Oakland Athletics 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: Third baseman Zack Gelof (2) had a loud pro debut, hitting .333/.422/.565 across three levels and advancing all the way to Triple-A. He showed an advanced, all-fields approach.
Best Power Hitter: Gelof has hit a few balls quite a long way, but outfielder Denzel Clarke (4) has power at a different level. He is a massive, 6-foot-5, 220-pound hitter who should grow into at least 70 raw power, with the ability to mishit balls out of any ballpark.
Fastest Runner: In addition to that massive power potential, Clarke has gotten 70-grade run evaluations, which might be surprising if you didn’t know his mother was an Olympic heptathlete.
Best Defensive Player: Clarke’s toolset gives him a chance to be a special center fielder down the road, but shortstop Drew Swift (8) is a polished middle infielder right now who drew impressive reviews for his footwork, hands and above-average arm strength. Oakland is more bullish on shortstop Max Muncy’s (1) defensive potential as well, though many scouts prior to the draft were more skeptical of that side of his game.
Best Fastball: Righthander Mason Miller (3) ran his fastball up to 99 mph before the draft and he’s been up to 100 mph for the Athletics in instructional league. He’s got a big arm and comes at hitters over the top, typically sitting in the mid 90s.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Luke Anderson (15) pitched just three innings this summer in his pro debut, but the team was impressed with his curveball during instructional league. It’s a hard, tight downer of a breaking ball.
Best Pro Debut: A quick reminder—Gelof advanced to Triple-A in his first summer in professional baseball. That is quite hard to do and makes him an easy candidate for this category.
Best Athlete: Another quick reminder—Clarke has Olympic bloodlines along with an outrageous toolset and physical frame. He’s the easy choice fro this category and played a number of sports in high school (basketball, soccer, tennis, track & field) but the A’s believe Gelof has some deceptive athleticism as well.
Most Intriguing Background: Not only does Oakland’s first round pick share his first name with Dodgers infielder Max Muncy—he also shares the same August 25th birthday. Hopefully the commonalities don’t end there.
Closest To The Majors: Even though Gelof played just three games at the Triple-A level, he’s technically just one step away from the bigs. Miller has the three-pitch mix to start, but his power fastball also gives him a chance to be fast-tracked in a reliever role depending on Oakland’s needs.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Righthander Kyle Virbitsky impressed with his physicality (6-foot-7, 235 pounds) and intellect and he was challenged with a High-A Lansing assignment in pro ball, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings. He split time as a starter and reliever, but struck out 31.4% of batters and walked just 5.7%. All while being more than a year younger than the average pitcher in the league.
The One Who Got Away: Oakland signed each of its 20 draft picks.