Athletics

MLB Draft 2019: A's 'pleasantly surprised' Logan Davidson was available

MLB Draft 2019: A's 'pleasantly surprised' Logan Davidson was available

The A's didn't expect switch-hitting Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson to still be available when they made their first-round pick at No. 29 overall.

But to their great excitement, they were mistaken.

"We were pleasantly surprised," A's scouting director Eric Kubota said Monday night. "When he did get to us, we were extremely happy. ... He's been on our radar since high school. We like Logan because he brings value at the plate and in the field. As a shortstop who has power, we think there's a lot of upside still with the bat.

"He's a college prospect who can impact the game from both sides of the plate."

Davidson, 21, slashed .291/.412/.574 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI as a junior, earning second-team All-ACC honors. He stole 17 bases, too. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the No. 22 prospect in the draft.

"I'm very excited about it, obviously," Davidson said of joining the A's. "I'm looking forward to getting started out there in Oakland and going through the minor leagues and tearing it up."

The only knock on Davidson heading into the draft was his performance using a wood bat in the Cape Cod League. In two summers there, he recorded an OPS of just .570, compared to .939 at Clemson.

"In a perfect world, he would've performed better there," Kubota admitted. "But our looks in the Cape, both years, we always came away with a favorable impression. ... We were very happy with what we saw, despite the lack of numbers."

Davidson insisted that the decrease in production was not due to using a wood bat, but rather a lack of resources. He explained that he was used to top-notch machines and facilities at Clemson. In the Cape Cod League, however, there was often just one batting cage for the entire team.

"I love using a wood bat, to be honest with you," Davidson said. "I think it feels better off a wood bat, and it definitely sounds better. I think the biggest difference for me between Cape and college ball was just the resources I had and just learning to deal with the resources that were available to me. You have to find a new routine and different ways to work with what you have."

As for Davidson's position at the pro level, Kubota definitely stated he would remain at shortstop. The A's could see Davidson as either a top or middle of the order type hitter, though they hope it's the latter.

"We definitely believe in the power," Kubota said. "If everything comes together, we're hoping that he's productive more in the middle of the order."

[RELATED: Former A's OF Gomes lauds Melvin, reflects on Oakland stint]

In addition to his speed and power, Davidson is considered a plus defender. But when asked to identify his greatest overall strength, he believed it was his mental makeup.

"I think I have what it takes, just as far as work ethic goes," he said. "When I put my mind to something, I make it happen."

Roy Steele, A's 'Voice of God' and legendary PA announcer, dies at Auburn home

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Getty Images

Roy Steele, A's 'Voice of God' and legendary PA announcer, dies at Auburn home

One does not easily earn the "Voice of God" moniker, but when it came to Roy Steele, nothing else would do. 

The long-time public address announcer for the A's passed away Thursday at his home in Auburn, leaving behind a tremendous legacy as one of the most recognizable voices in the history of the game. The A's released a team statement acknowledging his vast contributions to the history of the franchise.

"As the PA voice of the A’s for nearly four decades, his booming baritone filled the Coliseum from the Mustache Gang to Billy Ball, the Bash Brothers and Moneyball," the statement said. "Beloved by all, he touched the lives of generations of A’s fans. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones."

Steele began his tenure as the A's PA announcer starting in 1968 and remained in the position through 2005, though he did make occasional appearances during the 2007-08 season. He covered over 3,000 A's games, including six World Series and an All-Star Game. Throughout his 38 years at the helm, he only missed five days of work.

[RELATED: A's might have to delay targeted 2023 ballpark opening]

His death comes during a sad week for the Oakland franchise. On Sunday, Chester Farrow, who operated the scoreboard at the Coliseum for over 50 years, passed away at the age of 77.

Whenever MLB resumes, one would imagine both longtime employees will be honored.

A's might have to delay targeted 2023 Howard Terminal ballpark opening

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Oakland A's

A's might have to delay targeted 2023 Howard Terminal ballpark opening

The A's have publicly said they plan to open a new ballpark at Oakland's Howard Terminal ahead of the 2023 season.

Those plans could be delayed.

An A's spokesperson admitted to The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler on Thursday that the team "might have to push back" their targeted opening date. Ostler wrote that "growing political and logistical hurdles," "[coronavirus]-related delays" and a recent federal court ruling could endanger the 2023 target, as could a recent federal court ruling. 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Oakland's ban on transporting coal through the city in a two-to-one ruling Tuesday. The Sierra Club told Bay Area News Group that there are plans to file another appeal, as they and community leaders have argued that coal dust would add to West Oakland's polluted air. Howard Terminal, which already requires environmental certification before the A's can ever begin construction, is fewer than two miles downwind from the site where Utah coal companies planned to transport coal prior to the city's now-struck-down ban.

[RELATED: Why Braden vehemently opposes MLB's proposal to players]

A's owner John Fisher, who Forbes currently estimates has a net worth of $2.1 billion, announced in a letter to fans Tuesday that the team would cease paying minor leaguers a weekly $400 stipend starting in June and that the team had "implemented a significant temporary furlough of staff positions, and reduced compensation for staff members who are not furloughed."

The A's previously said in a statement to NBC Sports California earlier this month that they deferred their annual $1.25 million rent payment for use of the Oakland Coliseum because the Coliseum Authority "has been unable to make the Coliseum available for use by the A's" during the coronavirus pandemic. Henry Gardener, the Coliseum Authority's interim executive director, told Bay Area News Group that the A's told the stadium authority they "had no ability to pay."