Yesterday, Ben Badler of Baseball America ($) released his projections for the January international signing period. The Athletics are expected to sign three of the top 50 players in the pool. The signing period opens on January 15th.
Badler reports that the Athletics are likely to sign outfielder Jeremy Denaud and shortstop Edgar Montero, both of the Dominican Republic, as well as Venezuelan outfielder Jose Ramos.
Denaud is a power-hitting righty who currently plays centerfield, but is expected to end up in a corner spot. Badler notes that Denaud likely needs to improve his contact profile in order to have success at the professional level. He's ranked as the 32nd ranked player on the list.
Montero is good sized for his age, coming in at 6' 1" and 185lbs. Badler notes that he has probably doesn't have the defensive profile to stick at shortstop and will more likely move over to third base at some point in the next few years. Montero has a better contact profile than Denaud does, but still carries some high strikeout risk. Badler has him at 36th on the list.
Ramos is smaller than the other two, being listed at 170lbs. Badler notes that he has a strong defensive profile, with above average speed and a strong arm, and should stick in center field. Badler does question the hit tool, however. He notes that scouts have concerns about Ramos' pull-heavy approach and swing and miss issues. He's the 37th ranked player on the list.
All three of these players seem to have a similar profile, in that they carry decent upside with questions about the hit tool. Plate discipline is one of the most meaningful tools at this level, and it's slightly concerning that none of these three guys are lauded for theirs.
However, we have seen the Athletics have success in the international pool. Just last year, the A's snapped up Luis Morales who is currently ranked as the team's 4th best prospect per Baseball America.
They've also grabbed Jordan Diaz, Robert Puason, Lazaro Armenteros, Brayan Buelvas, and more via the international amateur pool in recent years. It'll likely take a few years before we find out whether these guys end up as legit prospects but the A's need to do everything in their power to add talent to the pipeline.