Athletics Draft Report Card

Analyzing Oakland's 2008 draft class




QUICK TAKE
The A's were more aggressive than ever, going well over slot money to sign Hunter, Dixon and Coleman and bolster an already strong system. Jemile Weeks was one of the best college athletes in the draft, while Ross could be a second-round steal.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: 2B Jemile Weeks' (1) quick wrists make him a more potent offensive threat than his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame might suggest. He batted .297/.422/.405 in 19 games at low Class A before straining a hamstring.  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: OFs Jeremy Barfield (8) and Rashun Dixon (10) both have considerable raw power. Barfield is more advanced as a hitter at this point, though both will need to make adjustments to handle upper-level pitching.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: OF Tyreace House (6), who was recruited in football and track coming out of high school, can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds at times. That's 8 speed on the 2-8 scouting scale, while Dixon grades as a 7 runner and Weeks as a 6.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Dusty Coleman (28) earned a $675,000 bonus in large part because of his offensive showing in the Cape Cod League this summer (he hit .330/.424/.480 in 100 Cape at-bats). The A's also think he can become a plus defender, thanks to his actions, arms strength and instincts.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Brett Hunter (7), who signed for $1.1 million, flashed a 100 mph fastball before an elbow injury caused him to slide in the draft. He was back up to 96 mph in instructional league. RHP Daniel Thomas (13) has hit the upper 90s as a reliever.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Tyson Ross' (2) slider, though he can fall in love with it too much. Hunter and Thomas have the best curveballs in this crop, while LHP Anthony Capra (4) owns the top changeup.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: SS Jason Christian (5) hit .294/.396/.424 with 13 steals while reaching low Class A. He has solid all-around tools for a shortstop.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: Oakland focused on athleticism in this draft, spending $600,000 to sign Dixon away from a football scholarhip from Mississippi State, where his brother Anthony is the starting tailback. Weeks, House and OF Chris Berroa (11) are also quality athletes.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Unsigned OF Brent Warren (27) came back from open-heart surgery in 2007 to re-establish himself as a prospect. Weeks' brother Rickie plays for the Brewers, while Barfield's brother Josh plays for the Indians and their father Jesse won an American League home run title and two Gold Gloves. RHP Ryan Doolittle's (26) older brother Sean was an A's sandwich pick in 2007.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Weeks, though Ross and a healthy Hunter could push him.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Nino Leyja (15) is athletic and has a good feel for hitting, giving Oakland a third legitimate shortstop prospect in this draft.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Warren has the ability to become a first-round pick after three years at Oregon State. LHP Nick Maronde (43) could do the same after attending Florida.