The Oakland A’s 2019 draft class is unusual for a few different reasons.
Most obviously, the top of the class, Logan Davidson (1.29) and Tyler Baum (2.66), are more reminiscent of the team’s draft preferences from the early Aughts: solid college performers without plus carrying tools. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Andre Ethier, Kurt Suzuki, Huston Street say “Hi”) but it is a change from recent draft classes as I discussed in my draft preview, which showed a tendency towards position players with clear plus or better tools.
Maybe not as obvious, Logan Davidson signed for the full slot bonus of $2.4246 MM. This breaks from Oakland’s recent policy with non-Top 6 first round draft picks; Matt Chapman, Richie Martin, Billy McKinney, and even Kyler Murray, all signed under slot.
What I think is most interesting is that Eric Kubota, in an interview with The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard, predicts that the A’s will sign 39 of their 40 draft picks. This is rarefied efficiency and it includes 5 High School and 3 Junior College selections.
Quick primer: Each pick in the first 10 rounds has a predetermined slot value, and the sum of those values makes up the team’s bonus pool. For post-10th round picks, anything over $125,000 counts toward the pool. Spending more than 5% over your allotted bonus pool comes with penalties, mainly losing a future 1st-round pick.
With the 4th smallest draft pool, it’s clear that signability was of even greater import within this draft class. So, credit to the scouts for not just finding the younger raw talent but locking in what it would take to get them to sign. The team still has 2-3 (sources differ) draftees to sign, with high schoolers T.J. Schofield-Sam (12.374) and Jorge Romero (18.554) likely requiring over-slot bonuses to close the deal. The A’s have $212,295 remaining in their Pool+5% allotment, with any dollar spent beyond that penalizing their 2020 draft. THAT’S clearly not going to happen! But Kubota’s confidence in getting these players signed suggests Oakland has the necessary money.
When looking at Oakland’s 2019 Draft Class we need to accept that, due to a small budget and draft position, the A’s weren’t in an advantageous situation to add impact talent. What they chose to do was double down on their recent history of gambling on being able to fix any deficiencies with the Hit tool to produce two way threats:
- Logan Davidson and Drew Millas are switch-hitters that are projected to stick at SS and C, respectively.
- Marcus Smith (Run, Glove) Kyle McCann (Raw Power) Jalen Greer (Run) all possess at least one plus tool to go with questions about how well they’ll Hit.
- Tyler Baum offers 50’s and 55’s across the scout card.
- Seth Shuman and Colin Peluse fall under the college-trained-pitchability type that Oakland likes to stock in bulk.
- Jose Dicochea is a prep arm with low-to-mid 90’s gas and a delivery that some think will lead him to the bullpen. I hope to take a more in-depth look at these players and a few from Day 3 at a later date.
For now, for more on who all of these players are, check out our draft coverage: