Oakland Athletics: Final thoughts and preview of the 2020 MLB Draft

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics and the rest of the MLB are just a day away from the start of the 2020 MLB Draft.

The 2020 MLB Draft has officially arrived and the Oakland Athletics will join the rest of the MLB teams and take center stage tonight starting at 4 p.m. PST.

And given the continued uncertainty surrounding the state of the MLB season, we’ll take any baseball that we could get right now.

The A’s have long been a franchise built on developing young talent and competing through a strong farm system. But as it stands right now, many of the organization’s top prospects are set to graduate to the majors full-time in the coming months/years.

This is a pivotal time for the Athletics organization and this year’s draft will be crucial in continuing the franchise’s tradition of strong minor-league systems. And given the reduction of rounds from 40 to five, that task will be even more challenging.

Never has the phrase “every pick counts” meant more than today.

But where will the A’s pick? Who might they be targeting? We take a look at a final preview of the 2020 MLB Draft.

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Oakland Athletics’ 2020 MLB Draft picks

  • Round 1 (26th overall)
  • Round 2 (58th overall)
  • Round 3 (98th overall)
  • Round 4 (127th overall)
  • Round 5 (157th overall)

The Athletics will have the standard five selections to make with no compensatory picks gained — unlike the crosstown San Francisco Giants who have a league-best seven selections.

The A’s will have a disadvantage of picking pretty late in the first round for the second year in a row. Last year, the team selected shortstop Logan Davidson with the 29th overall selection.

The last time before 2019 that the A’s picked as late as 26th — not counting compensatory selections — was 2007 when the team selected Riverside, CA native James Simmons. The right-handed pitcher reached as high as Triple-A with the A’s but never made the majors.

Oakland will be hoping for a better result this season with their No. 26 overall pick.

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Who are the Oakland Athletics targeting?

There doesn’t appear to be one consensus player that the A’s are targeting. Rather there seems to be a “type” of prospect that fits with the organization is looking for. The general thinking is that the A’s will select a college player in the first round.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those who have paid attention to the Athletics’ drafting in recent years.

Seven out of the team’s last eight first-round selections have come from the college ranks if you include compensation picks. Even if you don’t include those picks, the A’s till have used just one first-round pick on a high schooler since 2014.

As for who that college player could be, there are varied results. But the players who have shown up the most in mock drafts have been Louisville right-handed pitcher Bobby Miller, Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue, and Arizona catcher Austin Wells.

Miller has been connected to the A’s for quite a while and recently showed up in MLB Pipeline’s latest mock draft. Meanwhile, Wells made an appearance on Keith Law’s final 2020 MLB Mock Draft.

Below is a list of other prospects who have recently been mocked to or connected with the Athletics.

  • Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
  • Jordan Westburg, SS, Mississippi State
  • Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
  • Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami
  • Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel High School (Illinois)
  • Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
  • Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East High School (Pennsylvania)

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Final notes for the Oakland Athletics

Fortunately for the A’s, this year’s draft class is considered to be pretty deep. In particular, it’s expected to be deep at a position that should interest the A’s — college pitching.

The Athletics have graduated the majority of their top pitching prospects with both Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk on the cusp of becoming full-time major-leaguers. That’s left their pitching depth pretty thin.

And given the team’s favoritism towards college prospects and their obvious need at the position, don’t be surprised if the A’s land at least one or two college pitchers with their five selections.

It’s also interesting to note that the post-draft process will be different than in recent years. Considering there are only five rounds, there should be a mad scramble for plenty of talented prospects who went undrafted in this shortened draft.

Teams will be lining up for many of those prospects, but don’t expect the A’s to do much calling. As always, Oakland will be operating on a tight budget which will likely restrict their post-draft moves.

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It’s going to be a critical draft for Oakland Athletics’ franchise — one that they can ill-afford to miss on.