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Athletics Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: RHPs Mike Ziegler (14) and Richie Rodarmel (40) were outstanding in the short-season Northwest League. Ziegler went 3-0, 1.27. Rodarmel went 1-0, 1.17 with 10 saves. SS Freddie Bynum (2), Oakland’s first pick, batted .256 with 22 steals to earn top prospect honors in the NWL.

Best Athlete: Bynum, who had a low profile before he was drafted out of Pitt County (N.C.) CC. His speed and arm are plus tools, and he has the strength in his hands and wrists to develop decent power for a middle infielder.

Best Hitter: OF Daylan Holt (3) has a feel for hitting, though his aggressive nature stands out in an organization that preaches the virtues of patience at the plate. Holt will need to learn the strike zone to hit for average at higher levels.

Best Raw Power: Holt led NCAA Division I with 34 homers in 1999 before dipping to 15 as a junior last spring. He’s a good athlete, combining his offensive ability with a quality right-field arm and average speed.

Fastest Runner: Bynum goes from the left side of the plate to first base in 3.9 to 4.0 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Bynum has the range and arm to make highlight plays at shortstop, but he must improve his consistency. 3B Marshall McDougall (9) is a more solid defender with a strong arm and good hands.

Best Fastball: The A’s emphasize pitching savvy and command more than most organizations, and they didn’t sign any power arms. RHPs Kevin McGerry (4), Marcus Gwyn (7), Kyle Crowell (8), Ziegler, Chris Scarcella (16) and Rodarmel all peak in the low 90s. Ziegler probably throws harder more consistently than the others.

Most Intriguing Background: In 1999, McDougall set an NCAA record with a six-homer game and won the College World Series MVP award. C John Suomi (22) was the first player ever drafted from the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, B.C., which has earned him the nickname Bullwinkle.

Closest To The Majors: Gwyn or Ziegler, the most polished of the pitchers. Gwyn also pitched well at Vancouver, going 2-1, 2.86 with a 31-2 strikeout-walk ratio in 28 inings.

Best Late-Round Pick: Ziegler. OF Chris Tritle (19) is raw but has a lot of upside.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Kenny Baugh (5), a college teammate of Gwyn, returned to Rice for his senior season. RHP Kip Bouknight (21) led Divison I with 17 victories despite marginal stuff. He’s back at South Carolina for his senior year.

Assessment: Giving up a first-round pick to sign free-agent middle reliever Mike Magnante made no sense, and the move looked worse when the Angels used that choice to get righthander Chris Bootcheck. The Athletics didn’t spend much money on the draft. Bynum got the largest bonus at $495,000, the third-lowest figure among second-rounders.

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