Draft Report Cards: Oakland Athletics





QUICK TAKE
The A's haven't had much recent success in developing their own position players, something they hope will change with the over-slot signings of Choice, Cabrera, Shipman and 3B Chad Lewis (4).
Bonus Spending: $5.0 million
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: OF Michael Choice's (1) most obvious tool is his power, but the Athletics think he has the bat speed and discipline to hit for average as well. Sweet-swinging OF Aaron Shipman (3) might have more pure hitting ability in the long run. » BEST POWER HITTER: Choice has power to all fields and 30-homer potential. He set a Texas-Arlington career record with 34 homers, then hit seven in a month at short-season Vancouver. SS Yordy Cabrera (2), 3B Tony Thompson (6) and 1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (9) all pack a lot of power. » FASTEST RUNNER: Shipman has plus-plus speed, and OFs Jordan Tripp (7) and Josh Whitaker (25) are close to matching him. » BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: C John Nester (39) is a good receiver with a strong, accurate arm and a quick release. Shipman's center-field defense needs more polish, but he has above-average range and arm strength.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Blake Hassebrock (8) sits at 92-94 mph and has more projection remaining than most college pitchers. RHP Tyler Vail (5), who currently throws 90-93 mph, may pass him in time. RHP Matt Thomson's (12) velocity spiked after he signed, peaking at 95 mph. Cabrera touched the mid-90s as a high school pitcher, but the A's envision him as a position player. » BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP A.J. Griffin's (13) changeup is an out pitch.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Thomson reached high Class A while going 4-2, 1.94 with 71 strikeouts in 51 innings. Kirby-Jones made the short-season Northwest League all-star team after hitting .259/.414/.466 with 14 homers and a league-high 61 walks. Griffin also earned NWL all-star recognition after topping the league with 15 saves. » BEST ATHLETE: Shipman. Besides his power, Choice also has plus speed once he gets going and Oakland will try to keep him in center field. » MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Unsigned 3B Bobby Geren's (36) father Bob manages the A's and played in the big leagues. Cabrera's dad Basilio manages in the Tigers system. LHP Ryan Hughes' (10) father Ernie was an offensive lineman on Notre Dame's 1977 national championship team and played five years in the NFL. » CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Choice will get the opportunity to begin his first full pro season in high Class A. Griffin, who sets up his changeup with an 88-92 mph fastball, will be on the fast track as a reliever. » BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Thomson, who got pushed to the bullpen on a talented University of San Diego staff. Oakland also has hopes for RHP J.C. Menna (14) and Hughes, who are raw but own plus fastballs, and offensive-minded 2B Ryan Pineda (28). » THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: 3B Scott Woodward (15) has the on-base skills the A's covet, along with speed and athleticism. He broke his foot while starring in the Cape Cod League and returned to Coastal Carolina.