Austin Beck Creates Excitement With Athletics' Workout
When North Carolina high school outfielder Austin Beck came for a visit to the Oakland Coliseum, he created quite a wave of excitement.
“It was as impressive a workout as I’ve seen in our stadium since I’ve been scouting here,” Athletics scouting director Eric Kubota said. “He hit in our stadium like big leaguers hit in our stadium.”
Beck clouted ball after ball over the wall during the workout, and he convinced the A’s to make him their top pick—sixth overall—in the 2017 draft.
“He’s got tremendous bat speed and a real upside with the bat,” Kubota said. “We felt that ability was unique to this draft, and to several other drafts. You don’t see a guy with that bat speed.”
Kubota believes that Beck can stay in center field, and the A’s grade his speed as plus, even as he continues to recover from ACL surgery to his knee. He was examined by a doctor and trainer when he visited Oakland to evaluate the injury.
Kubota said the workout was not the key factor in Beck's selection. More important were the scouting reports turned in from Neil Avent.
“We have him evaluated very highly,” Kubota said. “We love his ability. We think he has a talent with the bat that doesn’t come along very often. He’s a guy we liked all through the spring.”
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthanded hitter was nearly awestruck by his early selection.“I’m at a loss for words,” he said.
Beck hit .590 with 12 home runs in 28 games at North Davidson High in Lexington, N.C. The A’s also loved his intense competitiveness.
“I go out there and play as hard as I can, 110 percent, and do everything as well as I can,” Beck said.
Rule 5 Draft Protections Show Teams Picked Wisely In 2017, 2018
When it came to drafting, teams seemed to do better than normal in the first round of the draft recently.
The A’s followed by selecting speedy South Florida shortstop Kevin Merrell in the supplemental first round, then Louisiana State outfielder Greg Deichmann in the second round.