Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Plano West's Billy McKinney taken 24th overall by Oakland A's (a team he's quietly rooted for) in MLB draft
McKinney, taken with 24th pick, says he is a lifelong Oakland fan
The Oakland Athletics drafted Plano West’s Billy McKinney with the 24th pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft Thursday in Secaucus, N.J.
The Plano native grew up going to Texas Rangers games, but he told MLB Network that he’s always quietly rooted for Oakland, which chose McKinney one pick after the Rangers took Oral Roberts pitcher Alex Gonzales.
“I’m just lucky to have this chance,” McKinney said. “I’ve been a low-key Athletics fan my whole life. It’s a great organization and I’m excited to play for them.”
The left-handed outfielder was one of the best hitters available in the 2013 draft class. McKinney surged up draft boards during an outstanding senior season in which he batted .372 with a .585 on-base percentage.
“The two words I use to describe his swing are pure and power,” Plano West coach Kevin Clark said. “It’s very quick, and he uses his body so well to get power behind it.”
The 24th pick comes with a slot value of nearly $1.9 million.
McKinney was the Dallas area’s highest high school pick since 2007, when Irving’s Blake Beavan was selected by the Rangers at No. 17.
Stanford ace goes No. 1: The Houston Astros selected Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the top pick. Appel, 21, was drafted eighth last year, and then returned to Stanford for his senior season after failing to agree on a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A native of Houston who moved to the Bay Area when he was 12, Appel is thrilled to be returning to his hometown.
“It means a lot,” Appel said in an interview on the MLB Network. “This has just been such a surreal moment for me and my family, just knowing I’m going back home. It’s really an honor.”
Twins take A&M signee: The first high school player picked was pitcher Kohl Stewart, who went to the Minnesota Twins at No. 4. A right-hander from Tomball, Texas, Stewart has signed to play baseball and football at Texas A&M — where he would likely be a backup to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback.
Denton product goes eighth: Kansas City surprised several analysts by taking Stephen F. Austin shortstop Hunter Dozier, a Denton graduate, with the eighth overall pick.
Dozier was projected to go at the end of the first round or early in the second round.
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds spoke in favor of the pick during the telecast.
“It’s a surprise if you haven’t seen him play,” Reynolds said. “He reminds me of Troy Tulowitzki. He’s that sort of athlete. This guy is a big-time projectable shortstop. I like the pick.”
OU’s Gray No. 3 pick: Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray was selected by Colorado with the third overall pick.
Gray, who was Baseball America’s top-ranked prospect, went 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA and 138 strikeouts for Oklahoma.
Orioles take son of major leaguer: The Orioles selected a pitcher in first round in four of the past five drafts, and they continued that trend by drafting North Carolina high school right-hander Hunter Harvey with the 22nd overall pick. Harvey, the son of former major league reliever Bryan Harvey, was 8-0 with a 0.38 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 542/3 innings at Bandys High School in Catawba, N.C.
The 6-2, 168-pound 18-year-old did not make a college commitment, so signability shouldn’t be an issue. The slot money for the 22nd pick is $1,947,600.
Marlins take Surhoff’s nephew: North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran, the nephew of former big league All-Star B.J. Surhoff — the No. 1 overall pick in 1985 by Milwaukee — went sixth overall to the Miami Marlins. Moran was the ACC player of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.