OAKLAND -- When looking at the successful A's clubs throughout the Oakland era, most of those teams have benefited from an international signing.
These are the A’s all-time top five international prospects.
Signing with the A’s out of Cuba as an 18-year-old in 1961, Campaneris’ contract included a $1,000 bonus that was only payable if he remained with the organization for at least 60 days. Campaneris stuck around much longer -- 13 years to be exact -- and established a legacy as the greatest shortstop to play for the A’s. He remains the club’s all-time hit leader with 1,882.
Tejada was signed as a 17-year-old in 1991 by Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, a scout for the A’s at the time, for $2,000. Developing through the A’s Dominican academy as a teenager, Tejada earned his first Major League callup in 1997 and soon established himself as one of the greatest shortstops to ever come through Oakland. His seven seasons with the A’s included an All-Star selection and American League MVP Award in 2002. He ranks first among A’s shortstops in home runs (156), RBIs (604) and slugging percentage (.460).
One of the most hyped international players of the century, Céspedes immediately became the A’s highest-paid player on the club by signing a four-year, $36 million deal in 2012. Expectations were high, but Céspedes lived up to the hype as he finished runner-up in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting, slashing .292/.356/.505 with 23 home runs, 25 doubles, 82 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. He was a major contributor to back-to-back A’s playoff teams from '12-13 and became just the second player in baseball history to win the Home Run Derby twice before he was traded to the Red Sox in a deal for Jon Lester midway through the '14 season.
Rated as the No. 2 international prospect on MLB.com’s Top 30 list for 2019, Puason signed with the A’s for a hefty $5.1 million bonus. He’s yet to play a Minor League game with the A’s, but the expectations for Oakland’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline are already high for Puason to be the club’s shortstop of the future. He's even drawn comparisons to former All-Star shortstop Tony Fernandez. Still only 18, his Major League ETA is still at least a few years away.
5) Tony Batista
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1991, Batista played the first two seasons of his Major League career with the A’s but didn’t really break out until he was drafted by the D-backs in the 1997 expansion draft. He was selected to two All-Star teams and mashed 221 home runs over 11 seasons in the Majors.