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A's all-time top 5 international signings

@MartinJGallegos
May 6, 2020

OAKLAND -- When looking at the successful A's clubs throughout the Oakland era, most of those teams have benefited from an international signing. MLB Pipeline recently released its annual Top 30 international prospects list for players eligible to sign in the 2020-21 signing period. These young players are the game’s

OAKLAND -- When looking at the successful A's clubs throughout the Oakland era, most of those teams have benefited from an international signing.

MLB Pipeline recently released its annual Top 30 international prospects list for players eligible to sign in the 2020-21 signing period. These young players are the game’s international stars of tomorrow and are following in the footsteps of thousands of international players who laid the groundwork before them. One day, these young men could be remembered among the best players in team history.

These are the A’s all-time top five international prospects.

1) Bert Campaneris

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.

2) Miguel Tejada

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).

3) Yoenis Céspedes

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.

4) Robert Puason

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. 4 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 17, 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.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.