A's continue to stockpile young talent

A's continue to stockpile young talent

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 Draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

With an organization that saw some high-impact performances from its big league rookies in 2009, most notably American League Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey, the Athletics continued to add to the cache of polished talent as they signed eight of their top nine picks, six of whom were college players.

Overall, Oakland signed 29 out of its 49 picks (it lost its second-round pick in exchange for the signing of free-agent infielder Orlando Cabrera) and focused on polished premium position players, with three of its first four signings coming in the forms of a top collegiate shortstop in Southern California star Grant Green and a pair of high-upside catchers in California prep star Max Stassi (fourth round) and Oregon State's Ryan Ortiz (sixth round).

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

Top five picks

1. Grant Green, SS: One of the top shortstops coming into the 2009 season, there are those who felt he had an inconsistent campaign at USC as a junior, but if hitting .374 is inconsistent, Oakland will take it. He hit .390 as a sophomore and impressed on the Cape as well by batting .348 with a wood bat. He has plus speed and great instincts in the middle infield. Taken with the 13th pick, he signed late and will make his pro debut in 2010.

3. Justin Marks, LHP: The Louisville product signed late and then, once he got on the mound, suffered a groin pull in his first start that ended his season having given up six runs without getting an out. He'll get that ERA down to something printable in 2010. At Louisville, he was 11-3 with a 3.77 in his Draft year.

4. Max Stassi, C: The loss of a second-round pick was certainly made less painful by the signing of Stassi, one of the premier two-way catching prospects in the Draft. Signed for first-round bonus money at the deadline to keep him from heading to UCLA, a commitment that many thought was engraved in stone enough to let him fall to the fourth round, the third-generation pro catcher whose dad and grandfather played in the Minors and great-uncle was a teammate of Babe Ruth is an all-around player with all the tools on both sides. He has power potential and a live bat and his defensive is outstanding. The A's were also especially impressed with his leadership at instructional league despite his young age. In his brief pro debut he hit .280 in 14 games at short-season Vancouver.

5. Steve Parker, 3B: Drafted out of Brigham Young University, the left-handed hitter combined to bat .243 with five homers and 41 RBIs between the Arizona League and Class A Kane County and he could be a quick mover at one of the few positions where the A's lack depth.

6. Ryan Ortiz, C: One of two catchers taken with their first five picks, the Oregon State backstop was an All-Pac-10 selection this year and hit .358 with four homers, 24 RBIs and 12 doubles in his pro debut at Vancouver.

Best of the rest

Like Stassi, the Athletics gambled on a guy they weren't sure they could sign and won with left-hander Ian Krol (seventh round). The Illinois high-school hurler, who went 9-1 with an 0.94 ERA and three no-hitters as a junior, did not pitch his senior year due to a school suspension. But the A's did due diligence on the young man with the sinking fastball and lively repertoire that includes a plus curve and potential plus changeup and were happy to bring him into the fold. They signed him away from Arizona. Outfielder Myrio Richard (ninth round), out of Prairie View A&M, already has some Oakland ties in his older brother, speedy shortstop Michael "Runway" Richard, who was at advanced Class A Stockton. Richard, the SWAC Player of the Year as a sophomore, is an agile defensive whiz with speed and upside. He hit .259 with 22 RBIs between the Arizona League and Vancouver. Right-hander Connor Hoehn (12th round) moved into the closer role at Vancouver when Paul Smyth was promoted, and went 7-for-7 in save opportunities with a 1.00 ERA. Drafted out of junior college in Florida, his eventual role will probably be as a starter, but for now the converted outfielder limited hitters to a .153 average in 20 innings. The A's got some production from a pair of late-round Kansas-based tornadoes. Second baseman/outfielder Conner Crumbliss (28th round), all 5-foot-8 of him, combined for speed and a live bat playing at both positions, which kept him busy during infield practice. He hit .290 with 28 RBIs and 13 steals between Vancouver and Kane County after coming out of Emporia State, and had a .427 on-base average thanks to 60 walks in 71 games. Try to find a 2009 draftee who had a better year than right-hander Smyth (35th round). You won't. The Kansas closer combined between Vancouver and Kane County to pitch 36 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering 14 hits and walking four while striking out 44 for a .115 average against. A senior sign, the 22-year-old collected nine saves.

Fast risers

Collegiate high picks such as Green, Marks and Ryan Ortiz could move up quickly, as could polished prep catcher Stassi, despite his youth. Also keep an eye on later-round pitchers such as Hoehn and Smyth.


Right-hander Sam Dyson (10th round), out of South Carolina, had an inconsistent season as a sophomore-eligible draftee, as past shoulder problems may have contributed to both his 5.21 ERA and the inability to come to terms with the A's so he'll look to rebound and return in 2010. Right-hander Drew Gagnier (14th round), out of Oregon, will return to school for his senior season. Outfielder Pat Stover (17th round), a high school prospect from California, will play his college ball at UC Santa Clara.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.