More On A's New International Signings

This off-season, the Oakland A's vowed to put a greater emphasis on their international scouting. That emphasis has already resulted in some significant investments. During the month of November, the A's have signed three prospects out of Latin America, each for six figures. Oakland A's Scouting Director Eric Kubota gave us more information on the trio.

Earlier in the month, the A's announced that they had purchased the contract of Arnold Leon from Saltillo of the Mexican League. Leon is a right-handed pitcher who starred for Saltillo during the Mexican League regular season as a reliever, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.94 ERA in 41.2 innings. He struck out 38 and held opposing batters to a .217 BAA.

Leon is currently pitching for the Tomateros de Culiacan of the Mexican Winter League, where he has a 4-0 record and a 3.20 ERA with 17 strike outs and eight walks in 19.2 innings.

According to Kubota, the A's originally became interested in Leon thanks to the impressive numbers he put up for Saltillo this season at 18-years-old (he just turned 19 on September 6). The A's have had a number of scouts see Leon pitch and they came away impressed with his current stuff and his projection to develop even further. Leon's fastball has been clocked by the A's staff as high as 93 MPH this winter. The A's have invited Leon to major league spring training to get a closer look at him and will decide where to assign him for 2008 this spring.

The A's also recently inked two Dominican prospects: Omar Castillo and Franklyn Contreras. Castillo is a 17-year-old left-handed pitcher. According to Kubota, he already hits 90 MPH on the radar gun with room to improve that velocity. Castillo also has a good breaking ball.

Contreras is an 18-year-old shortstop. He is a switch-hitter, who, according to Kubota, has "good actions and a feel for hitting from both sides of the plate."

Both Castillo and Contreras are expected to compete in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, although no final determination has been made.

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