The Oakland A’s may not know who they will be selecting in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, but history can narrow down the choices.
Sometimes, trends can dictate the way a team drafts. Certain front offices prefer to draft players from a certain conference, or lean towards college players over high school athletes. Some teams look for a higher floor, whereas other teams may gamble on a toolsy player and hope that everything clicks.
For the Oakland A’s, there has been a distinct trend in the MLB Draft. Over the past six years, they have selected a college player with their top pick five times, with Austin Beck being the one exception. This approach makes sense, as they looking for players that are theoretically more advanced and could impact the A’s at the major league level sooner.
It is a strategy that makes sense with the A’s financial approach. They tend to move on from players before they receive that large payday, a self replenishing prospect pool designed to save money and contend. Unless those players sign a team friendly extension, they will inevitably depart.
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One can already see the impact that those selections have had. Matt Chapman, the A’s first round pick in 2014, has established himself as the best defensive third baseman in the game. A.J. Puk is expected to be a key part of the 2020 rotation. 2015 first round pick Richie Martin spent 2019 in the majors, although as a Rule V selection for Baltimore.
Unsurprisingly, the players that the A’s have been linked to in the draft fit that profile. Recent mock drafts have the A’s selecting Bobby Miller, a right handed pitcher from Louisville, or University of Miami pitcher Chris McMahon. Both pitchers are considered to have a high floor, making them the type of arms that the A’s tend to gravitate towards.
There are holes in the A’s farm system. Once Puk and Luzardo have graduated, they will have only one left handed pitching prospect, Hogan Harris, amongst their top 30 prospects. It is possible that the A’s try to target a lefty instead of their typical plan on taking the best available player.
The Oakland A’s have gravitated towards college players in recent years. That may not change in the 2020 MLB Draft.