The next prospect up to be reviewed is Michael Choice of the Oakland Athletics.
How Acquired: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics out of the University of Texas at Arlington in the 1st round (10th overall) of the 2010 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 21
Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube
Hardball Times: #1 (OAK – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #7 (Outfielders– 2011), #52 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #5 (Center Fielders – 12/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (Northwest League – 10/2010), #3 (OAK – 2011)
John Sickels: #3 (OAK – 2011) B
Baseball Prospectus: 2011 Team Rankings Not Released Yet
Scouting Book: #28 (Outfielders – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #3 (OAK – 2011)
The top draft pick in the 2010 class for the Athletics, Choice had previously been placed at the same pick by Keith Law in his final mock prior to the draft. Coming out of college, Choice had posted solid numbers across all categories on offense. His junior season was his best as a hitter, hitting .383/.572/.704 with 16 homers, 59 runs batted in, 67 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases. He then had an impressive performance in the Northwest League last year after signing, hitting 7 homers in just 27 games and posting a .627 slugging percentage.
The thing that stands out to me about Choice from his brief professional time so far is the power potential. While in college, he slugged .644 and .704 respectively in his last 2 seasons, and posted that ridiculous .627 slugging in a small sample last year.
Of some concern from last year has to be his plate discipline, which seems to have taken a gigantic hit in those 27 games. In college, Choice posted walk-to-strikeout rates of 21:35, 29:30, and 76:54, but had just 15 walks to 43 strikeouts in the Northwest League. I will be very interested to see whether or not he can return to the better rates of his college career.
Choice played center field exclusively last season, and I have to imagine that unless he shows that he simply cannot play the position, the Athletics will keep him out there in center field. I haven’t seen him actually play the position on video, but I’m guessing he will at least start the season there at worst.
Choice seems like he’s might start the season at Low A in the Northwest League again, but is more likely to be sent to the Athletics High-A affiliate in the California League. The California League is known for producing some ridiculous offensive statistics, so we could see some stunning numbers. To me, the biggest thing I want to see out of him is whether he can return to his college plate discipline. If that works, he could be fast-tracked towards the majors.
Prediction for 2011
.300/.425/.600, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 15 SB (A+)
2013 seems like the most likely timeframe, as he will probably not move above AA by the end of 2011.