Name: Chris Bostick
Drafted: 44th round in 2011
Pre-season Prospect Rank: 31
It's not often that a team finds a top prospect in the 44th-round of the amateur draft. In fact, the draft doesn't even go to the 44th round anymore (starting in 2012, it was trimmed to 40 rounds). Yet the Oakland A's may have found their second baseman of the future with their 44th-round pick in 2011.
Bostick has been on the radar since making his pro debut in 2011 and posting a 1136 OPS in limited action in the Arizona Rookie League. However, his 2013 campaign with the Low-A Beloit Snappers has solidified his status as one of the A's premiere position player prospects.
The Midwest League is notoriously tough on hitters. The league-average slashline for the MWL is currently .254/.328/.375. Bostick has well out-paced the league-average rates in his first taste of full-season baseball, posting a .290/.360/.465 line. He has shown both power and speed, connecting on 14 homeruns and swiping 25 bases. He has also been a run-producer, driving in 87 despite spending a significant amount of the season hitting out of the lead-off spot.
With only a few days remaining on the regular season schedule, Bostick ranks ninth in the MWL in OPS, eighth in SLG, 12th in triples and 15th in stolen bases. With two more triples, he will join A's top prospect Addison Russell as the only A's minor leaguers to collect double-digits in doubles, triples, homeruns and stolen bases.
Bostick was selected out of high school and turned 20 just before the start of the 2013 regular season. The league-average age for the Midwest League in 2013 is 21.3, so Bostick is roughly a year younger than most of the players who he has competed against this season.
The best may be yet to come for Bostick in terms of his development. A two-sport star in high school, Bostick didn't get to focus on baseball full-time until after he was drafted by the A's. In addition, he grew up in upstate New York, where the weather limited his time outside on the diamond. Bostick has demonstrated a high baseball acumen thus far and the ability to make adjustments and improvements. He has the raw athleticism and power to be a dual-threat at the plate and has shown flashes of plus-ability with the glove, although he still has work to do with his defense.
With Russell leading the way, the A's have a contingent of exciting, young middle infield prospects. Bostick is one of the best of that group and should head into next season as a prospect to watch in the A's system.