The Oakland Athletics selected N.C. State senior Ryan Mathews in round 27 with the 829th pick. Below the jump I have rehashed my draft preview comments on Mathews if you would like to read them again (or for the first time). As an older prospect (RS SR), it will be interesting to see where Mathews is assigned. I feel like he will adjust well at first to the lower minors, but he may be exposed against more advanced pitching (high A? AA?). His power is legit though, and he is a good dude that I think we will all be rooting for.
Ryan Mathews: His long journey will finally pay off with him hearing his name called in the 2012 draft. The frequent-flying Mathews signed with Florida out of high school before moving on to Western Carolina after a coaching change, transferred to Santa Fe Community College and then on to the Pack, where he has finally found the consistent playing time that breeds success. Mathews leads the team with 17 home runs, 62 RBI and a Pujolsian 1.051 OPS.
Though he was productive in stints with WCU and Santa Fe, his road got bumpy in Raleigh, where he missed nearly all of 2010 after an appendectomy. Mathews only managed 25 at bats in 2011, but reversed his fortunes playing summer ball for the Wilson Tobs in the Coastal Plains League. He set Tobs' records with 14 home runs and 53 RBI and impressed the Chicago White Sox, who offered him a deal as an undrafted free agent.
Unlike John Gianis (who lost his starting job) and Brett Williams (torn ACL), Mathews' decision to spurn pro ball has paid off. Considering he is also an adept defender in right field, and that power is always at a premium, all 30 MLB teams will be vying for his services this time, and it will probably take a pick in the top 20 rounds, if not earlier given the ungodly hot streak he is on (and certainly not a free agent deal), to secure his services.
Obviously I thought he would go sooner, but to be drafted at all after barely playing for two years is a helluva accomplishment. I hope he makes 29 teams regret passing him up!