For the fourth time since 2000, the Oakland Athletics selected a high schooler with their first round selection in the MLB First Year Player Draft.
With the sixth overall pick, the A’s took Austin Beck, an outfielder from North Davidson High School in Lexington, North Carolina. He becomes the highest selected high school draft pick since Ben Grieve was taken second overall in 1994.
Beck, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound center fielder, finished his senior year with a .590 batting average along with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs in 28 games. The obvious power — nearly a homer every two games — is bolstered by top-notch speed. He has been clocked as fast as 4.1 seconds from the right-handed batter’s box to first base, according to MinorLeagueBall.com. Add in his highly rated arm strength and ability to hit nearly .600 — and .457 over four seasons in high school — and you have what appears to be the rare five-tool star.
Oakland also selected Kevin Merrell with their lottery selection (No. 33 overall) and Greg Deichmann in the second round (No. 43 overall).
Merrell, a shortstop from the University of South Florida, led the American Athletics Conference with a .384 average in 2017, his junior season, garnering Second Team All-American honors from Baseball America. A two-time AAC All-Conference performer, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound infielder became the first player in program history to lead the team in hitting three consecutive season, and is eighth in school history with 56 stolen bases.
Deichmann, a corner infielder from Louisiana State University, is currently batting .320 with 19 homers, tied for 15th-most among all NCAA Division 1 hitters. He also boasts 72 RBIs to lead the Tigers, enough for seventh-most in the country. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Deichmann has made starts at third base (5), first base (50) and designated hitter (7).
The slugging first baseman can be seen as he competes in the College World Series. His LSU club will face Florida State Saturday.
Before they second-round selection takes the field, though, the A’s will finish this year’s draft, which continues Tuesday morning.