Draft Reviews: Oakland Athletics

2008 Draft Slot: 12th overall
Top Pick: Jemile Weeks, 2B, University of Miami
Best Pick: Jemile Weeks
Keep an Eye On: Jeremy Barfield, OF, Texas junior college (Eighth round)
Notes: Son of Toronto great Jesse and brother of Cleveland’s Josh, Jeremy Barfield has good bloodlines and plus arm strength that would make his father proud. He’s only appeared in 11 low-A ball games so far this year but he’s started well with a .359 average and four homers. Barfield, 20, also had a solid debut and may have slipped a bit in the draft due to some makeup concerns. Jemile Weeks, brother of Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks, has yet to appear in a regular season game due a hip injury, although he is expected back by the end of May. Given that speed is a big part of his game, it remains to be seen what kind of long-term impact the injury will have, if any. Prep outfielder Rashun Dixon (10th round) is another player to keep an eye on, although he’s very raw.

2007 Draft Slot: 26th overall
Top Pick: James Simmons, RHP, UC Riverside
Best Pick: Sean Doolittle, 1B/OF, University of Virginia (Supplemental first round, 41st overall)
Worst Pick: Grant Desme, OF, Cal Poly U (Second round)
Notes: With five picks before the third round, the A’s picked up some minor league depth, as well as a few players who could make an impact in Oakland before too long. The draft would have been even better if the club had been able to come to terms with Daniel Schlereth, who went to Arizona 26th overall in ’08, Collin Cowgill, who was also drafted by Arizona in ’08, and Seth Blair, who headed to Arizona State University and could be a top pick in 2010. Already 23, Grant Desme is currently playing in low-A after appearing in just 14 games during his first two seasons, due to injuries. Even if he can get back on track, he needs to move quickly. RHP James Simmons was supposed to move quickly but hasn’t and should top out as a No. 3 or 4 starter. The excitement over Sean Doolittle has been tempered a bit now that he’s posted modest numbers at both double-A and triple-A.

2006 Draft Slot: 66th overall (Second round)
Top Pick: Trevor Cahill, RHP, California high school
Best Pick: Trevor Cahill
Worst Pick: Matt Sulentic, OF, Texas high school (Third round)
Notes: When you lack picks before the second round, you need to make the most of the choices you do have. Oakland did a nice job with Trevor Cahill, who is already in the rotation, but Matt Sulentic hasn’t looked all that good outside of his debut season in 2006. He’s still young (21), though, and hit .309 last year in high-A ball (in a good hitter’s park). Andrew Bailey, currently working out of the A’s bullpen, was a nice find in the sixth round.

* * *

2009 Draft Slot: 13th overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): College bats or prep arms
MLB Club Need: Third base, First base, Starting pitching
Organizational Need: Center field, Third base, Left-handed pitching
Organizational Strength: First base, Second base, Right-handed pitching
Notes: Thanks to the free agent signing of Orlando Cabrera, the A’s will be in unfamiliar territory this season: The club will not have any supplemental picks and it lacks a second round selection. The organization will really be tested to find quality over quantity as this is a similar situation to 2006, when the club still managed to nab MLB starter Trevor Cahill with its first pick (second round) and reliever Andrew Bailey in the sixth round.





Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Choo
13 years ago

I never understood why Sulentic was sent back to short A (Vancouver) in 2007 after tearing it up the previous season (.354/.409/.479). Was it his glove? Was he a victim of organizational depth? I watched him play a couple of times in 2006 and his polished hitting approach really stood out. That’s why I was surprised to see him back with Vancouver in 2007. He appeared a bit disheartened but still showed a mature approach and his teammates hammered him with questions throughout the game.

Todd Brown
13 years ago
Reply to  Choo

He was sent back to Vancouver after an atrocious start at Kane County. The A’s were wise to keep him away from the MWL last season, instead allowing him to play in the hitter friendly Cal League.