Slick-Fielding SS Leads A's Picks 21-30

The Oakland A's went heavy on collegiate prospects with their picks 21-30 in the 2014 MLB Draft. We take a closer look at those players.

Texas Tech shortstop Tim Proudfoot was the A's 21st-round pick. Proudfoot will be playing in the College World Series with his Red Raiders' squad before deciding whether he will sign with the A's. The junior from Washington state had a big 2014 at the plate, hitting .324 with a .387 OBP after never hitting above .240 in his previous two seasons. Proudfoot's breakout offensive season came despite the fact that he missed 22 games early in the year after injuring his non-throwing shoulder during a February practice.

Proudfoot's biggest strength is his glove. He twice was named to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award watch list. Proudfoot committed only two errors in 204 chances this season and turned 31 double-plays. He has excellent range and a strong arm. If he can contribute on offense in the pros, he could move quickly given the quality of his glove.

In a year when the A's drafted several smaller right-handed pitchers, 22nd-round pick Brendan McCurry may come in as the smallest at 5'10'', 160 pounds. Size didn't stop McCurry from dominating the Big 12 this season, however. The senior went 5-0 with 19 saves and a 0.38 ERA in 47.1 innings. He struck-out 54 and walked just eight and allowed only 29 hits. Not bad for a pitcher who came to Oklahoma State as a second baseman.

McCurry's fastball typically sits in the 89-91 MPH range and he locates it well to both sides of the plate. He has an excellent curveball and a solid change-up that both served as strike-out pitches during the season. McCurry has excellent command and he is able to pitch backwards to keep hitters off-balance. He also changes his arm angle at times to create more deception.

The A's went with a local area prospect with their 23rd pick: St. Mary's (CA) first-baseman Collin Ferguson. Ferguson was ranked as the 17th-best draft prospect from Northern California this season by Scout.com's National Baseball Analyst Kiley McDaniel. The Santa Cruz native is the first Gael selected by the A's since Anthony Aliotti went to the A's in the 15th round in 2009.

Click here for complete coverage of the A's 2014 draft class.

Ferguson had a down junior season at the plate after two solid years as a freshman and a sophomore. He hit only .256/.343/.367 in 55 games this season after hitting .293/.355/.444 as a sophomore and .315/.366/.435 as a freshman. He did get a bit unlucky this season, as his BABIP was .289. Ferguson did improve his plate discipline in 2014, posting a solid 27:36 BB:K in 207 at-bats. A left-handed hitter and fielder, Ferguson handles the glove well at first and is a good athlete. He projects to hit for power as a pro.

Last season, the A's found a promising right-handed pitcher on the staff of Georgia Perimeter in Sam Bragg. The A's 24th-round pick Dawson Brown was part of that same staff in 2013. Brown transferred to Division II West Florida for 2014 and he had a 1.80 ERA in 80 innings for the Argonauts. He struck-out 61 and held opposing batters to a .195 average.

A groundball pitcher, Brown has a fastball that runs 88-92 with sink. At 6'6'', Brown has room to add velocity as he continues to develop physically. He also throws a slider and a change-up.

The A's used their 25th-round pick on Puerto Rican high school prospect Joseph Estrada. Estrada was the only player picked out of Puerto Rico by the A's this year. A 6'0'', 185-pounder, Estrada is a switch-hitter with good speed and above-average arm strength. He has played all over the field, including behind the plate and on the mound. He was announced as a centerfielder, but he could be considered at a variety of different positions if he signs.

Estrada has a solid build and a short, smooth swing from both sides of the plate. The 18-year-old has a commitment to Alabama State.

The A's took yet another collegiate closer with their 26th pick: right-hander Rob Huber of Duke. The 6'0'', 190-pound Texas native is a senior and should sign quickly. He saved 10 games for the Blue Devils this season, finishing fourth in the ACC in that category. An excellent student, Huber is majoring in computer science. He was a high school teammate of A's 2013 first-round pick Billy McKinney.

This season, Huber posted a 2.82 ERA in 38.1 innings in relief. He struck-out 37 but was a bit wild at times, walking 17. He allowed just one homerun. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he compliments that pitch with a curveball and a change-up.

A's 27th-round pick J.P. Sportman comes to the A's from Central Connecticut State. The centerfielder is a college senior and he tweeted on Sunday that he had signed with the A's. The upstate New York native had a solid career at CCSU, batting .339/.378/.504 with 30 stolen bases in 40 chances and 11 homeruns in 152 games.

Sportman grew up in the same area as A's seventh-round pick Branden Cogswell. Sportman is a sparkplug-type player offensively. He sees a lot of pitches at the top of the order and has the speed to disrupt a pitcher's rhythm when he gets on-base. He doesn't project to hit for a lot of power at the professional level, but he uses the whole field well and is an aggressive base-runner who can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He could start his career close to home with the Vermont Lake Monsters.

With their 28th-round pick, the A's went back to the mound with RHP Corey Walter from West Virginia. A senior, Walter was a swingman for the Mountaineers this season, starting five games and relieving in 12. He posted a 5.01 ERA and walked 20 while striking out 20 in 46.2 innings. The 6'3'', 205-pound right-hander pitched four seasons for West Virginia. His best season was his junior year, when he posted a 3.64 ERA in 66.2 innings.

Walter may not have posted impressive statistics during his senior season, but he has a live arm and could thrive under the tutelage of the A's minor league coaching staff. Walter's fastball can touch 95 and he gets a lot of movement on the pitch – sometimes too much movement, as evidenced by the number of walks he allowed during his career. His best secondary pitch is his slider. Improving his command will be the key for Walter as a pro.

The A's didn't draft many left-handed pitchers in this year's class, but two of the four the A's selected came with back-to-back picks in rounds 29 and 30. The A's 29th-round pick was Belmont Abbey College left-hander Cody Stull. The 6'1'' senior had a 6.86 ERA in 80 innings for Belmont Abbey this season. He struck-out 79 and walked 25. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 2013 as a junior.

Left-hander Derek Beasley of USC-Aiken was the A's 30th-round pick. Beasley led the Aiken staff with 94 innings pitched this season compiled over 15 starts. He had a 4.12 ERA and a 75:35 K:BB. Beasley allowed 10 homeruns.

Beasley is not a hard-thrower, rarely breaking 90 MPH on the radar gun, but he pitches aggressively to both sides of the plate and uses an array of off-speed pitches to keep hitters off-balance.


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