Early Scouting Reports: Day One A's Draftees

The first day of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft is in the books. The Oakland A's had 17 draft picks on the draft's first day and made some interesting choices. We have the preliminary scouting reports on all 17 picks inside...

The Oakland A's had to wait longer than they are accustomed to for their first pick in the 2006 Amateur Draft to come around. They lost their first round selection, the 22nd overall, as a result of signing Type B free agent Esteban Loaiza. They also had no compensatory picks. Sixty-five players were gone by the time the A's picked, the 66th overall and 22nd in the second round, came. The team made the most of it, following last year's pattern by taking high school pitcher Trevor Cahill. He was the first of 17 Day 1 draftees.

A's Draft By The Numbers
High school players taken - 5 (including Angel Sierra, drafted out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy)
College Players taken - 12 (including Chad Lee, drafted out of Barton County CC, Oklahoma)
High school pitchers taken - 3
College pitchers taken - 6
Right-handed pitchers taken - 7
Left-handed pitchers taken - 2
Infielders taken - 4
Outfielders taken - 4
Switch-hitters taken - 2

66th pick
Trevor Cahill, RHP

6'3" 180 lbs. 3/1/1988
Vista High School, San Diego

Cahill is similar to 2005 second round pick Jared Lansford in that he is a middle infielder who recently found success on the mound. A converted shortstop, his fastball ranges anywhere from 86-94 and he throws with an easy three-quarters delivery. He complements his heater with a slider and a phenomenal knuckle-curve, a pitch he perfected with a whiffle ball of all things. It has tremendous break and is both a swing-and-miss pitch and one that he can throw for strikes. A student-athlete with a 4.6 GPA, he is committed to Dartmouth. Buying him out of that should be made easier by the fact that the A's did not have to invest seven figures in a signing bonus for a first rounder. The A's hope that his 98 strikeouts to 20 walks in 58 innings is a glimpse into the future of their top pick.

98th pick
Matt Sulentic, OF L/R

5'10" 175 lbs. 10/6/1987
Hillcrest High School, Dallas

The A's followed another trend of drafting players with outstanding makeup in Sulentic. He won the Dallas Area triple-crown batting .676 with 19 homers and 58 RBIs. He also flashed some speed with 17 steals. Physically he's been compared to Billy Beane's former teammate Lenny Dykstra and, at age 18, he has plenty of room to grow. His arm plays best in left and he has some experience at short. If the A's decide to move him to second, he could be an offensive force.

128th pick
Chad Lee, RHP

6'4" 195 lbs. 12/20/1985
Barton County CC

A top draft-and-follow pick before injuring his left ACL. In April 2005, he was back at full health and throwing his fastball 91-95 mph while mixing in a power curve. A year later, he left a start early with a twinge in his forearm. His curveball had noticeably less break in later relief appearances. When healthy he exhibits good command, proven by the fact that he struck out 118 batters while walking only 23 in 66 innings. His fastball has good late life and his 2-seamer has good run. With a pitcher his size, hopefully the knee holds up.

158th pick
Jermaine Mitchell, CF L/L

6'0" 200 lbs. 11/2/1984
UNC Greensboro

Mitchell is quite an athlete. He played football, baseball, basketball and ran track in high school. On top of being a letter-winning outfielder, he was also an All-State pitcher collecting more strikeouts (16) than hits allowed (15) in just under 13 innings of duty. As an outfielder Mitchell has speed (24/30 in stolen base chances in college this year) and good plate discipline (43:42 K:BB ratio). The fact that he pitched leads you to believe he has a good arm. The A's drafted him as an outfielder, but if he struggles with the bat, he could be similar to current Rockhound Marcus McBeth who was drafted as an outfielder, but later moved to the mound as a reliever.

188th pick
Andrew Bailey, RHP

6'3" 220 lbs. 5/31/1984
Wagner College

Bailey was a power pitcher before having Tommy John surgery. He's regained some of his velocity and his fastball sits at 92-93 mph and can touch 94. It has been reported that since his surgery he has been hesitant to throw his off-speed and breaking pitches and is leaving all of his offerings over the plate too often. His low ERA this season for Wagner belies that fact. His K:BB ratio was good at 53:16. His high-effort delivery has led some to worry about another arm injury. As is the case with most power pitchers that lose their velocity, Bailey may just need some time to learn how to pitch instead of throw.

218th pick
Michael Leake, RHP

5'11" 160 lbs.
Fallbrook HS, CA

A solid two-way player, Leake has committed to Arizona State and prefers center field to being on the mound, but he's a team-first player and wants to do whatever it takes to win. He is calm under pressure and went the distance in San Diego's Avocado League Championship against Trevor Cahill's Vista Team. He also hit leadoff for Fallbrook. Leake throws his fastball 89-91 mph and his high 70s curve is already solid. Another player with a back-up option if he struggles in one area of the game.

248th pick
Angel Sierra, OF S/R

6'0" 172 lbs. 8/2/1988
Puerto Rico Baseball Academy HS

Sierra ran track on the relay team at PRBA and his speed shines through out of the box. He is about 3.8 to first from the left side. In the field he is nimble, but it appears that his arm may play better in center or left as opposed to right. His speed definitely won't limit him to the corner outfield positions. He has an even stance and a smooth swing.

278th pick
Daniel Hamblin, 1B R/R

6'1" 210 lbs. 2/10/1985
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

A Howser Award (considered college baseball's Heisman Trophy) nominee for 2006, Hamblin has a chance to join recent recipients Mark Teixeira, Rickie Weeks and Alex Gordon if he wins the award. A third baseman before injuring his right shoulder sliding as a freshman in 2004, his arm strength hasn't returned, prompting a move across the diamond. He is athletic and active around the bag. He has good power, speed and athleticism and could move again to left field, if necessary. He is the best college powr prospect that the A's drafted in 2006/

308th pick
Christian Vitters, SS L/R

6'2" 205 lbs. 6/26/1985
Fresno State University

The WAC player of the year had to sit out of the WAC Tournament with a broken thumb. He has a line-drive swing and a mature approach at the plate. Vitters lack of range may prompt a move to second or third as he moves towards the majors, but there aren't many left-handed hitting shortstops. If the move is to third, he'll have to find a way to turn some of his doubles into home runs. He also has decent speed with 10 steals in 14 chances.

338th pick
Jason Fernandez, RHP

6'2" 180 lbs. 1/8/1985
University of Louisiana-Lafayette

Fernandez throws his fastball 88-92 mph and has a good slider with solid command. In line with the theme of the draft, the A's drafted a lot of right handed pitchers, most with solid command numbers. Fernandez falls into this category with 101 Ks to 37 walks in 91.1 innings.

368th pick
Shane Presutti, RHP

6'3" 187 lbs. 11/29/1984
Franklin Pierce College

A similar pitcher to Fernandez, Presutti pitches 88-91 with his fastball and can touch 92. He also throws a decent slider and added a circle-change to throw primarily against lefties. His slider shows promise and could become a plus pitch if he continues to improve on it. When he does get hit, it's usually not hard. He allowed only six extra-base hits out of 43 total. He finished the season one win away from tying the school's single season record.

398th pick
Benjamin Jukich, LHP

6'4" 190 lbs. 10/17/1982
Dakota Wesleyan University

The first southpaw the A's took this year, Jukich was named to the 2006 NAIA All-American Team. He went 10-5 with a 1.90 ERA. He threw an astounding nine complete games, including three shutouts and he had a school record 17-strikeout game. The A's might look to ease his workload a bit after he signs and moves to short-season ball to be sure he doesn't suffer any dead-arm. His K:BB ratio is almost unbelievable at 144:15 in 94.2 innings. He was also the Hauff Mid-America Sports Pitcher of the year.

428th pick
Toddric Johnson, OF L/L

6'1" 195 lbs. 12/17/1984
Southern Miss

Drafted for the third time (in ‘03 he was drafted by the Marlins, in '04 by the Padres), this speedy outfielder covers plenty of ground in center. He did a little bit of everything offensively for Southern Miss with 11 homers, 10 doubles, a .363 average and 9 stolen bases, leading him to the All-Conference USA team. He comes to the organization already equipped with a patient approach and drives the ball to both allies, putting his speed to good use.

458th pick
Kyle Christensen, RHP

6'3" 225 lbs. 9/18/1988

A big SoCal high school pitcher to add to the group of righties. It is becoming somewhat repetitive, but Christensen brings some size to the bunch, especially considering he's only 17 right now. He had 75 Ks to 15 walks as a senior and an ERA of 1.71. He allowed only one home run. It isn't clear how what Christensen's signability will be like right now.

488th pick
Branden Dewing, LHP

6'0" 165 lbs. 1/1/1984
San Jose State

His numbers don't jump off the page at you - 6-6 with a 4.31 ERA and 73 Ks to 30 walks in 108.2 innings - but he led the Spartans in starts, innings pitched and strikeouts. He also threw four complete games, including a 10-strikeout performance in a 1-0 win against Louisiana Tech. He struck out at least seven batters four times and went at least seven innings in nine of his 17 outings. There's something to be said about being a durable lefty. Just ask Barry Zito.

518th pick
Michael Affronti, SS R/R

6'2" 200 lbs. 2/13/1984
Le Moyne College

The MAAC Player of the Year led the conference in batting (.401), hits (73) and total bases (127). Another small school standout taken by the A's on Day 1, Affronti stood out amongst his peers. He has quick hands and plays on the balls of his feet at short. He has a short, compact stroke that helped him hit 12 homers and 12 doubles while striking out only 19 times. He showed a marked improvement in power as his homer total was 11 more than he hit the season before. He is very athletic and played both soccer (all-state goalie) and football (all-state first team) in high school.

548th pick
Michael Ambort, C S/R

6/'1" 215 lbs. 4/23/1985
Lamar University

Drafted by the Expos in the 44th round in 2003, Ambort chose school over baseball and, after a solid freshman season, had a breakout sophomore year at Lamar. He hit a school record 18 homers, including four grand slams, while posting a 1.068 OPS. Ambort is another patient hitter who doesn't strike out a lot (24 in 217 ABs) and has power from both sides. He looks like a slimmer Landon Powell, but doesn't possess the cannon that Powell does. He projects as a solid offensive catcher. Some people actually projected him to go in the first round this year until he suffered an elbow injury after trying out for the USA National Team. He will be a difficult sign at this spot, as it is believed Ambort will likely go back to school for his senior year to prove that he is healthy. If the A's do sign him, it would be a steal at this slot.

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