Oakland Athletics 2023 Draft Review

Jacob Wilson 07/11/2023
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With the 2023 Major League Baseball amateur player draft wrapping up, we will take a look at the top draft picks by the Oakland Athletics. This is one of the most exciting times of the season for baseball teams and fans. Excitement surrounds all organizations, even those who are playing as poorly as the Athletics. Could one of the picks they made this year be the finishing piece they need in the future? Could they have drafted the face of their organization? In a year where so much is happening negatively on and off the field. Athletics fans can finally sit back, and think about future success rather than current failure.

Focusing heavily on baseball IQ in the first few rounds, the Athletics waited until the later rounds to start focusing on drafting pitching. With so many holes in their roster, the Athletics were in a position to take the best possible player in each round, regardless of position. 11 of their 20 picks were pitchers, four were infielders, four were outfielders, and one was a catcher.

A major trend that has started to form over the past few seasons from Athletics drafts is baseball families. Previously the Athletics drafted Tyler Soderstrom (2020), Logan Davidson (2019), and Daniel Susac (2022). Soderstrom and Davidson are the sons of former major leaguers, and Daniel Susac is the younger brother of former big leaguer Andrew Susac. This draft was no different with the Athletics selecting Jacob Wilson, Nathan Dettmer, and Jonah Cox. They are all sons of former major leaguers, as well as Myles Naylor, brother of Josh and Bo Naylor.

Jacob Wilson (Grand Canyon University)

There were many big bats and power arms available when the Athletics made their pick in the first round. Instead, the Athletics chose to go with a high baseball IQ player in Jacob Wilson from Grand Canyon University. It seems as though the A’s like drafting shortstops or catchers first overall. Those two positions tend to be the most athletic on the roster. This means that they can usually transition easily to playing other positions.

In three seasons at GCU, Wilson proved that he was one of the best contact hitters in the country. In fact, he only struck out 31 times in 620 career at-bats in his three years of college. This season he only struck out five times in 200 at-bats. Clearly, the guy can put the bat on the ball. This season he slashed .411/.461/.635 with six home runs, 17 doubles, and 61 RBI. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to develop his power, or if he will stick to being a contact type of hitter his whole career.

Myles Naylor (High School)

The Athletics selected Myles Naylor out of Mississauga, Ontario with their competitive balance pick. There are rounds in-between the first and second round and the second and third rounds of the draft. These picks go to the clubs from the 10 smallest markets in baseball as well as if you offer a qualifying offer to a free agent from your roster, who then signs with another team.

Myles Naylor is the youngest brother of Josh and Bo Naylor of the Cleveland Guardians. The right handed shortstop/third baseman was the #64 prospect on MLB.com draft board. He had a 55 grade on his power, arm, and fielding from scouts. Showing that he can succeed from both sides of the game. He was committed to Texas A&M University, but will most likely forgo college in order to play pro ball.

Ryan Lasko (Rutgers University)

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The third pick the Athletics made was Rutgers University out fielder Ryan Lasko. Lasko was the #89 prospect on MLB.com top 100 draft prospects. He was a All Big-Ten first team choice in 2023 as well as 2022 when he was a semifinalist for the Golden Spike award. Lasko is much more focused on making power, and being a bigger bat in the lineup.

In 2023 Ryan slashed .330/.428/.581 with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, and 54 RBI. 2022 was a huge offensive year for Lasko as he lead all college hitters with 90 hits and 81 runs scored. His defensive assists and a career .983 fielding percentage show that he has the tools to play any of the three outfield positions, although he played center field for Rutgers.

Jackson Finley (Georgia Tech University)

One of the more interesting picks made by the Athletics in 2023 was their eighth round selection from Georgia Tech University, Jackson Finley. Finley follows an emerging trend in baseball as a two-way player. Jackson Finley was the runner up for the John Olerud Two-Way Player Award this season. When asked, Oakland Athletics GM David Forst said, “I don’t discount his bat, when you hit 17 home runs at Georgia Tech, that’s no small feat. But we like the arm. He’s got two breaking balls and a four-pitch repertoire. It’s a good mix as a starting pitcher, so we see him as just a pitcher.”

Finley made 14 appearances on the mound in 2023 after recovering from Tommy John Surgery in 2022. He threw 48 2/3 innings, and had a 6.47 ERA with 42 strike outs and 17 walks. He has a four pitch mix that is headlined by a low to mid-90’s fastball. On top of this, he was one of the Yellow Jackets best hitters this season.

In 2023 Finley slashed .328/.397/.672 with 17 doubles, 17 home runs, and 61 RBI. Finley only walked 20 times compared to his 79 strikeouts. But, he proved that he could be one of the bigger bats in the squad with 34 extra base hits. He has a similar build to me as current A’s pitcher Lucas Erceg. It will be interesting to see how Finley develops, and whether they use him both ways or stick to just pitching him.

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