22. Brendan McCurry, RHP, OK State
Perhaps no player in the A’s 2014 draft class did more to elevate his stock during his pro debut season than McCurry did during his. The right-hander dominated at three levels and continued to shine during the A’s fall Instructional League. A former two-way player at OSU, McCurry turned to pitching full-time during his senior season and he starred as the Cowboys’ closer. He had an 0.38 ERA and a 54:8 K:BB in 47.1 innings.
McCurry was even better after he turned pro. He made one scoreless appearance in the Arizona Rookie League before jumping to Low-A Beloit. With Snappers, McCurry was nearly perfect. In 26.1 innings, he allowed just 12 hits, three walks and one earned run. He struck-out 34. McCurry finished his season with High-A Stockton, tossing a scoreless inning during the regular season and 2.1 scoreless innings in the post-season.
Using a variety of arm slots, McCurry mixes his secondary pitches well while getting good movement on his 88-91 MPH fastball. McCurry also features an excellent change-up, a solid slider and a slow curveball that is reminiscent of Arnold Leon’s high-60s offering that he featured when he first debuted with the A’s. McCurry drew some comparisons to current Mariners’ reliever Danny Farquhar, although McCurry doesn’t throw quite as hard as Farquhar. McCurry should start next season in High-A and he could be on a fast track towards the big leagues from there.
23. Collin Ferguson, 1B, St. Mary's – DID NOT SIGN
24. Dawson Brown, RHP, West Florida
The A’s selected the 6’6’’ right-hander after he put together a strong junior season at West Florida. In 80 innings for the Argonauts, Brown had a 1.80 ERA and a .195 BAA. He spent his professional debut season with the AZL A’s, pitching out of the bullpen. Brown tossed 19.2 innings in the AZL. He allowed 21 hits, but he walked just three, struck-out 16 and didn’t allow a homerun. Brown used a heavy sinker to induce more than 2.5 groundouts for every flyout.
Brown has a three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, change-up) with the fastball being his best pitch. Although he pitched in a relief role with the AZL A’s, Brown could be tried in a starter’s role next season. He will compete for a spot on the Low-A Beloit staff in the spring.
25. Joseph Estrada, CF, Colegio Hector Urdaneta (PR) – DID NOT SIGN
26. Rob Huber, RHP, Duke
After spending most of his first three years at Duke in the starting rotation, Huber moved into the bullpen for his senior year and caught the eye of scouts. Huber moved into a closer role with the Blue Devils and he notched 10 saves while striking out nearly a batter an inning. Command was an issue for Huber at Duke (18 walks in 38.1 innings), but he was able to pitch around it. Those command issues tripped Huber up during his pro debut, however. He walked 13 and allowed 27 hits in 21.1 innings with the AZL A’s, leading to an 8.02 ERA.
Huber pitched at the A’s fall Instructional League and made improvements with his command. He has a high-80s, low-90s fastball and two promising secondary offerings – a change-up and a 12-6 curveball. Huber gets a lot of groundballs, as well. The A’s spent much of his pro debut and Instructional League stint remaking his motion and he saw improvement by the end of the fall camp. If he can continue to smooth out his mechanics, he could make significant strides next season.
27. J.P. Sportman, CF, Central CT
Like McCurry, Sportman used his pro debut to catapult himself from a relatively unknown late-round draft pick to a legitimate prospect. Sportman had four solid seasons at Central Connecticut before turning pro. He got off to a slow start with the AZL A’s, but once he got going, he never looked back. Sportman hit .321/.414/.393 in 22 games with the AZL A’s before moving up to short-season Vermont. With the Lake Monsters, Sportman hit .301/.333/.408. He hit so well he was named to the mid-season New York-Penn League All-Star game despite joining the league late.
Sportman is a grinder with a good eye at the plate, the ability to use the whole field and the speed to handle centerfield. In many ways, he profiles similarly to current A’s centerfielder Craig Gentry, although he isn’t as fast as Gentry and has a little more power. Sportman should start next season in Low-A with a chance to move up to High-A by the end of the season.
28. Corey Walter, RHP, WVU
At West Virginia, Walter was always known as a prospect with potential, but control problems prevented him from reaching that ceiling. Walter has shown great improvement already since turning pro. In 27 innings split between the AZL and short-season Vermont, Walter posted a 2.33 ERA and he struck-out 27 in 27 innings. He also walked only 11 and three of those came in his final outing of the season when he was likely starting to tire.
Walter has a lively arm and his fastball sits in the low-90s, occasionally touching 93. He also has two effective breaking balls that he can use for out-pitches. He has improved his mechanics significantly since turning pro and the quality of his pitches has improved as a result. Walter should move up to Low-A next season.
29. Cody Stull, LHP, Belmont Abbey
Stull was one of the few left-handers selected by the A’s in this year’s draft. Stull pitched for a small collegiate program, but he more than held his own during his pro debut. In 18.1 innings with the AZL A’s, Stull struck-out 27 and posted a 1.47 ERA. He walked eight and didn’t allow a homer.
Stull isn’t a flame-thrower, but he can get his fastball up to 91 and he has some movement on the pitch. He also has a slider and a change-up. Stull will need to work the edges of the strike-zone to find success in the upper-levels, but if he can command his pitches, he has a chance to move up the ranks out of the bullpen.
30. Derek Beasley, LHP, USC-Aiken
Beasley came to the A’s after a collegiate career at Division II USC-Aiken. A starter in college, Beasley pitched out of the bullpen with the AZL A’s during his pro debut. He struck-out 21 in 18.2 innings and he allowed just one homerun, but he walked 11 and had a 6.27 ERA.
Beasley has a starter’s pitch mix, with a fastball that ranges from 88-91, a curveball, a slider and a change-up. He made some strides with his mechanics during Instructs and will come into spring training competing for a spot on the Low-A Beloit staff.
31. Tyler Schimpf, RHP, Capital Christian HS (CA) – DID NOT SIGN
32. Denz'l Chapman, CF, Junipero Serra HS (CA) – DID NOT SIGN
33. Michael Rivera, C, Venice HS (FL) – DID NOT SIGN
34. John Nogowski, 1B, FSU
Nogowski was an effective middle-of-the-order hitter for Florida State this season, so it was a bit surprising to see him last this late into the draft. He was ready to turn pro regardless and Nogowski turned in a strong pro debut. Nogowski spent a little more than a week playing in the AZL before he was sent out to Vermont. He hit .286/.324/.429 with the AZL A’s in eight games before moving up to Vermont, where he hit .259/.357/.329 in 158 at-bats.
Nogowski is an excellent defensive first baseman and he has a mature approach at the plate. The biggest question for him is whether he will be able to hit for enough power to stick at first base. He has a similar profile to current A’s prospect Anthony Aliotti and, like Aliotti did, should start his first full professional season at the Low-A level.
35. Austen Swift, CF, Bishop Allen Academy (ON) – DID NOT SIGN
37. Brock Lundquist, OF, Fountain Valley HS (CA) – DID NOT SIGN
39. Payton Squier, 2B, Greenway HS (AZ) – DID NOT SIGN
40. Bryson Brigman, SS, Valley Christian HS (CA) – DID NOT SIGN