Robert Puason was immediately considered to be one of the Oakland A’s top prospects when he signed as an international free agent. He was one of two players to receive a signing bonus of $5 million or more during his signing period, leading to high expectations when he finally made his debut this season.
Those high expectations have come crashing to earth with a loud thud. Puason has now become the poster child for why the international market is such a gamble as he looked completely overwhelmed in his first year stateside. Considering that he was adjusting to full season ball, a new country and culture, and was one of the youngest players in the league, some difficulties were to be expected.
Robert Puason has lost his prospect luster
That does not mean that Puason was expected to perform as poorly as he did. He produced a disappointing .215/.282/.291 batting line in his 337 plate appearances, hitting three homers and 12 doubles. His strikeout rate was even more concerning as he was set down on strikes 139 times. Likewise, his 29 errors were enough to give anyone pause.
This also does not mean that Puason’s future is written in stone. He still has plenty of athleticism and tremendous tools. It just may take longer for him to develop than anyone had thought when he was signed.
His ability to bounce back from last season is going to be interesting to watch. Puason experienced little success last year and will be expected to show improvement in his second year in the A’s system. It is difficult to imagine that the age 19 year of any prospect as being crucial, but that may be the case here.
Robert Puason had a disastrous debut in the Oakland A’s system in 2021. He will need a rebound season to recapture that top prospect luster.