With the first pick of the 2023 MLB Rule 5 Draft, the Athletics selected right-handed pitcher Mitch Spence.
Spence, 25, spent the 2023 season at Triple A for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the New York Yankees organization.
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Originally the No. 10 overall pick by the Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft, the University of South Carolina Aiken product started 29 Triple-A games last season, going 8-8 with a 4.47 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 163 innings pitched.
A's GM David Forst said Wednesday that Spence will enter spring training with a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation. If not, a bullpen role if he performs well enough (h/t MLB.com's Martín Gallegos).
Spence was the third pitcher New York lost in the draft, as the Kansas City Royals picked RHP Matt Sauer (also the Yankees' 25th-ranked prospect) after the A's and RHP Carson Coleman went to the Texas Rangers on the 10th and last pick of the major league phase.
The A's paid $100,000 to make a pick in the draft, but, by rule, if Spence doesn't stay on the active major league roster for the entire 2024 MLB season, Oakland must offer him back to New York for $50,000.
The A's did lose three prospects in the minor league phase of the draft: catcher William Simoneit went to the Philadelphia Phillies; RHP Calvin Coker went to the Detroit Tigers; and center fielder Moises Gallardo went to the Washington Nationals.