International Reviews: Oakland Athletics
See also: 2014 Athletics International Review
See also: 2013 Athletics International Review
See also: 2012 Athletics International Review
Top signing: SS Christopher Quintin, Dominican Republic, $300,000.
Total signings: 22.
The Athletics have a small front office to start with, so with Sam Geaney leaving to become the Padres’ farm director in October 2014, the Athletics are in an unusual spot of not having an international director, though they still have scouts on the ground throughout Latin America and oversight from the front office. They went into the 2015-16 signing period with a $2,093,100 bonus pool, but they traded away two of their slots worth a combined $555,400 to the Braves in separate deals to acquire righthanders Cody Martin and Aaron Kurcz, leaving the A’s with a $1,537,700 pool.
As a small-market franchise that should be trying to build through a pipeline of homegrown talent, the A’s decision to sign Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million deal yet invest so minimally in Latin America seems strange, especially since it’s an arena where every team has the financial resources to compete for the top Dominican and Venezuelan players. Expect that investment level to change this year on July 2, with the A’s showing signs they will be more heavily involved internationally.
While the A’s weren’t in the penalty box last year, their biggest signing of the year was the $300,000 they gave to Dominican shortstop Christopher Quintin on July 2. Quintin, 16, is 6-foot-1, 160 pounds and stood out for his speed, athleticism and lean, wiry frame. He’s a plus runner with good bat speed, a line-drive approach and a chance to build on his present gap power once he fills out, though he’s still more tools than game skills right now. He’s still learning to slow the game down at shortstop, with center field a backup option if he has to move off the position. Quintin played in the Dominican Prospect League.
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Rafioby Urena, a 17-year-old outfielder/first baseman who also played in the DPL and trained with Ramon Gonzalez, signed for $275,000 on July 2. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Urena has an extra-large, physical build with a lot of present strength. His standout tool right now is his raw power, and while he’s shown the A’s some progress as a hitter, he’s still learning to develop as hitting ability in games. Urena will likely start his career as an outfielder, though with his size and limited mobility, there’s a high probability he ends up at first base.