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."

A's bullpen struggles again, wastes Mike Fiers start in loss to Twins

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A's bullpen struggles again, wastes Mike Fiers start in loss to Twins

Mike Fiers left Thursday's game against the Minnesota Twins in line for his eighth consecutive win. Unfortunately for Fiers, the A's bullpen couldn't protect the lead for him.

That's become an unwelcome trend this season and continued in Thursday's 6-3 loss, as Oakland blew its 17th save of the season, third-most in the AL.

Yusmeiro Petit entered the game with two on and one out in the seventh inning and the A's leading 3-1. Minnesota's Eddie Rosario belted Petit's very first pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run, and the Twins rallied back for the series-opening victory.

"It probably crept a little bit more towards the middle than he wanted it," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters Thursday after the game. "But he's been a guy who's been doing (the job) for us in that situation all year. Every now and then you're going to give one up. Give (Rosario) credit. He put a good swing on it."

Fiers ended up with a no-decision and his win streak remains alive at seven. The right-hander delivered his 11th straight quality start, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, with four strikeouts and four walks.

Fiers wasn't quite as sharp as he has been recently, but Fiers still found a way to limit the damage despite the many baserunners. He recorded the first out of the seventh inning, before allowing a double and a walk to put the tying runs on base.

At that point, Fiers had made 89 pitches and Melvin had a decision to make. Oakland's skipper elected to turn to his bullpen.

"It's a hot night, he's back out there again for the seventh inning, gives up a hit and a walk," Melvin explained. "So it's a situation where we usually bring (Petit) in. You've got to give Rosario credit. He hit a good pitch."

[RELATED: Optimistic Beane hopes A's are active at trade deadline]

Lou Trivino also had a rough night out of the A's bullpen, surrendering a pair of home runs in the eighth inning to give the Twins some insurance. Oakland's 'pen has only converted 56 percent of save opportunities this season, seventh-worst in the majors.

The A's bullpen has actually performed much better as of late, so perhaps this is just a minor hiccup. Oakland will try to even the series Friday night when they send Chris Bassitt to the mound.

A's vs. Twins lineups: Matt Chapman out, Chad Pinder to start at third

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A's vs. Twins lineups: Matt Chapman out, Chad Pinder to start at third

The A's will be without All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman as they take aim at their seventh straight win Thursday night in Minnesota.
 
Chapman left Wednesday's game after two innings with left ankle soreness and is considered day-to-day. He told reporters his absence is just precautionary and he should play on Friday.
 
"It just stiffened up on my throw across the diamond (in the top of the first) and then when I took that swing in the box (in the bottom of the first), it kind of just like caught, and then it didn't feel right," Chapman said after the game. "So it was more precautionary than anything."
 
Chad Pinder will fill in at third base and hit eighth in the order. Pinder homered in Wednesday's win, one of six A's home runs in the game. Jurickson Profar hit two homers of his own and will get another start at second base and bat seventh.
 
Designated hitter Khris Davis will hit sixth for the second straight game, with right fielder Mark Canha in the cleanup spot again. Canha notched his first career two-homer game on Wednesday.
 
Veteran right-hander Mike Fiers will be on the mound for Oakland, seeking his eighth straight win and 11th consecutive quality start. Fiers, 34, ranks second among American League starters with a 2.31 ERA since April 26. For the season, he is 9-3 with a 3.61 ERA.
 
Fiers is 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 12 career appearances against Minnesota, including 11 starts. Earlier this month, he allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings in a no-decision against the Twins.
 
Minnesota will counter with right-hander Kyle Gibson. The 31-year-old is 8-4 this season with a 4.03 ERA. In five career starts against the A's, he is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA.
 
Here are the full lineups for the A's-Twins game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 5:10.
 
Oakland A's (55-41)
Marcus Semien, SS
Robbie Grossman, LF
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Chad Pinder, 3B
Josh Phegley, C

Mike Fiers, RHP (9-3, 3.61 ERA)
 
Minnesota Twins (58-36)
Max Kepler, CF
Mitch Garver, C
Nelson Cruz, DH
Marwin Gonzalez, LF
C.J. Cron, 1B
Luis Arraez, 2B
Miguel Sanó, 3B
Jake Cave, RF
Ehire Adrianza, SS
 
Kyle Gibson, RHP (8-4, 4.03 ERA)