A's take prep OF Beck with No. 6 overall pick

A's take prep OF Beck with No. 6 overall pick

OAKLAND -- Austin Beck's gone fishin.'

The 18-year-old from North Carolina, Oakland's first Draft selection at No. 6 overall, turned down a trip to New Jersey -- site of the Draft's headquarters -- to stay home and be surrounded by family, friends, coaches and teammates when he got the call Monday.

Then he planned to go fishing to celebrate.

A's 33rd overall pick: Kevin Merrell
A's 43rd overall pick: Greg Deichmann

"I'm at a loss of words," Beck said. "I don't really have any words. They all went out the door when my name was called."

The A's made two more selections on the first day of the Draft, taking infielder Kevin Merrell from South Florida with their Competitive Balance Round A pick (33rd overall) and outfielder Greg Deichmann from LSU with their second-round choice (43rd).

Beck comes from North Davidson High School, where he finished his prep career with a .457 batting average and 23 home runs in 103 games -- including a .590 average and 12 home runs during his senior campaign.

Athletics draft OF Beck No. 6

Beck, ranked by MLB.com as the nation's ninth-best Draft prospect, was seen at the Coliseum earlier this month taking batting practice in front of several members of Oakland's front office.

"It was as impressive a high school workout as I've seen in our stadium in the time I've been in our scouting department here," A's scouting director Eric Kubota said. "He hit in our stadium like big leaguers hit in our stadium."

Now Beck wants to get back there as quickly as possible, with plans to forego his commitment to the University of North Carolina.

"I committed there as a freshman, but it's always been my dream to get drafted real high and play for a spot on the 40-man roster," Beck said.

It's just the fourth time in the past 21 years the A's have taken a high school player with their top pick and the first time since 2013, when they chose outfielder Billy McKinney. Kubota expects Beck to remain in center field, citing his instinctiveness and speed.

2017 Draft: Austin Beck, OF

"We just had him evaluated very highly," Kubota said. "We love the ability. We love the upside. We think it's a talent with a bat that doesn't come around very often.

"He's got tremendous bat speed and upside with the bat. We felt the bat ability was unique to this Draft."

Beck tore the ACL in his left knee and missed out on the Draft-critical summer showcase circuit last year, but he returned to the field just in time this spring and displayed what were believed to be some of the best all-around tools available in this year's Draft class.

"It was really tough," Beck said. "I had to have my family and friends back me up and support me. I would definitely say I'm a better player. I appreciate the game a whole lot more."

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.