The 2011 MLB Amateur Draft kicks off on June 6 and the Oakland Athletics hold the 18th pick of the first round, followed by pick 105 in the third round. They do not have a second round pick due to their signing of Tampa Bay free agent Grant Balfour. As the A's work out their draft board, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at each position on the roster and where the A's stand at the major league and minor league level. Additionally, we'll put together a brief rundown of the top draft-eligible prospects at each of those positions.
For today, I thought we'd start out with the second base position. The A's have a guy on the horizon (Jemile Weeks) just about ready to replace an aging veteran (Mark Ellis), so it will be interesting to see how the A's decide to address the position. As it currently stands, here is a list of the A's second baseman throughout the organization. This list includes the starter at the position as well as other guys with significant playing time at the position:
Oakland Athletics: Mark Ellis
Sacramento Rivercats: Jemile Weeks
Midland Rockhounds: Tyler Ladendorf, Jason Christian
Stockton Ports: Conner Crumbliss, Michael Gilmartin
Burlington Bees: Ryan Pineda, Nino Leyja
One name missing from this list is Adrian Cardenas. While Cardenas has spent some time at second base in the past, his fielding leaves a lot to be desired and the team is trying him at other positions at Sacramento this season. Jemile Weeks is the guy expected to replace Mark Ellis in 2012. His primary problem has been health as he has yet to play more than 80 games in a single season. For now he's playing extremely well at Sacramento with a line of .320/.413/.453 through 128 at bats in 31 games.
A's director of player development Keith Lieppman spoke about Weeks during a rundown of the A's farm system:
[Weeks has] been outstanding. I've really enjoyed watching him. He had a collision at home plate where he tweaked his hamstring, but other than that, we're seeing a complete player, with the speed and occasional power, excellent on defense, just really evolving. We never got to see him at 100 percent because of his injuries, so now we know what the scouts saw when he was a No. 1 pick. His production right now, it's everything you want out of a player. He's making his way and making a statement right now, and we're all noticing it.
If Weeks can stay healthy, the A's will be in excellent shape at second base for the foreseeable future. Of course, given Weeks' injury history the A's will need to bring in some more talent. Here is a rundown of some of the top second basemen in the upcoming draft courtesy of MLB Bonus Baby and Keith Law's Top 100:
Kolten Wong, Hawaii
Ryan Wright, Louisville
Joshua Tobias, Southeast Guilford (NC)
Levi Michael, North Carolina, 2B/SS
Zach MacPhee, Arizona State
Cory Spangenberg, Indrian River State (FL), 2B, SS
You can view more draft-eligible second basemen at mlb.com.