The 2011 MLB Draft is four days away and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has put together his latest first round mock draft. In his latest mock, Mayo has projected the Oakland A's selecting George Springer, a junior outfielder out of Connecticut:
It's always a bit disconcerting when there's consensus among prognosticators about a pick this deep in the first round, but it still makes a good deal of sense.
MLB.com currently rates Springer as number eleven overall among the 2011 draft-eligible players. They view him as a potential five-tool player who can hit the ball over the field with serious power and is generally above average to plus in the five major categories. It's interesting that they describe him as a five tool player given his occasional struggles making contact. He's a big swinger with a ton of speed in his bat, but if he is missing a lot, he'll need to figure out how to compensate.
As things currently stand, the A's organizational outfield depth is all over the board. Their current starting outfield includes Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Ryan Sweeney on occasion. They all have their moments, but none is particularly irreplaceable at this point in time. In the minor leagues, Michael Taylor and Michael Choice would seem to qualify as their top outfield prospects for now. Chris Carter is bouncing around positions and right now is dealing with injuries and struggles.
Taylor came over in the Brett Wallace-Phillies trade and struggled mightily in 2010. However, since returning from injury Taylor has been hitting the ball fairly well. Michael Choice had a great spring training and is currently with the Single A Stockton Ports. His batting average isn't particularly high but he's tied for the organization lead in home runs.
The A's have lacked serious pop in the outfield for quite some time now. Guys like Milton Bradley, Jose Guillen and Nick Swisher have all come and gone and the A's haven't had a consistent OF power threat since pre-injury Jermaine Dye. Grabbing an outfielder makes some sense as they try and develop some power in the organization.