2023 MLB Draft Preview: Oakland A's history, targets, intel

2022 MLB Draft, Oakland Athletics
2022 MLB Draft, Oakland Athletics / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The MLB Draft will take place this weekend, from July 9 to July 11, and it will be held inside Lumen Field in Seattle in parallel with the All-Star events scheduled for the next few days.

The Oakland Athletics weren't lucky in the draft lottery, ending up in the sixth-overall spot, but they will have two other picks on top of that one inside the top-41 slots this weekend: the 6th, the 37th, and the 41st picks are in possession of the A's.

This class is widely acknowledged as a deep one, which means that picking outside of the top-5 while having a couple of more top-ish picks might actually not be the worst possible news for the A's.

The depth of this year's first round can be attributed to the impact of the pandemic three years ago, which resulted in a five-round draft and led many top high school prospects to choose college over professional baseball.

Oakland A's Farm System

MLB Pipeline ranked the A's farm system in a below-average 22nd position before the season, back in March. Truth be told, it's stayed around that place for a few seasons, leaning more toward the bottom of the pack than higher up the list.

The majority of the franchise prospects are position players, as that's what the organization has focused on along with developing good hitters through the draft and their minor-league ranks instead of chasing and drafting hurlers, starters, relievers, and any type of pitcher.

In fact, there are only three pitchers in the A's Top-10 prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline's scouting department. Two of them, Mason Miller and Freddy Tarnok, have already made their MLB debuts, thus having a lower upside than those still to crack the system.

Oakland A's Drafting Trends

The A's have usually prioritized drafting position players before arms. There is a glaring need for more pitchers entering Oakland's farm system, and with such a deep class as that featured in the 2023 draft, the A's might find themselves in a prime position to do exactly that.

With most scouts having near-consensus top-five prospects and the A's picking sixth, odds are they miss out on getting a member of that presumed cream-of-the-crop group.

That said, bonuses might factor into the decision of at least one of those top-five drafting teams forcing them to pass on a super prospect and opening the door for the A's to pounce.

Known as a franchise that usually goes with a "best player available" approach to drafting prospects, expect the A's to pick the best talent around when Rob Manfred calls their name in sixth place.

Don't get that wrong, the BPA strategy, even more in baseball, tends to yield the best results considering that prospects take literal years to develop into what they ultimately become once they reach MLB-level play.

Oakland has the fifth-highest bonus pool in the draft, (slightly over $14 million), and the A's have usually taken risks by ponying up the cash to land whoever they thought had the biggest upside and chances of making it through the organization. That's true, even for this historically cheap ownership and franchise!

Oakland A's Draft Targets

Melissa Lockard of The Athletic recently wrote a piece on the A's draft plans. In it, she mentioned two potential targets worth considering by the A's: one position player, and one pitcher.

Lockard highlighted Virginia's catcher Kyle Teel as a potential target if Oakland wants to keep drafting batters. Locklard pointed out Teel's "impressive offensive performances" in the College World Series.

When it comes to pitchers, and assuming top prospect Paul Skenes would have already been picked by someone else when the A's moment come, Lockard thinks Wake Forest's RHP Rhett Lowder could be an interesting option to explore. According to the reporter's information, the pitcher has "garnered attention from scouts for some time," and Oakland has kept a close eye on WF for years.

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