Here’s a little more on outfielder Michael Choice, drafted 10th overall by the A’s today. He played center field for all three seasons at University of Texas-Arlington, but there’s thought that Choice might be best suited as a corner outfielder. A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said the A’s will give Choice every chance to play center field, and if not, they think he can be a very good defender in right or left. He doesn’t turn 21 until late November, so he was young for a college junior.
Choice just addressed reporters on a conference call, and he said he’s eager to sign and get his pro career started. Last season’s 10th overall pick, pitcher Drew Storen, signed for a $1.6 million bonus, which was below MLB’s recommended salary slot for that pick (worked out nicely for the Washington Nationals, who took him). Reportedly, Choice is not demanding above-slot money. So the A’s should have this kid signed much sooner than last year’s top pick, shortstop Grant Green, who didn’t sign until deadline day in August.
I chatted with UT-Arlington head coach Darin Thomas earlier. Here’s his thoughts on Choice:
“When you talk about tools, he has them. He hit from the first day he stepped on campus as a freshman. Then his power developed. It didn’t matter if we were playing Texas A&M, Texas or TCU in our non-conference schedule, he hit.”
Kubota said the A’s like Choice’s arm, and Thomas raved about his arm. Choice made two relief appearances this season and wanted to pitch more, but Thomas didn’t want to jeopardize his health. He said Choice hit 90-92 mph on the gun. What outfield spot does Thomas think Choice is best suited for? “Maybe he’s a corner guy, but I wouldn’t rule out center field.”
I’ll have a full story in tomorrow’s paper, and at contracostatimes.com. … Remember, you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/joestiglich …