Well, the 2004 draft was almost two months ago, and the A's have signed all but 4 of their first 33 picks (and none of their final 7). Of the 29 players signed, 27 have faced some professional action in the A's minor league system. Here's a look at how some of the A's 2004 draft picks have fared so far (through 8/3/04).
NOTE: obviously, the sample size here is very small, but we are simply trying to see who is hot and who is not…not looking at a wealth of minor league statistics to determine which players are legitimate prospects. We will commence with more detailed tracking and evaluation of the A's 2004 draft class in the upcoming months. For more detailed evaluations of any of these draft picks, go to our two-part draft recap here and here.
HOT (min. 75 AB, 15 IP)
Danny Putnam (OF)
Vancouver: .289/.481/.500. 38 AB, 4 XBH, 15 BB, 8 K.
Kane County: .288/.427/.525. 59 AB, 7 XBH, 14 BB, 13 K.
Putnam was one of the most polished hitters in the draft this year, so it's no surprise that he's fared well so far in the minors. Often compared to Brian Giles, Putnam is an on-base machine with an excellent batting eye. He earned a quick promotion to low-A Kane County, where his numbers have remained on track.
Nick Blasi (OF)
Vancouver: .304/.406/.361. 158 AB, 8 XBH, 26 BB, 39 K.
Blasi has been tearing up the Northwest league, and is due for a promotion at some point, possibly when Vancouver's short-season is over and some prospects get called up to the big club. There is a bit of an outfield logjam in the low levels of the minors, but Blasi is differentiating himself so far, although his power is below average for an outfielder.
Ryan Ruiz (2B/SS)
Vancouver: .330/.432/.440. 109 AB, 10 XBH, 19 BB, 26 K.
Ruiz is another college-polished hitter that is raking in the low minors. Like Blasi, his power needs improvement, but unlike Blasi, his projected middle infield positions don't demand power. Should be interesting to track.
Wes Long (2B/SS)
Arizona: .305/.399/.405. 131 AB, 11 XBH, 19 BB, 18 K.
Long has done well in rookie ball, showing an excellent batting eye, but none of the power he showed at Alabama-Huntsville.
Connor Robertson (RP)
Arizona: 1.35 ERA, 20.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 2 HR, 4 BB, 35 K.
Robertson was an interesting pick; he was a monster offensively, but was drafted by the A's as a pitcher because of his outstanding strikeout rate, despite only 36.2 collegiate innings of work. Connor is doing more of the same in Arizona, with a ridiculous 35 Ks in 20.0 IP (15.75 K/9) to go along with excellent control (35/4 K/BB). Could blossom into a top-flight reliever or two-way player in the future.
COLD (min. 75 AB, 15 IP)
Myron Leslie (3B)
Vancouver: .248/.312/.327. 165 AB, 10 XBH, 17 BB, 23 K.
Leslie is showing none of the ability to get on base or power that he showed in college, where he put up 3 straight seasons with a .450+ OBP. His K/BB peripherals might suggest better production is ahead.
Steven Sharpe (SP)
Vancouver: 6.69 ERA, 36.1 IP, 32 H, 29 R, 1 HR, 21 BB, 22 K.
Sharpe's Vancouver resume is disappointing, to say the least. His control and power seem to have eluded him thus far in the minors, although he is still excelling at keeping the ball in the park.
Ryan Ford (SP/RP)
Vancouver: 5.01 ERA, 32.1 IP, 41 H, 24 R, 2 HR, 10 BB, 20 K.
Ford is performing more like he did in his first 3 years at Eastern Michigan (7.16 ERA) than he did in his senior season (2.93 ERA). With a glut of pitchers already in the organization, Ford better start showing something if he wants to stick with the A's.
Andre Piper-Jordan (OF)
Arizona: .229/.311/.333. 105 AB, 8 XBH, 9 BB, 25 K.
Drafted as somewhat of a speedster-type player, despite his lack of typical Oakland measurables like OBP and power, Piper-Jordan is still displaying almost zero power and a low-OBP.
Derek Tharpe (RP/SP)
Vancouver: 6.64 ERA, 20.1 IP, 25 H, 17 R, 3 HR, 6 BB, 18 K.
Tharpe had an elbow injury earlier in 2004 that may be contributing to his performance thus far. As a polished and dominant 6th-round draft pick out of Tennessee who is also one of the only left-handed pitchers in the A's minor league system, Tharpe will be given every chance to succeed. His peripherals indicate a lower ERA is on the horizon.
Clay Tichota (RP)
Vancouver: 7.58 ERA, 19.0 IP, 26 H, 16 R, 0 HR, 6 BB, 14 K.
The 7.58 ERA is bad, but the strikeout rate and K/BB ratio are good, especially in Tichota's case, because it indicates that he has retained the control that eluded him throughout his first 3 collegiate seasons.
Chalon Tietje (OF)
Vancouver: .250/.337/.369. 84 AB, 6 XBH, 9 BB, 20 K.
Tietje has slumped so far in Vancouver. The lack of power is not a surprise, but he displayed a much better batting eye and ability to get on base in college.
Haas Pratt (1B/OF)
Arizona: .182/.292/.260. 77 AB, 6 XBH, 12 BB, 17 K.
Pratt could be playing himself out of the A's system, which is rich in first-basemen. His ability to draw walks is encouraging, but he needs to couple that with some sort of ability to hit.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE (min. 75 AB, 15 IP)
Tommy Everidge (1B)
Vancouver: .280/.342/.383. 175 AB, 10 XBH, 14 BB, 40 K.
Everidge has been a bit of a disappointment; his power and batting eye are nowhere to be found at this point. His collegiate record indicates that should turn around.
Jeffrey Gray (RP)
Arizona: 3.60 ERA, 15.0 IP, 16 H, 10 R, 0 HR, 2 BB, 14 K.
Good news for Gray: after posting an ERA in college that was a bit too low for his peripherals, Gray is putting up an ERA now that is a bit too high for his peripherals. Striking out nearly a batter per inning while only walking 2 and allowing 0 homeruns is a good future indicator.
KEEP AN EYE ON…(small sample size)
Richard Pryor Robnett (OF)
Vancouver: .289/.377/.378. 45 AB, 4 XBH, 7 BB, 9 K.
Richie is getting on base and drawing walks, but the power he displayed at Fresno State isn't there yet. It's early: as an excellent defensive outfielder that was drafted in the first round, he'll be given plenty of time to get that power back. He also has perhaps the best name of any player ever in the A's minor league system.
Huston Street (RP)
Kane County: 2.08 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 5 BB, 11 K.
Street, a former MVP of the college World Series and perhaps the most pro-ready "college closer" in the draft, was placed directly in low-A Kane County after signing. He's struggled a bit, but it's hard to tell much from limited work. If he dominates in August, he could earn a late-September call-up to the high minors.
Michael Rogers (SP/RP)
Vancouver: 3.21 ERA, 14.0 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 0 HR, 8 BB, 8 K.
Rogers was drafted because of his strikeout ability and strike zone command. He's struggled with both in limited action. Another bonus baby that will get every chance to shine.
Kurt Suzuki (C)
Vancouver: .302/.389/.476. 63 AB, 7 XBH, 4BB, 5 K.
"Kurt Klutch" was only 12 ABs from moving up to the "HOT" section, so he's doing something right. Only 5 Ks in 67 PAs, and is hitting for average, some decent power, getting on base, and showing off his legendary batting eye. Should move up quickly if he can surpass some of the A's other catching prospects; he's already outplayed first-round pick Landon Powell.
Ryan Webb (SP)
Arizona: 5.40 ERA, 13.1 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 2 HR, 1 BB, 15 K.
Webb is interesting because he's young (18) and has plenty of room to improve. Not as dominating in Arizona as he was in high school, but the high K rate will lower his ERA in the future, and his control has been excellent. Another player to track closely.
Kevin Melillo (2B/1B)
Vancouver: .286/.349/.482. 56 AB, 7 XBH, 5 BB, 6 K.
Melillo is showing that he's retained the power he showed in his final 2 collegiate seasons, and his plate discipline is also solid. Is more of a second baseman than a first baseman, but the fact that he's gotten starts there shows you how valuable the A's think his bat is.
Dallas Braden (RP)
Vancouver: 2.77 ERA, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 18 K.
Braden, like Suzuki, barely missed my highly accurate and completely arbitrary sample size cut-off, but he's putting up some excellent numbers at Vancouver. He will be promoted to Kane County or Modesto soon enough if he can keep this up. Dallas struggled with giving up homeruns in college; we'll see if that changes.
Scott Fairbanks (RP)
Arizona: 3.07 ERA, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 0 HR, 18 BB, 20 K.
Well, he's no Keith Foulke (a fellow alumni of Lewis-Clark State College) so far; those walks have to go down. But he's at almost a 2-1 K/H ratio, which is excellent. If he can harness his control, Fairbanks may be a bit of a sleeper from round 33.
NEED TO IMPROVE (small sample size)
Landon Powell (C)
Vancouver: .152/.282/.394. 33 AB, 4 XBH, 8 BB, 10 K.
Powell signed late, and found himself behind Kurt Suzuki on the depth chart when arriving in Vancouver, but hey, he did get to catch Tim Hudson in a bullpen session. But 33 ABs are no method by which to judge a player, especially when that player is a switch-hitting catcher who was also your #1 draft pick.
Chad Boyd (OF)
Arizona: .203/.320/.281. 64 AB, 4 XBH, 10 BB, 9 K.
Boyd signed with the A's directly out of high school in California. His plate discipline thus far has been outstanding, but he just has not been able to string together any hits. As with any high school prospect, Boyd has more of a boom or bust tag than most players in the Oakland system.
Tyler Best (C/1B)
Arizona: .203/.420/.281. 64 AB, 3 XBH, 18 BB, 23 K.
Another catcher who is an on-base machine, and is big enough to be converted to another position should he blossom.
Shawn Martinez (RP)
Vancouver: 4.67 ERA, 17.1 IP, 20 H, 10 R, 2 HR, 12 BB, 15 K.
Similar to a guy like Scott Fairbanks, where his control is all over the place right now, but he is showing that he has quality stuff with his K rate. He's still allowing too many runners on base to allow him to have any sort of success.
TOO SMALL TO TELL
Jason Windsor (RP)
Vancouver: 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K.
Windsor will probably be shut down for most of the season, or see very limited action, after a heavy college workload that was criticized by Billy Beane.
Jarod McAuliff (RP)
Kane County: 4.15 ERA, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 4 K.
McAuliff's inclusion as one of the three draftees from this class at Kane County (and, along with Huston Street, one of only two to start there) should speak volumes about what the A's think about their 7th-round pick.
Steven-Ryder Carter (RP)
Vancouver: 45.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 HR, 0 BB, 0 K.
Had a bad first professional inning. But at least he's still serving up the longball just like he did in college.
Scott Drucker (RP)
Vancouver: 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K.
Too early to tell, but Drucker needs to get his strikeout rate back up to what he showed he was capable of at Tennessee.
2004 Draft Update
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