Name: Greg Deichmann
Height/Weight: 6’2’’, 190
How Acquired: Selected in the 2nd round of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Over the past decade, the Oakland A’s have struggled to develop homegrown starting outfielders. Second-round pick Greg Deichmann appears to be a candidate to break that trend after a strong pro debut season.
The A’s used two of their first three picks in the 2017 draft on outfielders. The first – top pick Austin Beck – was a raw high school talent who will take some time to develop. The second – second-round pick Deichmann – is a seasoned college prospect who looks to be on an accelerated path through the minor leagues.
Deichmann was a bit of a late-bloomer as an amateur. He turned 20 during his freshman season at LSU, a season that saw him appear in just eight games and receive only 10 at-bats. Deichmann earned a starting spot with the Tigers as a sophomore, and he made an impact at the plate. In 64 games, Deichmann posted a .288/.346/.513 line. That effort was enough for Deichmann to receive draft interest as a draft-eligible sophomore. He went to the Twins in the 26th round, but chose to return to school for his junior season.
That decision proved to be a wise one. Moving from first base to right field, Deichmann was able to show off his athleticism in 2017. He also improved his offensive numbers significantly, posting one of the top offensive seasons for any Division I baseball player. He was named first-team All-American after hitting .308/.417/.579 with 19 home runs in 72 games.
Deichmann was a big part of the Tigers’ run to the College World Series championship game. Once the CWS concluded, he signed quickly with the A’s for a bonus of $1.7 million, slightly over-slot for the 43rd overall pick in the draft.
Deichmann looked well worth the money in his pro debut season with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. He earned All-Star honors for hitting .274/.385/.530 with eight home runs in 46 games. He added another home run in the post-season, as the Lake Monsters reached the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
Despite getting a late start to his pro debut because of the CWS, Deichmann still finished tied for third in the league in home runs and 16th in walks. His 915 OPS would have been tops in the league if he had had enough at-bats to qualify.
“He has done an outstanding job for us this year,” Vermont manager Aaron Nieckula told OaklandClubhouse’s Donald Moore late in the season. “An excellent young man, plays the game the right way, plays hard, wants to be in the lineup everyday, tremendous offensive capabilities. He’s been a great hitter for us.”
After the season, Deichmann participated in the A’s fall Instructional League, where he continued to impress not only for his hitting ability but also his intangibles.
“I didn’t get to interact with him too much, but Greg Deichmann was a lot of fun,” A’s minor league hitting coach Eric Martins said in a post-Instructional League interview. “Just sitting with him and talking with him on the bench, he’s got some great leadership qualities. On top of that, he can really hit.”
A’s minor league hitting coordinator Jim Eppard says Deichmann is already advanced at the plate.
“Great skillset. Ability to use the whole field. Terrific eye,” Eppard said shortly after Instructs concluded. “And he’s got some serious power in his bat.”
Deichmann has some swing-and-miss to his game, but his strike-out totals (40 in 164 at-bats) weren’t egregious. He has a solid approach at the plate, evidenced by his 14.4% walk rate and his ability to use the whole field. Most of his home runs went to the pull-side of the field, but he distributed his base-hits fairly evenly to all fields. He is a good athlete with average speed and an above-average throwing arm, and he should have no trouble staying in right field.
Because Deichmann was already 22 when he was drafted, he was slightly older than average for the New York-Penn League. Look for the A’s to promote him aggressively. He should start the year with High-A Stockton and could make a midseason jump to Double-A, much the same way Travis Buck did in 2006.
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