Round 19 (577)
Ryan Ruiz, SS, UNLV, R/R, 5'8", 180, age 23.
Ruiz displayed an excellent eye for the strike zone and (once again) an ability to get on-base for the Runnin' Rebels. After a superb debut season in 2002 (.326/.440/.601, 10 HRs, 42 BB, 44 K), Ruiz slumped a bit in 2003 (.296/.374/.527, 9 HRs, 16 BB, 47 K), especially with his plate discipline. Ryan was able to rebound in 2004 with a .389/.517/.643 line, along with the return of his batting eye (38 BB, 28 K). Another solid late round pick for the A's to add depth to their middle infield.
Robert Semarano, RHP, Fordham, 6'1", 185, age 23.
Why was Semarano drafted? Definitely not for his ERA, which was a combined 5.88 in 87 innings in 2003-04 (he sat out 2002 with an injury). His K/BB rate, homerun rate, and hit rate are also nothing to write home about. The answer: his strikeout rate (a staple of other A's draft picks in the past). 85 Ks in 87 IP. Semarano throws a fastball in the low 90s, and throws a cut fastball, slider, and circle change, while fielding his position well. If he can learn some control, the strikeout rate is an indication that his stuff is good enough to compete.
Round 21 (637)
Chalon Tietje, OF, Cal Poly State Univ., R/R, 6'1", 195, age 22.
He hasn't displayed much power for an outfielder, but hits the ball well and adds to the broken record theme of the A's draft picks: "Gets on-base, draws walks." Tietje hit .379/.450/.542 in 2004 with a 42/32 K/BB ratio. Only 5 homeruns, though, so it remains to be seen whether Tietje can develop enough power to be a bonafide prospect.
Round 22 (667)
Ryan Jones, OF, Eastern Carolina, L/L, 5'10", 180, age 23.
MLB.com lists Jones at 5'10", but unless he grew 3 inches over the course of the 2004 season, he's more like 5'7". Jones hadn't done much until 2004 except get on-base a bit and walk more than he struck out, hitting .260/.377/.322 with a 31/34 K/BB ratio in 2002 and .264/.336/.370 with a 22/20 K/BB ratio in 2003. None of that would have given anyone reason to predict the ridiculous season Jones had in 2004: .402/.510/.828(where did that SLG come from??) with 19(!) HRs (only 7 combined in the previous 2 years), along with a 34/40 K/BB ratio (the only thing that could have been predicted). Did Jones turn the corner? For a player that has been linked with the OBP-conscious A's for a while now, Oakland is hoping the answer is yes.
Round 23 (697)
Shawn Martinez, RHP, Colorado State University-Pueblo, 6'3", 235, age 22.
The potential was there for Martinez in 2003: 76 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings, but the ERA was not (5.99), even though Shawn went 9-2 that season. True to form, his high strikeout rate led to a low 2004 ERA, as well as an improved strikeout rate in 2004. Martinez went 12-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 93 1/3 innings, and struck out 95 batters. He might face some trouble adjusting from competition in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but the high K rate indicates he may have the ability to do so.
Round 24 (727)
Dallas Braden, LHP, Texas Tech, 6'1", 185, age 21.
Can Braden avoid the longball? That's the big question with him: he gave up a ridiculous 13 dingers in 98 2/3 innings in 2004, or 1.19/9 IP. His strikeout rate is high (93 Ks), but the homeruns contributed in a big way to his 4.56 ERA. Dallas controls the strike zone well – 4.43 K/BB ratio – and if he can cut down on the homeruns, he has a chance to be a contributor.
Round 25 (757)
James Conroy, RHP, Illinois, 6'3", 185, age 22.
Conroy hasn't pitched a lot at Illinois, throwing a career-high 57 innings in 2004 after pitching a combined 52 2/3 innings in 2002-03. What the A's like about him is that his strikeout rate and command have improved each year, from .60 K/IP and a 1.2 K/BB ratio in 2002 to .86 K/IP and a 4.9 K/BB ratio in 2004. His ERA's been reasonably low, in line with his peripheral stats. Again, Oakland is hoping that his high strikeout rate and low walk rate correlate with future success.
Round 26 (787)
Steven-Ryder Carter, RHP, Coastal Carolina, 6'2", 220, age 24.
Carter is similar to Dallas Brayden; high strikeout rate, high homerun rate. Since 2001, Carter has struck out 389 batters in 450 innings against only 139 walks. Unfortunately, he's also given up 41 homeruns in those 450 innings, including 30 in his last 2 years, resulting in an ERA (4.08 in 2003-04) higher than the strikeout rate suggests. The A's will try to curb Carter's gopherball tendencies in their farm system.
Round 27 (817)
Clayton Turner, RHP, Northwestern State, 6'0", 190, age 22.
Another high strikeout, low risk pitcher. At this point in the draft, it seems like the A's are drafting solely on strikeout rate and potential. Here, Oakland is hoping that Turner can turn out like another Demon alumni, Brian Lawrence of the San Diego Padres. Turner's had control problems throughout his career at Northwestern State, walking 64 batters in 134 innings, but he's struck out 133 batters, as well. His control did improve in 2004; Turner may be a draft-and-follow pick, who the A's watch during the summer to continue to monitor his improvement.
Round 28 (847)
Andre Piper-Jordan, OF, Everett CC, R/R/, 6'0", 195, age 21.
There are not a lot of statistics available for Piper-Jordan, a former wide receiver at Eastern Washington, but he did lead the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in stolen bases in 2004, with 37, and hit .327. Andre did not exhibit any power, with only 6 extra-base hits (4 doubles, 2 triples, 0 homeruns) on the season. Scouting reports describe him as a "glider with plus speed" who is "disruptive on the bases." Not exactly the epitome of an A's offensive player, but maybe the power will manifest itself later. An interesting pick nonetheless.
Round 29 (877)
Wes Long, SS, Alabama-Huntsville, R/R, age 22.
Long, the all-time UAH leader in hits (280), stolen bases (79), and fielding assists (537) after a 4 year collegiate career, also posted a career .360 batting average. Wes hit .346/.440/.516 with 6 home runs, and a 21/30 K/BB ratio in 2004; his ability to get on base, run the bases (17-24 stolen bases this year) and hit with some power for a middle infielder made him an attractive late-round draft pick.
Round 30 (907)
Haas Pratt, 1B, Arkansas, R/R, 6'3", 225, age 23.
After struggling in limited playing time at the University of Miami, Pratt transferred to Arkansas for his final two years of college, where he demonstrated his ability as a hitter. In 2003, Haas hit .310/.376/.504 with 10 HR, 22 BB, and 38 K. Pratt followed that up with a senior season where he hit .321/.397/.473 with 8 HR, 31 BB, and 40 K. Pratt lacks ideal power for a first baseman, but he has shown an ability to follow the A's mantra: draw walks, get on base.
Round 31 (937)
Connor Robertson, RHP, Birmingham-Southern College, 6'3", 215, age 23.
Robertson is another potential two-way player for the A's, although they drafted him as a pitcher. Connor (listed as "James" by MLB.com, but as "Connor" on the Birmingham-Southern roster) was an offensive machine in his four collegiate seasons, hitting 60 home runs and .330/.401/.639. But the A's apparently saw potential in his 2.37 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings in 2004 (after pitching all of 6 1/3 innings in 2001-03 combined); another high strikeout rate guy that they'll try to mold into a useful pitcher. But if pitching doesn't work out, Robertson may be able to find playing time with his offensive skills.
Round 32 (967)
Jeffrey Gray, RHP, Southwest Missouri State, 6'2", 210, age 23.
2004 marked an improvement in Gray's strikeout rate, up to 67 in 83 innings after 98 in his previous 138 2/3 innings, an increase of about 1 batter every 9 IP. His K/ BB ratio has hovered pretty steadily around 2/1 in his 3 seasons. After posting an career low 3.36 ERA that is a bit out of line with his peripheral stats, Gray will have to improve all aspects of his game to cement himself on a minor league roster.
Round 33 (997)
Scott Fairbanks, RHP, Lewis-Clark State College, 6'3", 200, age 23.
The A's hope Fairbanks can follow in the footsteps of the Warriors' most famous pitching alumnus, former Athletic Keith Foulke. Scott is the second Lewis-Clark player drafted by Oakland after the A's selected battery mate Tyler Best on day one. There's not much of a track record for Fairbanks, as he only pitched 46 innings in 2 years at Lewis-Clark, but piled up 42 strikeouts in that time. Fairbanks may be another draft-and-follow player.
Round 34 (1027)
Yusuf Carter, OF, El Paso CC, S/R, 6'2", 205, age 19.
Carter was a 38th-round selection of the Seattle Mariners in 2003 as a catcher out of Brooklyn, New York after being named the 2003 Brooklyn High School Player of the Year. In one year at El Paso Community College, Carter played catcher and outfield, and hit .316/.442/.526 in 50 games. His plate discipline needs improvement, as he struck out 55 times while drawing 22 walks, but he did hit 6 homeruns and steal 19 bases. If Carter, a nephew of former major leaguer Joe Carter, ends up signing with the A's, he might be a sleeper to track in the future.
Round 35 (1057)
Broc Coffman, LHP, Lower Columbia College, age 19.
Oakland has been following Coffman for a little while now. Broc was selected by the A's in round 34 of the 2003 draft, and Coffman decided to got to Lower Columbia College instead of signing a professional contract. He put up decent numbers at LCC, with an artificially low ERA of 1.60 (10 earned runs allowed, but 20 total runs allowed) in 56 1/3 innings, but a solid K rate (49 Ks) and an impressive 4.9/1 K/BB ratio. The pick this year was probably to let Coffman know that the A's are still interested in him; we'll see if he signs this time, or returns to college for another year.
Round 36 (1087)
Matthew Cassel, RHP, USC, 6'5", 225, age 22.
Cassel only played college baseball for one year (2004) after playing tight end and quarterback for the Trojans. He was a successful baseball player in high school…but as a first baseman. The only thing that really stood out about Cassel as a pitcher in 2004 was his high strikeout rate: 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings, with a 9.35 ERA. The innings are not much of a sample size, but the A's are gambling the strikeouts are an indicator of some ability.
Round 37 (1117)
Beau Seabury, C, Skagit Valley College, R/R, 6'1", 190, age 19.
No stats were available for Seabury, a freshman at Skagit Valley College. The A's may have stumbled upon him after scouting Broc Coffman, another player in the NWAACC.
Round 38 (1147)
Drew Saberhagen, 1B, Calabasas HS (CA), L/L, 6'2", 180, age 19.
Drew is the son of former major league star Bret Saberhagen. Drew has signed a letter-of-intent with Pepperdine, and was both a left-handed pitcher and a first baseman in high school. Saberhagen is another draft-and-follow pick; they may make him an offer before he enrolls at Pepperdine after watching him play this summer.
Round 39 (1177)
Joseph Florio, SS, Blair Academy, L/R, 5'10", 185, age 19.
At this stage of the draft, many of these players are flyers. The A's will follow their progress during the summer with the possibility of making an offer. Florio has signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Virginia after hitting .498 in his junior season at Blair Academy. Scouts compare him to Braves second baseman Marcus Giles and have described him as a "throwback player" who "plays the game right. If the A's make him an offer, he would provide some middle infield depth.
Round 40 (1207)
Danny Figueroa, OF, Miami, R/R, 5'10", 175, age 21.
Figueroa missed the entire 2004 season after having Tommy John surgery, but is similar to Jeremy Slayden in that he was highly regarded before the injury. The Miami coaching staff has stated that Figueroa is the best defensive center fielder to ever play at Miami, and he wasn't too shabby offensively in 2003, hitting .325/.460 with 40 stolen bases in 46 attempts. On the defensive end, Figueroa only made 1 error to go along with 6 outfield assists. Danny was selected to play for Team USA in the summer of 2003 before injuring his elbow, and could be a sleeper for the A's if he signs with them and shows no complications from the surgery.
NOTE: The A's declined to make any additional selections after round 40.
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