The A's drafted shortstop Addison Russell with the 11th overall pick Monday. Their next task is to sign him.
Russell, a Scott Boras-advised player who attends Pace High School (Fla.), is the first high school prospect the A's have taken in the first round since 2001, when they selected pitcher Jeremy Bonderman.
Russell has a scholarship to Auburn waiting for him, but he said he's undecided right now about turning pro or going to college.
"I'm just excited," Russell said on a conference call. "Me and my family are going to be talking about it a lot."
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the deadline for teams to sign draft picks is July 13, or else they lose rights to the player.
Russell hit .358 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 32 games this season. He also walked 30 times and had a .532 on-base percentage.
According to Baseball America, Russell has soft hands, improved footwork and an above-average arm. Offensively, he's said to have good bat speed and raw power but is "hindered by inconsistent swing mechanics."
The pick surprised the expert panel on the MLB Network but generally got a thumbs-up.
"I like the pick," analyst Harold Reynolds said. "He's a very athletic youngster."
The 6-foot-1 Russell weighed as much 220 pounds after his junior season. But starting in December, he said he used yoga, Pilates and an improved diet that helped him shed about 20 pounds. He now weighs 190.
There is some thought that a switch to third is in his future, but Reynolds said he could see a switch to second base being more likely were Russell to change positions.
However, the A's have been searching for an impact shortstop prospect for some time. They drafted Grant Green at No. 13 overall in 2009 but have since switched him to center field.
The A's had their pick of shortstops at No. 11, with Arizona State's Deven Merrero and another prep player, Gavin Cecchini, also available. Interestingly, both players were rated higher than Russell on Baseball America's draft board.
Merrero ranked No. 14, Cecchini No. 16 and Russell No. 28.
Oakland took another prep shortstop, Daniel Robertson out of Upland High School, with their next pick at No. 34.