This year the Oakland A’s went very college heavy during the draft with 30 out of the 40 draftees being collegiate players. By selecting college players, it is more likely that they will actually sign with the team and will work their way up to the minor leagues fairly quickly. This happened with current starter Sonny Gray who was drafted in 2011 from Vanderbilt University and and was called up in 2012 as well as relief pitcher Sean Doolittle who played for the University of Virginia and signed with the A’s in 2007. Four short years later he was pitching in the major league. So, who were the most promising draft picks of 2014 for the Oakland A’s?
The Oakland A’s first round draft pick is self proclaimed as the best defensive collegiate third baseman in the game right now. So could this be the Oakland A’s next Josh Donaldson? At Cal State Fullerton, Chapman is known for his power arm. He even use to pitch in high school and can throw up to 98 mph. With this kind of speed, he could have been a pitcher, but Chapman is looking to stick to the infield. Besides playing at third base, Chapman also has some experience at shortstop and second base. If he can prove his versatility, Chapman could become a great defensive infield asset for the Oakland A’s.
However, Chapman will need to work on his batting skills before he makes it up to the majors. Both Chapman and the Oakland coaches agree that Chapman has untapped potential when it comes to hitting. Hopefully he will be able to work with the minor league hitting coaches in order to reach his full potential. Chapman is prepared to work hard, and his love for the game could definitely propel him into the major leagues within the next few years.
This right-handed pitcher from Clemson University was the Oakland A’s second round pick of the draft. The Oakland A’s do lack some pitching depth in the minor leagues and this draft pick, along with a few others, will definitely help fill that void. Gossett has proven himself on the college level and has the ability to throw a lot of strikes. He was also selected as a First-Team All-ACC starting pitcher this year.
Gossett was Clemson’s ace pitcher. He went 7-2 this past season with a 1.93 ERA in 15 starts. Gossett struck out 107 over 107.1 innings pitched in 2014 – the most strikeouts by a Clemson pitcher in one season since 1996. Since he already has a solid fastball and the potential for a great change up, Gossett will need to work on a breaking ball in order to become a more well-rounded pitcher.
Fillmyer was the Athletics fifth round draft pick and another right-handed pitcher for the Athletics farm system. However, Fillmyer has experienced the draft before. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2013 but opted to stay in school and devote more time to pitching since he had only pitched a total of 7 ⅓ innings before he was first drafted. Fillmyer definitely chose wisely and went 9-0 during his sophomore year at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. This year, he only allowed 38 hits in 66 innings resulting in a 0.68 ERA.
Even though Fillmyer has only recently picked up pitching as his full time position, his natural talent shines brightly. This week, he was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year after his first full collegiate season of just pitching. He is a quick learner and will benefit greatly from being around the Athletics’ minor league pitching coaches.
After all the rounds were completed, the Athletics had drafted 18 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders. The Oakland A’s like their homegrown players and it seems as though they picked some keepers during the draft this year. It will be interesting to see who will break into the major leagues over the next few years especially since the Oakland A’s only have two current players whose contracts extends beyond the 2015 season.