Oakland A's 2008 Draft In Review, Part One

It has been nearly three months since the June 2008 draft. With most of the 2008 season now in the books, we are checking in with the Oakland A's 2008 draft class to see how they are faring thus far. In part one of the two-part series, we take a look at the A's picks one through 20.

Stats through Sunday, August 24th

1 Jemile Weeks: Taken with the 12th overall selection, Weeks was the A's highest draft pick since 1999. The second baseman out of the University of Miami was assigned to the Low-A Kane County Cougars once he signed. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Weeks began to hit his stride mid-July. From July 19 through July 28th, Weeks hit safely in eight of nine games and had 16 hits in 42 at-bats (.380 BA) with eight runs scored, three doubles, one homer, four RBIs and three walks. Unfortunately, that good run came to a sudden end on July 29th at Wrigley Field when Weeks injured a hip flexor trying to beat out an infield grounder in his first at-bat in the Cougars' game at Wrigley. The bad news is that he will miss the rest of the season. The good news is that it doesn't appear that he will require surgery and he could be back on the field in time for the A's instructional league season. The switch-hitter finished his pro debut season with a .297 average and a .422 OBP with six stolen bases in 19 games.

2 Tyson Ross: Ross, an Oakland native and Cal alum, was taken with the A's second pick. The 6'5'' right-hander signed quickly after the draft and was assigned to Kane County. He made two outings with the Cougars before being sidelined with shoulder soreness. After about six weeks of rehab, Ross returned to Kane County and has since made three appearances. Overall, Ross has a 5.02 ERA and 14 strike-outs in 14.1 innings. Four of the eight runs and four of the five walks he has allowed with the Cougars came in one appearance on August 18th. Ross has an unusual delivery and many scouts were concerned that it would lead to arm problems down the road. Ross' shoulder soreness certainly hasn't assuaged those fears, but he has shown promise when healthy.

3 Petey Paramore: Paramore, a catcher out of Arizona State, began his pro career slowly as he worked his way back into playing shape after suffering a quad injury at the end of his collegiate season. He appeared in nine games with the A's Rookie League club as he finished his rehab from the quad injury, hitting .364 with 10 walks and only two strike-outs in nine games. He was then sent to Kane County, where he has been the Cougars' regular catcher since the start of August. Thus far, Paramore has struggled to get hits, but he has done an excellent job of getting on-base. The switch-hitter is batting only .225, but he has 19 walks in 24 games and a .380 OBP. He has homered once and has 12 RBIs. Over his last 10 games, Paramore has found more success at the plate, batting .294 with three doubles and a homer.

4 Anthony Capra: A left-hander out of Wichita State, Capra was assigned directly to Kane County after signing with Oakland. He has been in the Cougars' starting rotation ever since, making eight starts through Sunday. In those eight starts, Capra has posted a 4-2 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings. He has 30 strike-outs and 17 walks. Over his last five starts, Capra has pitched at least five innings in each start and he has allowed three runs or less in all of them.

5 Jason Christian: Christian, a shortstop out of Michigan, was the highest 2008 A's draft pick assigned to short-season Vancouver. He spent 62 games with the Canadians and was one of the C's top offensive players during that stretch. He hit .291 with 16 doubles, a triple and four homers in 213 at-bats. He also stole 13 bases in 14 chances and posted a .404 OBP. Christian was promoted to Kane County on Sunday and will be making his debut on the Cougars' roster on Monday.

6 Tyreace House: House, a junior college outfielder, was the A's first pick from a non-four-year college. The toolsy outfielder was assigned to the A's Rookie League team after signing and he has spent his entire season with the AZL A's. In 29 games, House is batting .263 with a .378 OBP and 12 steals in 13 chances. He hasn't shown any power to speak of yet (one extra-base hit in 99 at-bats), but his BB:K ratio (18:22) and his stolen base percentage has been solid.

7 Brett Hunter: Hunter was a deadline-day signing by the A's, coming to terms with Oakland on a record $1.1 million signing bonus on August 15. The right-hander was a sure-fire first round pick before the start of the collegiate season, but he fell to the A's in the seventh round when he experienced elbow soreness during the Pepperdine season. Hunter was healthy enough to pitch for Team USA's collegiate squad this summer and he pitched well, posting a 1.47 ERA in 18.1 innings with 26 strike-outs. He is currently working out at the A's minor league complex in Phoenix and could report to an A's affiliate before the end of the regular season.

8 Jeremy Barfield: After a slow start, Barfield has been one of the Vancouver Canadians' best hitters this season. The junior college draft pick hit only .222 during his first 10 games, but he hit .280 in 26 July games and has really heated up in August, batting .321 with an 855 OPS. Overall, Barfield, who turned 20 in July, has a .286 average in the pitcher-friendly Northwest League. Although he has only three homers, he has shown good power to all fields with 16 doubles.

9 Mitchell LeVier: Another junior college pick, LeVier has struggled with injuries off-and-on since signing with the A's out of Fullerton Junior College. In 41 games with the Vancouver Canadians, the centerfielder is batting only .236 with eight RBIs and a 563 OPS. The 20-year-old has struck-out 40 times and has drawn only seven walks.

10 Rashun Dixon: Dixon was the A's first high school draft pick this season. Despite having a college football scholarship offer at Mississippi State, Dixon signed with Oakland to an above-slot deal. Since then, he has put on a dazzling display of speed and power baseball for the A's Rookie League club. The five-tool outfielder was batting .270 with an 891 OPS through Sunday. In 40 games, he has collected nine triples and eight homers, both totals in the top five in the league. Dixon doesn't turn 18 until Wednesday, and he is one of the youngest players in the league. His plate discipline has been shaky (61 strike-outs and 16 walks) and he hasn't yet used his blazing speed to swipe many bases (four in six chances), but overall he has been one of the most dynamic prospects in the Arizona League to date.

11 Chris Berroa: Berroa, another junior college selection, has been with the A's Rookie League club since signing with Oakland in early August. The 19-year-old is batting .302 with a .392 OBP in 12 games for the Rookie A's. The outfielder has yet to collect an extra-base hit in 43 at-bats, but he has scored eight runs and has stolen four bases.

12 Zachary Elgie: Did not sign.

13 Daniel Thomas: The hard-throwing Thomas has been with the Vancouver Canadians since he inked his pro contract. The right-hander from the University of South Florida has been used exclusively as a reliever this season. In 10 appearances, he has a 2.45 ERA and 15 strike-outs against five walks in 14.2 innings.

14 David Thomas: Thomas began his pro career with the A's Rookie League club, but he was quickly promoted to Vancouver after batting .462 in five games with the AZL A's. Since then, he has appeared in 46 games with the C's and has put together a solid pro debut season. The 22-year-old from Catawba College has a .277 average and 24 RBIs in 173 at-bats. His OBP is a solid .378 and he has a 24:39 BB:K ratio.

15 Nino Leyja: Leyja, like Dixon, has created a buzz with his pro debut season. The 17-year-old shortstop is actually six weeks younger than Dixon. In 38 games, Leyja is batting .313 with a .388 OBP and 10 stolen bases in 11 chances. He has scored 37 runs and has driven-in 22. As the season has gone on, Leyja has worn down a bit and the A's have curtailed his playing time in recent days to allow his body to rest. Despite fading some in the last few weeks (.189 average over his last 10 games), Leyja has looked like a steal as a 15th round pick.

16 Matt Fitts: Fitts, a 22-year-old right-hander out of Lewis-Clark State, has been used almost exclusively as a reliever for the Vancouver Canadians since signing. All but one of his 15 appearances have come out of the bullpen. He has a 3.34 ERA in 29.2 innings. Fitts has given up only one homer and he has a 19:9 K:BB ratio.

17 Bradley Glenn: Did not sign.

18 Rayan Gonzlaez: Did not sign.

19 Michael Hart: Hart, a 21-year-old right-hander out of Texas State, has been a swingman for Vancouver since signing, making five starts and nine relief appearances. In 32.1 innings, he has allowed only 23 hits and seven earned runs (1.95 ERA). He has an impressive 36:11 K:BB ratio and has allowed only one homerun.

20 Rodney Rutherford: After a very slow start with Vancouver, Rutherford has begun to pick it up at the plate in August. He collected only 10 hits in his first 70 at-bats before finding his stroke this month. In 46 at-bats in August, Rutherford is batting .348 with 12 RBIs and a 923 OPS. Rutherford is a 23-year-old third baseman.


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