OAKLAND — With the 2019 MLB Draft just one day away, A's general manager David Forst had to know the question was coming.
Was drafting Kyler Murray ninth overall last year a mistake? Or was it a calculated gamble that just didn't work out?
"I will say that a year ago when we were sitting there, with the information we had on Kyler, he was the best player for us to choose," Forst said Sunday. "I think everyone will acknowledge that circumstances changed between June and September, and then September to December. I don't know that anybody other than Kyler himself expected him to go out and do what he did. So with the information we had, looking at the talent, I think our process was good. Unfortunately, things changed."
What changed, of course, was that Murray greatly outperformed expectations on the football field. The Oklahoma Sooners quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and went No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, turning his back on baseball.
Forst acknowledges that Murray's decision to choose football has left a bit of a void in the A's system, but the team won't allow that to change their approach in this year's draft.
"You can't say that you don't sort of feel the hole in the system of going a year without a first-round pick, but it doesn't change our process now," Forst said. "We can't sort of try to double down and make up for not having a 2018 first-rounder. But yeah, you look at the system, you look at the A-ball teams and where a first-rounder might be, and it's impossible not to notice that you don't have a first-round pick out there on the field."
The A's will pick No. 29 in Monday's first round. Forst intends to select the best available player, regardless of position, rather than drafting based on any specific need.
"I think we're in really good shape in our farm system," he said. "(We have) a number of position players performing well at the upper levels. We have a number of pitchers either back or coming back from injury. So I think we feel pretty balanced as far as the system is concerned and are kind of free in this draft to go after the best guys."
The 2019 MLB Draft begins Monday at 4:00 p.m. PT with the first two rounds. Tuesday will feature rounds three through 10, with the draft concluding Wednesday with rounds 11-40.