As a hitter, the former Wildcat produced 14 doubles and homered eight times in 2022. In addition, he stole 23 bases without getting caught once in school. Over a two-year period, he batted a respectable .280 while totaling 171 bases.
Watters brings major heat to the table for the Athletics, who have always prided themselves on developing pitching talent through its farm system. The former West Virginia Mountaineer saw a sharp decline in 2022 after a respectable 2021 campaign. Nonetheless, he still saw an uptick in innings pitched and strikeouts. Standing 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Watters can get his fastball up around the 100 mph mark.
Former Oklahoma catcher Jimmy Crooks is heading to an organization with arguably the best catcher of the last two decades in Yadier Molina. Molina was also a fourth-round selection (113th overall) in the 2000 MLB Draft. Crooks blocks the plate well and gets the ball out of his glove quickly on the defensive end. He threw out 20 of 45 potential base stealers in 2022.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Crooks’ end to the season came as a hitter. He led the team with 20 runs batted in during the postseason and those totals included five home runs and six doubles. The former Sooner has enough speed for a catcher. He finished with 10 steals this past season.
Victor Scott II’s foot speed aided him on both the bases and in the field for the West Virginia Mountaineers. During school, he posted an 86-percent conversion rate on steal attempts. His marked improvement as a hitter in 2022 (.278 BA) spurred more on-base opportunities. Scott’s 38 stolen bases led the conference and ranked sixth nationally this past season.
In 2022, Douglas Hodo III displayed increased bat speed and continued his fine work in centerfield for the Longhorns. The speedy Texan finished his prep level career ranked second for stolen bases in the state’s history. However, he also doubled up in track and field, where he posted times of 10.8 seconds in the 100 meters and 22.5 seconds in the 200 meters.
Boerne High School’s (Tex.) all-time leading receiver batted .319 for the Longhorns in 2022, with 10 home runs, 26 doubles (led Big 12) and 47 RBIs.
Chris McElvain turned in back-to-back respectable seasons for the Vanderbilt Commodores, notching 11 wins in the process. This past season he produced double-digit strikeout performances in three performances, including 11 in his final career start against New Mexico State.