2017 MLB Draft Grades: Oakland Athletics
Best Pure Hitter: SS Kevin Merrell (1s) shot up draft boards this spring thanks in large part to his ability to consistently put the bat on the ball with his compact swing. His fast hands and elite speed help his feel for hitting further.
Best Power Hitter: OF Austin Beck (1) had some of the best tools in the draft class, including his significant raw power that comes from his premium bat speed. OF Greg Deichmann (2) also has plus raw power and built a strong track record of getting to it in games with 27 homers between LSU in the spring and pro ball.
Fastest Runner: Merrell is a top-of-the-scale runner and gets the most out of his speed. Beck is a plus runner.
Best Defensive Player: SS Nick Allen (3) is a gifted defender with an incredible feel to play shortstop. He doesn’t stand out physically at 5-foot-9, 155 pounds, but he has excellent hands and infield actions, as well as an above-average arm.
Best Fastball: After a pitcher-heavy 2016 class, the A’s didn’t take a pitcher until the sixth round this year and focused more on pitchability than power arms. LHP Logan Salow (6) runs his fastball up to 94 mph in short stints out of the bullpen.
Best Secondary: RHP Wyatt Marks (13) earned All-America honors at Louisiana-Lafayette this spring and averaged 15.17 strikeouts per nine innings, best in the country, thanks in large part to his above-average power breaking ball. Salow’s slider also grades out as above-average.
Best Pro Debut: OF Logan Farrar (36) opened some eyes with his performance after signing. He tore up Rookie ball for nine games, earning a promotion to the short-season New York-Penn League, and hit .341/.413/.495 overall. He showed a good approach at the plate and has some strength in his swing.
Best Athlete: Beck stands out as much for his athleticism as for any of his raw tools. He is a plus runner, has impressive strength and is capable of making highlight reel plays in all aspects of the game.
Ed Sprague Jr. Knows He Has Big Shoes To Fill
With longtime farm director Keith Lieppman retiring, Ed Sprague Jr. takes the reigns of Oakland's innovative player development department.
Most Intriguing Background: It was a family affair at Washington for OF Jack Meggs (10). Lindsay Meggs, his father, was head coach, and Joe Meggs, his older brother, was the Huskies’ director of operations. 3B Will Toffey (4) is the son of longtime baseball agent Jack Toffey.
Closest To The Majors: Merrell, Deichmann and Toffey are all advanced college hitters who could advance quickly in the minor leagues.
Best Late-Round Pick: Farrar got off to a strong start this summer. SS Ryan Gridley (11) does a lot of things well on the diamond and fits in well to the A’s class as an advanced college hitter. He likely profiles best as a utility player.
The One Who Got Away: Oakland signed all but six of their draft picks. OF Garrett Mitchell (14) was the first (and best) player not to sign. His pure hitting ability is still developing, but he is a potential five-tool player who could develop into a star at UCLA.