Since 1996, the Oakland A's have taken only two high school players with their first overall pick in the draft - an infielder from San Diego named Eric Chavez and a pitcher from San Diego named Trevor Cahill. Chavez was selected with the 10th pick in 1996 and Cahill was taken in the second round, as the A's gave up their first round pick in 2006 to sign free agent Esteban Loaiza. In 2001, the A's had two first-round selections and they used their second first rounder on a high school pitcher named Jeremy Bonderman. All three, of course, have gone on to have substantial major league careers.
Addison Russell's name will now join the list alongside Chavez, Cahill and Bonderman. The A's are hopeful that his major league career is similarly as successful as those three. Russell is a shortstop from Pace High School in Florida.
A right-handed hitter, Russell is a well-built, 6'1'' athlete whose tools grade highly across the board. According to Scout.com's National Baseball Expert Frankie Piliere, Russell is "one of the most complete players in this draft class." Russell has a power bat and a strong throwing arm. For a scouting report on Russell with video, please click here.
Russell has shown a strong work ethic, as well. He lost 20 pounds over the summer after some scouts doubted whether he could stay at shortstop at his previous weight. Russell has decent speed, as well, and is the kind of middle-of-the-diamond athlete that the A's have been targeting with their top picks in recent years (recent top-two round picks Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, Yordy Cabrera and Michael Choice fit into this mold).
The A's will have to sign Russell away from a commitment to Auburn University. He is represented by super agent Scott Boras, who also represented 2009 A's first-round pick Grant Green.
We will have plenty more on Russell and the rest of the A's draft in the coming hours and days.