For the first time since 2013, the Oakland Athletics have used their top pick on a high school player. North Carolina amateur outfielder Austin Beck joins Billy McKinney (2013), Addison Russell (2012) and Trevor Cahill (second round, 2006) as the only high school players selected by the A’s with their top pick since 2002.
Beck had a relatively low profile early last year, but he has rocketed up the draft rankings over the past two months. Beck’s profile was low in large part because he had ACL surgery in 2016, which cost him much of his junior season and all of the summer showcase season. Despite the missed time, Beck had a monster senior season for North Davidson (NC) High School. He hit .590/.700/1.218 with 12 home runs and punctuated his senior season with a three-homer effort in his final game, a North Carolina state playoff contest.
The right-handed hitting and throwing Beck has above-average speed even after the knee injury and he should be able to stick in centerfield. His bat speed is considered special and he has a build that is conducive to hitting for power. At 18-and-a-half, Beck is a bit on the older side for a high school senior. Beck will need to be signed away from a commitment to North Carolina. The A’s have always done well scouting in North Carolina.
Much more on Beck and the rest of the A’s Day One picks to come…
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