By Jason Wojciechowski on June 6, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Earlier this evening, the last of Day 1 of the Rule 4 draft, comprising the first two rounds and their attendant "competitive balance" picks, wrapped up. The A's made three selections (a first rounder, a second rounder, and a competitive-balance pick in "Round B," i.e. the round that comes after Round 2), numbers 24, 63, and 71 overall. I don't know anything about anything, but y'all count on me, so:
At 24: Billy McKinney from Plano, Texas, not far south of a town called McKinney, is a high-school outfielder. Allan Simpson had him rated 35th overall coming into the draft. The story on McKinney is that his hitting ability from the left side will carry him, but he doesn't bring much else to the table, with average running and throwing. Nick J. Faleris sees a possibility of above-average power, and I'd hope so given that he's going to be a corner outfielder, and in particular a likely left fielder given a merely average arm. There's a scouting video here in which you can see his short swing. The ball sounds loud in wherever it is that they've got him hitting. MLB.com's writeup notes that he has strong character. McKinney's Twitter feed is mostly inactive but does exhibit a lot of prayers for the victims of tragedies.
At 63: Dillon Overton comes out of Oklahoma (the school), a skinny lefty pitcher who finished his junior year (i.e. he's not a more-or-less automatic sign). Jonathan Gray, who went third overall, was Overton's teammate, so Overton was the #2 starter on the team (the "Saturday starter"). MLB.com's writeup says he doesn't have a lot of velocity ("will touch 91") and doesn't have much in the way of secondary stuff. Jason Cole of BP saw him in April and thought the changeup could be a 60 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) in the future, which is much better than MLB.com implied. Overall, Cole saw a mid-back starter potential if he can get his old velocity back (as he used to throw 93 to 94) and refine the other stuff. The big red flag with Overton is that he had an elbow injury in late April. Or elbow inflammation. Or elbow something. He's a pitcher. Pitchers will get hurt. But it would be nice if he hadn't already got hurt.
At 71: Chad Pinder is a junior Virginia Tech shortstop or maybe third baseman. It's unclear. Either way, Allan Simpson thinks he could fit better at second in the pros, though it can't hurt things to have a guy who's capable at both positions hanging around. Simpson describes Pinder as a "does most things pretty well" type of guy rather than someone with a big tool that stands out. Nick J. Faleris likes his footwork and arm.
That's the thing about going to the playoffs: you forego your chance in next year's draft at getting the big-time exciting athletes, the Addison Russells (11) and Michael Choices (10). Of course, you also forego Jemile Weeks (12) and Grant Green (13) and Ariel Prieto (5) and Stan Hilton (5). Plus, you can still get Cliff Pennington (21) and Huston Street (40) and Joe Blanton (24) and Bobby Crosby (25) and Brent Gates (26), none of whom are world-beaters, but all of whom had their moments, all of whom were useful players when they were 0-3 players making the league minimum and providing above-replacement performance.
Maybe none of the above three pan out. Maybe McKinney doesn't develop the power to be valuable in left field and Overton winds up hurt or doesn't develop his pitches and Pinder grows thick and loses a step on defense while not developing his bat. But maybe not. Maybe McKinney is a two-WAR left fielder in the mold of 2012 Roger Bernadina and maybe Overton is C.J. Wilson and maybe Pinder is Chris Johnson.
And of course the great hope of baseball is that a player exceeds their upside, if that makes any sense. Rickey Henderson was a fourth-round pick. Fourth-round picks don't have 100-WAR upside, but Rickey got there anyway.
Michael Choice, by the way, is hitting .281/.387/.467 in Sacramento.