With the draft coming up in July, I already started thinking about the A's picks. I am dissapointed in dropping to 6th like all of us, but at least it can be more interesting, instead of assuming we get Crews we now wonder, Clark? Gonzalez? Wilson? I will look into the first 4 picks for Oakland, as further down there will be too many options to look at for me.
In general, A's like taking risks and will probably be looking at hitters with power potential, so I will look at candidates for each pick. I will start diving into college arms more in the 3rd round.
We can all assume Dylan Crews, Langford and Dollander will be probably taken, so let's look at other options. Max Clark would probably be the dream choice as a 5 tool potential player, very athletic and seems like a cool guy with a high baseball IQ. I think he will be taken before we get to #6, so that would leave us with Jacob Gonzalez, Jacob Wilson and Walker Jenkins. I think all of them would be solid picks. Jenkins seems like he will be available as a player with injury history, who is still only 17 and has a long way before reaching the majors, but it would seem kind of a similar pick to Clark as the 2 players are competing with each other. Wilson is another intriguing player who almost never strikes out and has 65 as his hitting tool, so the great plate discipline could be a factor driving him to Oakland. And hey, he would not be the first Jacob Wilson in Oakland. Gonzalez also has a really good plate discipline, 50 walks in a season is impressive and he seems to have more power than Wilson. He is also considered a better defender according to MLB Pipeline, so probably he beats the other Jacob.
It is still really early, but for now I think Clark would get picked above Gonzalez, and Gonzalez would get picked above Jenkins or Wilson. The question becomes, what if both Clark and Gonzalez get taken, Wilson vs Jenkins? I think I heard Jonathan Mayo talking about Wilson like one more good season and he could be taken 1st overall, so I think it would be Wilson.
Picks #39 and #41
This gets trickier and harder to predict. Last year around 9 out of the top 39 from the mlb pipeline were available when the team with the #39 pick were on the clock. I also looked at prospectslive list, so I can probably assume guys like Jack Hurley, Arjum Nimmala, Colt Emerson or Tommy Troy and others in the top 20 and there abouts will not be available. I'd like to have the Gelof brothers together and in fact I asked Jonathan Mayo about the possibility of the A's drafting him at #39. He praised him a lot and said that with a good season in a college like Virginia this is a 1st rounder. Maybe teams viewing him as 1B/DH only could make him available for the A's, watching his highlights the power gives Vladito vibes - what seems to be a routine flyball turns into a HR.
Another option is Colin Houck, comes from the same high school as Matt Olson, all tools at least 50 or higher with power at 55, and already turned down a chance to play football. With more time for baseball he could unlock some potential, question if he is available. More risk could be involved with OF Jonny Farmelo, who is commited to Virginia, but similar to Houck has all tools at 50 or higher. SS Cooper Pratt is another one of those, with him getting compared to Gunnar Henderson, but there is a good chance he will not be available. OF Dillon Head is really fast with a 55 hit tool and good bat speed, so there is potential, but the power is limited.
Further down the ranking I see outfielders Chase Davis and Ryan Lapko as other candidates. Both have power tool 55, seem to be good athletes, Lapko is my sleeper pick as someone sorth keeping an eye on. Eric Bitonti is another interesting player in consideration, who could be more riskier than a Mitch Jebb and seems more of an Oakland type of a pick. I don't think the A's will totally ignore pitchers, but I don't see anyone standing out in that stage.
From all of the guys mentioned, this would probably be my personal ranking: Cooper Pratt, Jake Gelof, Colin Houck, Ryan Lasko, Jonny Farmelo (due to his commitment), Dillon Head, Chase Davis, Eric Bitonti, Mitch Jebb
Now this is getting harded to predict, I think there is a good chance of drafting a college arm. I don't expect Brandon Sproat or Patrick Reilly to be available, but maybe Wyatt Crowell, Ross Dunn Alonzo Tredwell, Hunter Hollan or Ty Floyd will end up as that pick for the A's, I don't really see a new Mason Miller in the draft, maybe TJ Nichols could be the closest arm to him and I would like him more than the guys mentioned.
Looking at hitters, 2B Luke Keaschall is a player that got hot, and the A's like to gamble on improvements. Nolan McLean is an interesting 2 way player who comes with injury risk. SS George Lombard could be one of the better players available, but he may go to Varderbilt, SS/OF Brandon Vinokur is another option, it seems like the potential will be in high school players in that stage, but you have to be convinced these players will sign the contract.
The A's need to master this draft and repeat the 2021 success: Muncy, Gelof, Clarke, Miller, Harris. In this draft Oakland will be drafting higher, and could use that advantage in every round, as they should have more players of their preference available because of this order every single time. Maybe they could end up getting Clark, Pratt, Gelof and Nichols, which probably most of you would not complain about it. A lot of the times we can hear comments about the players A's picked: we were not expecting such a talented player to be available in that stage of the draft, this could also be the case this time, and it only takes 1 guy out of the group of: "for sure won't make it to that stage" for the A's to have a possibility of a nice surprise. I didn't pay that much attention to positions and the A's don't have to hurry with college bats. Max Clark could be ready for 2027, when hopefully Howard Terminal is being completed. A's could surely draft another catcher, if Blake Mitchell or Kyle Teel become available at #39, that is something to consider. I also feel like some of the picks could play a role as trade chips for the 2025 or 2026 season, so I would not worry about fitting these prospects to the future A's team.
I will come back to this article later in the year and laugh.