OC: I know that before the season there were a number of guys from that large 2004 draft class that the A’s were going to have to protect from the Rule 5 draft at the end of the season – such as Kurt Suzuki or Danny Putnam – that the team ended up adding to the 40-man roster during the season. However, there are still some top prospects out there who will probably have to be protected. Is it difficult to know which players are going to be vulnerable if left unprotected? I know the team lost Jared Burton
last season in the Rule 5 after he showed well at the Arizona Fall League, and he pitched very well for Cincinnati this season. Is it a guessing game in terms of what other teams are going to be looking for in that draft?
FZ: Jared was a little bit of an exception. If you go back and look what he had done in our organization, at least the couple of years leading up to when he was taken in the Rule 5, we have very detailed reports on how our players are performing throughout the year, and his velocity, for the most part, if you go back and look at our game-by-game report, was along the lines of 88-92. He was a consistent performer, but he wasn’t a stand-out, I guess would be a fair way to say it. His results were good, but they weren’t at a level where he would be an absolute obvious Rule 5 choice.
I guess what happened with him was – I don’t know if he had lingering injury issues or what – but he went to the Fall League and showed very well there. His velocity spiked and he was now throwing more 90 to 94 and touched on 95, which is what he pitched at this year. So I think that was a case of timing for Jared because he peaked in the Fall League and that is where a lot of people saw him and it was good scouting by the Reds. They probably had reports on him during the regular season and the Fall League and probably figured that it was worth the roll of the dice that he was the guy that they saw in the Fall League and that was the guy that they would see going forward. And that was the guy that they got and he has done very well for them. He’s the kind of guy that you can never have enough of as an organization