyler Murray

Outfielder

University of Oklahoma

Age: 20 / Height: 5’11” / Weight: 195 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2018 College: 189 AB/10 HR/28 BB/56 K/.296 AVG/.398 OBP/.556 SLG

With their first pick in this year’s draft, the team took talented outfielder Kyler Murray, who also happens to be in line to be the University of Oklahoma’s starting quarterback – and he fully intends to spend this fall on the gridiron leading the Sooners. Of course, a college quarterback can frequently find himself in plenty of physical peril on the playing field, but the A’s felt that the risk posed by him playing football was outweighed by his upside on the baseball diamond. With Murray’s football commitments, he’ll miss the opportunity to play baseball this summer and in the instructional league, and he will begin his baseball activities with the organization during spring training in 2019. The A’s consider the 20-year-old to be the kind of unique talent that doesn’t come along very often. And while he clearly possesses a multitude of physical talents, most observers would probably define Murray’s speed as his most impressive tool. But he’s also shown plenty of pop, and he could have the potential to develop into a legitimate 20/20 player.

#2 – 2nd Round

Jameson Hannah

Outfielder

Dallas Baptist University

Age: 20 / Height: 5’9” / Weight: 185 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2018 College: 236 AB/6 HR/35 BB/35 K/.360 AVG/.444 OBP/.555 SLG

With their 2nd-round selection, the A’s went with a speedy 20-year-old college outfielder, Jameson Hannah, out of Dallas Baptist. Hannah successfully swiped 28 bases in 30 attempts in his college career. He’s also known for his smooth swing and his solid plate discipline. Hannah led his team in both doubles and triples while notching just as many walks as strikeouts with 35 of each this season. A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said of him, “We really like Hannah’s bat. We really think he can hit.”

#3 – Competitive Balance Round B

Jeremy Eierman

Shortstop

Missouri State University

Age: 21 / Height: 6’1” / Weight: 205 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2018 College: 212 AB/10 HR/25 BB/45 K/.292 AVG/.383 OBP/.533 SLG

With their third selection in the Competitive Balance Round B, the A’s took shortstop Jeremy Eierman out of Missouri State. Eierman was generally expected to be taken sometime late in the 1st round, and many considered him to be the top college shortstop in the draft. The 21-year-old possesses both power and speed. He hit 23 home runs in his sophomore season, stole 20 bases in his junior year and totaled more than 40 homers and more than 40 stolen bases over his college career. Eierman is also known for his exceptionally strong arm at shortstop, though there’s been some speculation that he might eventually end up moving to third or second.

#4 – 3rd Round

Hogan Harris

Left-Handed Pitcher

University of Louisiana - Lafyette

Age: 21 / Height: 6’3” / Weight: 230 lbs.

Throws: Left / Bats: Right

2018 College: 58 IP/52 H/17 ER/30 BB/54 K/2.62 ERA/1.41 WHIP

Harris was the top pitcher taken by the A’s in this year’s draft. He’s a big, strong southpaw whose fastball usually sits around 91-95 mph, though he’s been known to hit 98 mph on occasion. He also throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup. Harnessing his repertoire on a consistent basis can be a bit of a challenge though, and he can struggle with his command at times. Harris missed some time this season due to an oblique injury and has occasionally been sidelined with naggng injuries throughout his college career.

#5 – 4th Round

Alfonso Rivas

First Baseman

University of Arizona

Age: 21 / Height: 6’0” / Weight: 180 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2018 College: 225 AB/7 HR/28 BB/38 K/.342 AVG/.425 OBP/.529 SLG

Known as a solid contact hitter with the ability to get on base, Rivas led his team with a .342 batting average while also boasting a .425 on-base percentage this season. Scouts like his swing and his plate discipline, but it’s questionable how much power he’ll develop, and he seems to profile as more of a doubles hitter. Rivas is an above-averge first baseman in the field, but he’s also spent time in the outfield, so he could be an option both at first and in the corner outfield spots.

#6 – 5th Round

Brady Feigl

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of Mississippi

Age: 22 / Height: 6’5” / Weight: 215 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2018 College: 91.2 IP/91 H/41 ER/26 BB/93 K/4.03 ERA/1.28 WHIP

The big right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 before ever setting foot on the mound for Ole Miss. When Feigl returned to action in the 2016 season, he worked strictly as a reliever. In 2017, he split time starting and relieving. In 2018, Feigl worked strictly as a starter, and it seemed to suit him well. The 22-year-old made 16 starts, striking out 93 over 91.2 innings while posting a 4.03 ERA for the Rebels. Feigl features a 90-94 mph fastball that occasionally touches 96 mph to go along with a hard breaking ball and a solid changeup.

#7 – 6th Round

Lawrence Butler

Outfielder/First Baseman

Westlake HS, Georgia

Age: 17 / Height: 6’4” / Weight: 185 lbs.

Bats: Left / Throws: Right

2017 High School: 52 AB/2 HR/8 BB/9 K/.308 AVG/.400 OBP/.576 SLG

The only high school player taken by the A’s in the first ten rounds of this year’s draft, Butler is still just 17. He’s clearly talented but also very raw. Butler boasts a big, athletic build and possesses an explosive swing with clear power potential. He also has above-average speed. The talented teen will need to develop a more defined approach at the plate, but he has the potential to blossom into a well-rounded impact player. Butler has spent time both at first base and in the outfield, and he could represent a legitimate option at both spots.

#8 – 7th Round

Charlie Cerny

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of Illinois - Chicago

Age: 21 / Height: 6’5” / Weight: 230 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Left

2018 College: 55.1 IP/32 H/10 ER/12 BB/64 K/1.63 ERA/0.80 WHIP

Another big-bodied college pitcher taken by the A’s on day two of the draft, Cerny has worked primarily out of the bullpen during his three-year college career. He throws a 90-94 mph sinker and induces a lot of ground balls. Cerny also throws a slider and has shown good control, issuing just 12 walks while striking out 64 over 55.1 frames this season.

#9 – 8th Round

JJ Schwarz

Catcher

University of Florida

Age: 22 / Height: 6’2” / Weight: 215 lbs.

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2018 College: 203 AB/12 HR/28 BB/53 K/.325 AVG/.404 OBP/.601 SLG

Throughout his college career, Schwarz has primarily been known as a power-hitting catcher for the Gators. He’s certainly had the opportunity to handle a lot of top-notch pitching prospects, including A.J. Puk and Logan Shore, while at Florida. Schwarz has never had a reputation as a strong defensive catcher though, and he actually spent plenty of time playing first base this season. His power potential is his greatest calling card, and the 22-year-old led his team in doubles with 16 while also connecting for 12 home runs and putting up a .601 slugging percentage this season for the Gators.

#10 – 9th Round

Chase Cohen

Right-Handed Pitcher

Georgia Southern

Age: 21 / Height: 6’1” / Weight: 183 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Left

2018 College: 47 IP/45 H/23 ER/29 BB/60 K/4.40 ERA/1.57 WHIP

Cohen worked primarily as a starter during his freshman and sophomore seasons but worked mainly out of the bullpen this season, posting five saves for Georgia Southern. His fastball has reportedly been clocked as high as 98 mph, and he also throws a serviceable curveball and changeup. Cohen can look dominant at times, but command has been an issue. He struck out 60 in just 47 frames last season but also issued 29 walks. Over his three-year college career, Cohen struck out 201 and walked 92 in 194 innings for Georgia Southern.

#11 – 10th Round

Clark Cota

Right-Handed Pitcher

University of North Carolina - Wilmington

Age: 21 / Height: 6’2” / Weight: 220 lbs.

Throws: Right / Bats: Right

2018 College: 35.1 IP/17 H/8 ER/22 BB/47 K/2.04 ERA/1.10 WHIP

Cota was solid as the Seahawks’ closer this season, allowing just 17 hits while striking out 47 in 35.1 frames and posting a team-leading 13 saves. He lives off his fastball, which can touch 96 mph, and he also throws a 12-6 curve. But as a two-pitch pitcher, the 21-year-old basically projects as a bullpen piece at this point. Cota’s delivery can be somewhat deceptive to batters, but he’ll need to work on developing better command of his stuff in pro ball.

The A’s made their 11th-40th round picks on the third and final day of the draft on Wednesday. Here is the complete list of the team’s day three picks…

11th RHP Joe DeMers (University of Washington), 12th OF Noah Vaughan (University of Texas-Arlington), 13th RHP Dallas Woolfolk (University of Mississippi), 14th RHP Gus Varland (Concordia University), 15th RHP Calvin Coker (Auburn University), 16th RHP Bryce Nightengale (George Mason University), 17th OF Devin Foyle (University of Kansas), 18th SS Cobie Vance (University of Alabama), 19th C Matt Cross (Niagra County CC), 20th 2B Max Schuemann (Eastern Michigan University)

21st RHP Daniel Martinez (Riverside CC), 22nd RHP Aiden McIntyre (Holy Names University), 23rd 3B Jonah Bride (University of South Carolina), 24th RHP Dakota Mills (Sam Houston State), 25th OF Alonzo Jones (Vanderbilt), 26th RHP Leudeny Pineda (ASA College Miami), 27th OF Chase Calabuig (San Diego State), 28th RHP Reid Birlingmair (University of Illinois-Chicago), 29th LHP Austin Briggs (McNeese State), 30th 1B Gio Dingcong (St Thomas Aquinas College)

31st RHP Alex Pantuso (Slippery Rock University), 32nd C John Jones (North Greenville University), 33rd SS Joseph Pena (St Thomas Aquinas College), 34th 2B Nick Ward (West Chester University), 35th RHP Brandon White (Simsbury HS, CT), 36th RHP Chad Bryant (Pensacola State), 37th 1B Andrew Miller (Casa Grande HS, CA), 38th OF Austin Piscotty (St. Mary’s College), 39th OF Hudson Haskin (Avon Old Farms HS, CT), 40th OF Lyndon Weaver (Redan HS, GA)

Visit Athletics Farm for updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.