So, draft day one recap, shortened version, because my employers actually expect me to work every now and then.
I’ve been told that there’s almost no chance that the M’s won’t sign Tui. They knew when they picked him that he wanted about $1.7 million, and they’ll give it to him with little haggling. The organization realizes the PR hits they’ve taken this year, and they won’t take another one by haggling over a couple hundred thousand dollars. He’s going to sign. My speculation yesterday was inaccurate.
So, how good of a prospect is he? He gets mixed reviews. There are a lot of things to kinda like, but nothing to love. His defense is probably good enough to handle third base, but a move to the outfield is also a possibility. He’s not playing shortstop in the big leagues. Offensively, he makes decent contact, has some power, and runs well enough, but he’s not a special hitter. He’s pretty raw, and likely a one-level-at-a-time guy, so don’t expect Tui to pull a Felix Hernandez and shoot through the farm system. When asked to compare him to Adam Jones, last year’s ridiculous #1 pick, every scout I asked preferred Tuiasasopo, but with the caveat that neither one is the kind of prospect you want to be the best guy in your system.
The rest of the days haul gets a pretty uninspired yawn. Robert Johnson is a defensive catcher who might hit .270 if he works hard and become a decent backup. Not a great value in the fourth round, and was projected as a 5th-10th round pick on most teams boards. More than one scout described this as one of the biggest reaches of the first day.
Mark Lowe is a Matt Thornton-like project who got drafted on velocity and arm strength. At least we didn’t take him in the first round, but the 5th round was probably too early for him as well. As a draft eligible sophomore, he has more leverage than most 5th round picks, and could go back to school if the M’s don’t offer above-slot money.
Jermaine Brock is a toolsy outfielder who was also scouted as a left-handed pitcher. Another longshot pick, but several other clubs liked his bat too, so the M’s weren’t alone in liking his upside.
Sebastian Boucher is a burner who can just fly. Think Jamal Strong with a worse bat. Probably signs relatively cheaply, so a nice pick in the 7th round.
Marshall Hubbard is just a hitter, and his drafting is a pretty big change from the M’s philosophies of the past, even if he was just an 8th rounder. He’s got a long swing from the left side that can drive the ball when he makes contact, but he’s got no value in the field and would get lapped by John Olerud in a footrace. He’s got a chance to turn into a player the A’s would like.
Steve Uhlmansiek was taken in the 12th round and could be an interesting sleeper. He was a top 5 round pick on talent, but blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch again until next summer, and most believed he’d return to school for ’05. However, I’m told there is a good chance the M’s get him signed for a reasonable amount. If they can get him for not-early-round money, its a bargain. This could be the best pick of the day.
The report on the rest of the picks is pretty similar; either easy sign college guys who will be organizational depth with no real future or long-shot high schoolers who aren’t likely to sign.
Considering the M’s didn’t have a pick until the late third round, they did okay. Not a spectacular draft, but an improvement over the abominations of the Frank Mattox era.