Oakland Athletics: Recent mock draft connecting A’s to top college pitcher

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The 2020 MLB draft is just a few weeks away, and a recent mock draft has the Oakland Athletics picking right-handed hurler Bobby Miller out of Louisville University.

With each passing day, clarity is beginning to take shape as bits and pieces of information are coming to the surface, and it seems that the Oakland Athletics will, at the very least, be targeting a starting pitcher.

With an abbreviated, five-round draft, teams are in an unusual position in that they will draft a bit more for need than usual. Prior drafts consisted of 40 rounds, and teams like the A’s could stockpile talent without having to consider its depth chart in too much detail.

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However, with only five rounds, the Athletics need to make these picks count, so they will likely focus on starting pitching.

Several publications including CBS Sports and the Baseball Prospect Journal have the A’s picking catching prospect Austin Wells out of the University of Louisville.

The old baseball adage is you can never have enough depth behind the plate, but with only five rounds this season, it does not make a lot of sense for the Athletics to draft a catching prospect since they already have one of the best catching prospects in baseball in Sean Murphy.

Outside of these publications, there is little agreeance on who the Athletics might take with the 26th overall pick. Though this is not surprising since scouting and evaluation are being done remotely, so there are not any leaks connecting a prospect to any one team.

Despite this, a recent mock draft by MLB.com has the A’s taking college pitcher Bobby Miller in the first round.

Jim Callis of MLB.com summarizes Miller’s scouting report.

"“A power righty complement to Detmers’ lefty polish at Louisville, Miller pairs a mid-90s fastball with a mid-80s slider and keeps getting better as he gets more acclimated to starting.”"

Louisville University has a stout 1-2 punch as both Reid Detmers and Miller are expected to go in the first round.

Prior to the COVID-19 hiatus, Miller was off to a strong start. After working out of the bullpen for parts of the last two seasons, the right-handed hurler worked strictly as a starter in 2020.

Across four starts, the 21-year-old posted a 2-0 record with a 2.31 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 23.1 frames. The Louisville product features a three-pitch mix that includes a power fastball, slider, and changeup.

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The fastball sits at 94-96 MPH, which the hurler has no problem maintaining due in part to his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame.

The slider grades as a plus pitcher when he commands it, but Miller struggles to command his secondary offerings. This could be due to the fact that his arm has relatively modest experience for a 3-year collegiate pitcher.

The MLB Draft is not one to draft for need, but the Athletics should consider that their competitive window is open so long as both Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are on the team.

The A’s have an enviable, young batch of starters with Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk sitting atop the rotation, but they will need more help.

As a college pitcher, Miller would need less development time in comparison to a high school arm, so he could reach the majors as Luzardo and Puk begin to mature.

If the A’s target an arm, a power pitcher is the type of arm they should seek. They have a couple of intriguing position players coming up the pipeline, but the pitching pool needs depth outside of Puk, Luzardo, and Daulton Jefferies.

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Miller has good upside for a team picking in the lower half of the first round, and the Oakland Athletics would really strengthen their future rotation by reeling in this right-handed hurler.