Draft Report: Branden Kelliher, High School Pitcher

The A's snagged their first high school pitcher of the First-Year Player Draft in the eighth round Friday, taking right-hander Branden Kelliher.

Despite measuring just 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Kelliher throws a 94 mph fastball that he complements with a sharp 12-6 curveball and a solid changeup.

Kelliher, who attended Lake Stevens High School in Washington, is committed to play baseball at the University of Oregon.

"I'm still in the 50-50 range," Kelliher told The Herald of Everett, Wash., regarding his decision of whether to go to college or turn pro. "Oregon is a great school and I'd love to go there. And it'd be fun to stay in the Northwest. I'll definitely consider any offer made to me. Pro ball is a big deal. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Perfect Game touted Kelliher as the No. 1 high school prospect in Washington and the No. 39 right-handed pitcher in the nation.

He went 5-1 this season to lead Lake Stevens to a league title.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

A's select hard-throwing Graves in third round

2014 Draft: MLB.com looks at the Athletics' picks

The A's took right-handed pitcher Brett Graves with their third-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.

Graves, a junior from the University of Missouri, was originally drafted out of high school by the Cardinals in the 26th round in 2011.

Also recruited by college programs as a quarterback, Graves has turned heads with his powerful arm. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound hurler features a fastball between 92-94 mph that tops out at 97, as well as a hard slider and a changeup.

He started 14 games for Missouri in 2014, going 3-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 93 innings.

"Brett Graves is a guy we've seen a lot of dating back to high school," said A's assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes. "We've seen 90 to 96 [mph], he holds his [velocity] throughout a game, he's extremely athletic. We've seen an average to a plus changeup out of him and also the ability to spin the baseball, and we really like the way he competes and mixes his stuff. We think we've got a Major League starter."

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

2014 Draft Central

Graves grappled three years ago with the decision to pass up the Cardinals' offer, a choice made more difficult by the fact that he grew up in a home full of Cardinals fans in the St. Louis suburbs.

But he has no regrets about the decision he made.

"I think all along I kind of knew I wanted and needed to go to college and get to experience that and just kind of grow, grow physically and grow mentally," Graves told FoxSportsMidwest.com. "And I definitely am happy with the decision I made with that."

Graves ranked seventh in the Southeastern Conference this season in innings pitched, as well as 14th in strikeouts (64) and ninth in walks allowed (18).

The righty was a three-time All-State selection at Missouri's Francis Howell High School, where he was named the 2011 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year after leading his team to a state title as a pitcher and a shortstop.

In the three years since then, he believes he's come a long way.

"I struggled a little bit early on [at Missouri], and I think I had to find out who I was as a pitcher, what made me successful and kind of solidify that and make sure that was never going to change," Graves said Friday. "I think everything's just improved across the board, whether it's the mechanics, fastball command or fastball velocity, my offspeed pitches are sharper and in command.

"Pretty evenly across the board, I've gotten better in every area. I can confidently say that, but also know that I've got a long way to go."

A's stick with righties, take Schwartz in fourth round

The A's took their third straight college right-hander with their fourth pick in the First-Year Player Draft, selecting junior Jordan Schwartz from Niagara University in New York.

Schwartz had 109 strikeouts and 35 walks in 95 innings during his junior season, going 5-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 14 starts.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righty from Hornell, N.Y., also played the outfield, batting .258 with four extra-base hits in 120 at-bats.

"You're talking about a guy that was an all-state football player in high school; he's a two-way player [at Niagara] -- the athleticism is something that stuck out to us," A's assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes said. "Not only that, but the ability to throw 90 to 94 [mph], we like the upside with his arm, we like the upside with the athleticism. We think there's a tremendous amount of projection in his future."

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Schwartz struggled on the hill in his first two seasons at Niagara, and as a sophomore he posted an 8.19 ERA in 17 appearances. But as he began to shift more of his focus away from hitting and toward pitching, he made adjustments and turned in a stellar junior campaign.

"For him, a lot of it had to do with his development of a good offspeed pitch, of a slider," said Niagara head coach Rob McCoy. "He struggled for two years commanding the strike zone with his fastball, and a lot of it stems from he was trying to be too fine and he didn't have a wrinkle.

"Once he developed that slider, he gained more confidence in being able to throw the ball across the plate, pound the zone more and knowing he can attack and get guys out."

Schwartz was an All-MAAC Second Team selection in 2014, leading the conference in strikeouts while holding opponents to a .217 average.

While he continued to play the outfield, Schwartz made a big jump as a pitcher.

"His first two years, he worked a lot offensively," McCoy said. "He would hit every day instead of throw every day. He put a lot of focus on his offense. This year was the first year that I think he decided to focus more on the mound, and that's part of the reason it's shown and paid off."

Oakland drafts converted pitcher Fillmyer

The A's continued their trend of taking college right-handers in the First-Year Player Draft, selecting Heath Fillmyer from Mercer County Community College in New Jersey with their fifth-round pick Friday.

Fillmyer was drafted by the Rockies in the 28th round in 2013 after throwing just 7 1/3 innings as a freshman. But he opted to stay in school another year and was dominant as a sophomore, going 9-0 with a 0.68 ERA while allowing just 38 hits in 66 innings.

He fanned 94 batters, good for a 12.82 K/9 ratio, and was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year on Thursday.

After playing shortstop almost all of his freshman year, Fillmyer decided to devote his full attention to the mound.

"It was relatively simple," he said Friday. "I got drafted throwing 7 1/3 innings. What's going to happen if I devote my life to this?"

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Fillmyer sits in the low to mid 90s with a fastball that can reach 97 mph, and he features a strong curveball with a 12-6 break.

Despite being relatively new to pitching, Fillmyer has done his best to soak up as much information as possible on the craft.

"I pick up a lot of stuff that the professionals do, I listen a lot, and when I'm not at the gym or at school, I'm learning stuff," he said. "I watch a lot of YouTube videos on mechanics.

"One of my favorite pitchers to watch is Pedro Martinez," he added. "I watch a lot of his mechanics and his velocity, and just his power from his legs. I try to replicate that myself. Obviously I'm nowhere close to the pitcher he is, but I definitely just try to pick up little things."

A's take high school infielder in sixth round

Draft Report: Trace Loehr, HS Shortstop

Oakland took its second position player and its first high school player of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, selecting shortstop Trace Loehr in the sixth round.

Loehr, a left-handed hitter from Oregon who has committed to play at Oregon State, is a line-drive hitter with excellent speed, and he was ranked as the No. 92 Draft prospect by MLB.com.

The 19-year-old stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 175 pounds.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Loehr, who was named a 2014 First Team All-American by Perfect Game, started at second base for USA Baseball's 18U team, scoring the winning run in the World Cup final against Japan last September.

He started 13 games for Team USA, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage as well as team highs in stolen bases (six) and walks (seven).

"We were able to identify a high school kid that put together a combination of performance and skill, as well as the competitiveness and the makeup that we look for in those guys," said A's assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes.

After drafting college third baseman Matt Chapman in Round 1, the A's took four straight college right-handers before snagging Loehr.

Virginia middle infielder Cogswell drafted by A's

Branden Cogswell was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League last summer.

The A's drafted middle infielder Branden Cogswell on Friday with their seventh pick of the First-Year Player Draft.

Cogswell, a left-handed hitter, is in his junior season at the University of Virginia, where he moved from shortstop to second base early this spring.

He is the first University of Virginia product to be drafted by the A's since current closer Sean Doolittle, who was taken in the supplemental first round of the 2007 Draft.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Cogswell has hit .294 with a .394 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot for the Cavaliers this season, making just three errors in 285 chances. He was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League last summer, collecting 28 hits in 33 games for the Harwich Mariners.

The A's drafted another left-handed-hitting middle infielder in the previous round, taking high school shortstop Trace Loehr.

Oakland picks first lefty pitcher in ninth round

Mike Fagan had a 2.33 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 58 innings this season.

Mike Fagan became the A's first left-handed pitcher selected in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, taken in the ninth round at No. 282 overall.

Fagan played four years at Princeton University, after initially being drafted in 2010 by his hometown San Diego Padres in the 45th round.

After struggling mightily with his control in his first three seasons, the 6-foot, 175-pound southpaw transformed into the Tigers' ace this year, reviving his Draft stock in the process.

He lowered his walk rate from 13.69 to 2.79 per nine innings and posted a 2.33 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 58 frames.

In May, Fagan was named to the All-Ivy League First Team.

"He obviously had a strong year this year, but you're talking about a lefty that pitches with an average fastball that for his career has had more strikeouts than walks," A's assistant director of scouting Michael Holmes said.

The only other player from Princeton ever drafted by the A's was Drew Stratton in 1986.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

A's cap Day 2 of Draft with Pepperdine right-hander

Corey Miller has posted a 1.75 ERA in 15 starts this season.

The A's drafted Pepperdine right-hander Corey Miller with their 10th pick of the First-Year Player Draft and their final selection of the day Friday.

Miller has posted a 1.75 ERA in 15 starts this season, tossing three complete games along the way to help lead Pepperdine to a Super Regional appearance. He's walked just 29 batters in 113 innings.

The Brewers took Miller in the 16th round last year, but he did not sign. Last summer he played for the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod League, going 5-1 with a 3.20 ERA.

Oakland took six right-handed pitchers in the first 10 rounds of the Draft, and Miller, at 6-foot-3, is the tallest of the bunch.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.