Oakland Athletics sign bevy of international amateurs

The Oakland Athletics continue to make moves in the international amateur market, signing ten additional prospects
Midland RockHounds v Frisco Roughriders
Midland RockHounds v Frisco Roughriders / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics have signed a bevy of international amateur free agents, in addition to the two ranked prospects they acquired on Monday. According to Athletics Farm on Twitter, the A's have come to terms with ten additional prospects.

The prospects include outfielder Sebastian Rojas, catchers Azzael Pacheco and Alejandro Pereira, shortstop Samuel Gonzalez, left-hander Franco Zabaleta, and right-handers Erick Matos, Yohandri Contreras, Celso Lopez, Oliver Sirotti, and Nathan Arends.

We wrote yesterday in detail about the two ranked prospects the A's acquired, Edgar Montero and Jose Ramos. None of the remaining players acquired by the A's yesterday appear on either Baseball America's or MLB Pipeline's top-50 list of eligible IAFA's.

That doesn't mean there aren't potential hidden gems in that group, nor does it mean that the A's are done signing players.

It's definitely a positive sign to see the A's continue to be engaged in the international amateur market. They do seem to be having some success with Venezuelan players in particular. By my count, they've now signed 6 Venezuelan players during this signing period, to add to the 9 Venezuelans currently in the system.

The A's will hope to replicate some of the success they've had with recent IAFA's. Last winter, the A's signed right-hander Luis Morales from Cuba, who rocketed through four minor league levels in 2023. He's pegged by a number of outlets as one of the more exciting prospects in the entire organization and there are pretty big expectations for him in 2024.

The A's also have Cuban outfielder "Lazarito" Armenteros, who was added to the 40-man roster this winter, hoping to make an impact at the major league level in 2024. It's been a bit of an arduous path through the system for Lazarito but he found a rhythm in 2023, posting an .844 OPS in 96 games at Double-A. Depending on trades and injuries, Lazarito could make his MLB debut this summer.

Overall, it's a strong start for the Athletics. They desperately need to increase the amount of talent across the board, and being active in the IAFA market is one way to do so. They'll need to keep finding hidden gems if they want to build a competitive minor league system in the short term.