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A's happy with young arms, Pennington

A's happy with young arms, Pennington

OAKLAND -- The 2005 First-Year Player Draft wasn't even over when the A's signed their top pick, but agreeing to terms with Texas A&M shortstop Cliff Pennington wasn't the only cause for celebration in the club's draft room.

According the Eric Kubota, Oakland's director of scouting, the A's achieved just about everything they set out to achieve in this year's draft.

"Definitely," Kubota said late Wednesday. "We got two of the college guys we really targeted throughout the year, and we got a lot of good young arms to put into the system. We're very happy."

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The college players to whom Kubota referred are Pennington and Travis Buck, an outfielder from Arizona State taken in the supplemental round. Here's a look at the players Oakland selected in rounds No. 2-20, followed by a comment from Kubota.

RHP Craig Italiano (second round, Flower Mound H.S., Tex.)
"First-round talent. Best high school arm in the country this year."

RHP Jared Lansford (second round, St. Francis H.S., Calif.)
"Very athletic. Has three 'plus' pitches. We've probably just seen the tip of the iceberg with Jared."

RHP Vincent Mazzaro (third round, Rutherford H.S., N.J.)
"Flashes two above-average pitches."

RHP Jimmy Shull (fourth round, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)
"Athletic college senior, has average to a-bit-above-average stuff across the board."

RHP Scott Deal (fifth round, Curtis H.S., Wash.)
"Real loose arm. Has a chance to throw very hard someday."

SS Justin Sellars (sixth round, Marina H.S., Calif.)
"Just a great little player. Not very big, but he knows how to play the game."

RHP Kevin Bunch (seventh round, Serrano H.S., Calif.)
"A lot like Scott Deal. A lot of ceiling. Throws a good knuckle-curve."

RHP Jason Ray (eighth round, Azusa Pacific University)
"Our scouts saw up to 95 [miles per hour]."

RHP Trey Shields (ninth round, University of Alabama)
"Big-bodied kid with a lot of arm strength."

RHP John Herrera (10th round, Lubbock Christian University)
"Six-foot-six, good arm. Maybe a little bit under the radar."

1B Steven Kleen (11th round, Pepperdine University)
"He pitched, too, but we like him as a hitter. Really started coming into power late in the year."

3B Jeff Baisley (12th round, University of South Florida)
"Big-bodied kid who had a great year offensively."

LHP Mike Massero (13th round, Colorado State University-Pueblo)
"Real athletic center fielder. Has a chance to be an above-average defender."

LHP Brad Davis (14th round, Lewis & Clark State College)
"He just knows how to pitch."

OF Jeff Bieker (15th round, Fort Hays State University)
"Strong kid. Hit over 20 homers each of the past two years."

1B Justin Smoak (16th round, Stratford H.S., S.C.)
"One of the top high school position players in the draft. Signability is questionable, so we'll see what happens over the summer."

2B Isaac Omura (17th round, University of Hawaii)
"A little dirtbag who can flat-out hit."

C Anthony Recker (18th round, Alvernia College)
"Comes from a small school. Solid catch-and-throw skills."

C Julio Rivera (19th round, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy)
"Pretty advanced catch-and-throw skills. There's a pretty good track record for catchers from Puerto Rico."

RHP Stephen Bryant (20th round, University of Hawaii)
"Had a great year. Very good breaking ball."

After the 20th round, most teams are drafting to make sure their Minor League teams are stocked and balanced, but Kubota said he's never dismiss the big-league prospects of those selected on the second day of the draft.

"You need bodies; that's why the draft has so many rounds," Kubota said. "But you never know with these guys. There's obviously something we like about all of them, and you who's to say they won't overachieve down the road."

Among the notable second-day draftees for Oakland were Ohio State right-hander Michael Madsen (21st round), who started the prestigious Cape Cod League's all-star game last summer; San Jose State lefty Brad Kilby (29th round), who has been on Oakland's radar screen since he was in high school; T.J. Franco (30th round), a right-hander from University of San Francisco; and Northwood High shortstop Shane Keough, a draft-and-follow pick in the 36th round whose father, Matt, is a former star pitcher with the A's and currently works for the club as a special assistant to general manager Billy Beane.

The A's drafted a total of 40 players, including 29 collegians and 11 high school athletes. The breakdown includes 19 pitchers, six catchers, 11 infielders and four outfielders.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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