I congratulate the A's on their recent International Free Agent signings. I think this is exactly the way they should go to try and add high ceiling talent into the system. I believe everyone would agree the A's need this type of talent on the farm and in Oakland.
I notice what I see as an inconsistency in the international approach vs the June draft. In the last four drafts the A's have selected college players with their first selection. Generally college boys are more predictable (and often cheaper) that high schoolers. But if a team is looking for high risk/high reward types they are usually found in the hard to sign, talented high school players. Maybe this is an attempt at balance in risk/reward or an attempt to keep costs down with lower signing bonuses but I feel it is the wrong approach for a rebuilding team. I think the A's should go for the talent that has the best upside and trust the development team in the minors to get the player to his best level.
The last #1 high school choice was T Cahill in 2006, who was an excellent choice (even in hindsight) as he was considered a top talent with a college offer but the A's managed to get his signature on a contract. If you look at the four recent drafts you see college players at #1.
In 2007 D Simmons (26) was selected just before R Porcello (27) and B Revere (28). Porcello was know to be a huge talent but a difficult sign. Revere has outstanding tools and is a likely CF in Minnesota in the futurre.
In 2008 J Weeks (12) was selected ahead of A Hicks (14) and C Kelly (30). Both of these high school athletes have "tools" and outstanding potential. Kelly slipped this far due to to sign ability issues.
In 2009 G Green (13) was selected as a college SS. At (19) was S Miller a very high ceiling high school pitcher who went to St Louis and M Trout (25). Both of these players are doing well in the minors and appear to have good futures in the majors.
In 2010 M Choice (10) was selected ahead of J Skole (15) and J Sale (16). While too soon to discuss their performance I mention them as high ceiling type high school players that I would have targeted.
Looking forward, I think these alternate selections would have improved greatly the Oakland system. How much extra money would have been spent is difficult to quantify. Also, some of the A's college boys may be successful but I think my high ceiling premise is valid and better selections were available.
I realize I have done some cherry picking in looking at past selections but I believe that if the A's had chosen higher ceiling and higher risk players (and more expensive players) their system would be in better shape. Thanks for any comments.