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Oakland A's Minor League Notebook: A's sign three international free agents

Over the past three weeks, the Oakland A's have signed three international amateur free agents. We have details on the three newest members of the A's organization, as well as notes on players participating in the Arizona Fall League and winter leagues in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook.

A’s sign trio of 16-year-olds

The Oakland A’s have signed three new international amateur free agents: OF Jose Paula, OF Ivan “Iraj” Serrano and RHP Angello Infante. Paula and Infante both hail from Venezuela and Serrano is from Panama. All three are 16-years-old.

According to Oakland A’s Director of Professional Scouting/Baseball Development Dan FeinsteinIraj Serranois a thin body projectable LH hitting CF with a frame to grow into over time.” Feinstein said via email that the A’s have been scouting Serrano for two summers.

“He continues to progress with the bat while playing solid CF defense,” Feinstein said. 

“Like many of these kids, he’ll need to add strength to reach his potential.”

Serrano signed with the A’s officially on October 13.

Angello Infante is a product of the Go Pro Baseball Academy in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The right-hander has pitched for the Venezuelan youth national team in several tournaments over the past few years.

Feinstein describes Infante as “a projectable RHP with a fast arm and feel for three pitches.”   

“Presently a bit raw, we envision him with at least an average fastball when the arm matures,” Feinstein continued. “He also shows the ability to spin a curveball. Most importantly, he has current awareness of the strike zone.”

Serrano and Infante squared off against each other last August in the U15 World Championships. Serrano and Panama got the upper-hand that day, as they beat Infante and Venezuela, 7-1.

The A’s have tracked outfielder Jose Paula over the past few years, as well, according to Feinstein. He describes Paula as being “large and physical, with present strength and future plus power.” 

“He moves well in the outfield for his size and we see him as right-fielder with strength in the bat down the road,” Feinstein said.

Ravelo wins award, avoids serious injury; Muncy hurt

Rangel Ravelo has been an unstoppable force this winter for the Cardenales de Lara, but he will be sidelined for several days with a dislocated finger. Ravelo was injured over the weekend in a game during which there was a bench-clearing brawl. It wasn’t clear whether the injury occurred during the brawl or while Ravelo was batting. An x-ray confirmed that the finger wasn’t fractured.

Ravelo was named the Player of the Week for the Venezuelan Winter League after he posted a 2017 OPS for the Cardenales between October 26 and November 1. He is leading the VWL with a .510 average. He has a .636 OBP and a .902 SLG. Ravelo has homered five times and has walked 21 times in 19 games. The corner infielder missed the first half of the 2015 regular season with a wrist injury that required surgery. He hit .304/.377/.439 in 59 minor league games between the AZL, Texas League and Pacific Coast League after recovering from the injury.   

In other international news, Max Muncy has been sidelined with a reported rib or rib cage injury since October 17. He is no longer listed on the active Charros de Jalisco roster. In seven games in the Mexican Winter League, Muncy hit .320/.370/.480 with a homer, a double and a walk in 25 official at-bats.

Kurcz shut-down; Urlaub joins Mesa

The A’s have shut down reliever Aaron Kurcz after four Arizona Fall League appearances. He had an 11.25 ERA and he allowed 10 base-runners in four innings for the Mesa Solar Sox. Left-handed reliever Jeff Urlaub, who missed much of the 2015 season with arm trouble, will take Kurcz’s place in the Mesa bullpen. Urlaub pitched in the AFL in 2013. He had a 2.77 ERA and 16 strike-outs in 13 innings that season for Mesa.

Pinder, Brugman return

Chad Pinder missed 12 days of the Arizona Fall League tending to a personal matter, but he returned with a splash on Monday, homering against Peoria. The homer was his third in five games and his fifth extra base hit. Pinder won the Texas League MVP during the regular season.

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman missed a few games late last week after banging up his left hand diving for a ball in the outfield. He returned on Halloween and went 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. Brugman is batting .200/.256/.289 in nine games for Mesa this season.

A’s sending three to Rising Stars game

The Arizona Fall League announced its rosters for the annual Rising Stars Game, an all-star showcase of prospects from the prestigious league. The A’s are sending three players to the game: LHP Sean Manaea, IF Chad Pinder and IF Renato Nunez.

Manaea made his fourth AFL start on Monday. He allowed just a first inning run in four innings. Manaea struck-out four, walked one and he allowed four hits. Manaea has 17 strike-outs and four walks in 16 innings this fall.

Nunez wowed the league with a three-homer game on October 19. He has four homers and an 844 OPS in 13 games. Nunez is second in the league in homers.

Pinder has missed a significant portion of the season thus far, but he has impressed when on the field. He is batting .333 with a 1221 OPS in five games.

Barreto heating up

Franklin Barreto has had a slow start to his Venezuelan Winter League season, but he may be starting to heat up.

Barreto homered on Monday, his second in three games. He has seven RBI over his last four games. For the VWL season, Barreto has a .184/.241/.327 line in 14 games.

Avila, Sanchez making noise in Mexico

Right-handers Andres Avila and Jake Sanchez are pitching well as late-inning relievers in the Mexican Winter League. Avila has nine saves in 10 chances and a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings for Caneros de los Mochis. He has six strike-outs and he has allowed 10 base-runners.

Sanchez has converted all three save opportunities for Aguilas de Mexicali. In 7.2 innings, he has a 2.38 ERA. He has allowed five hits and has walked one and hit one batter.

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