At the start of the 2007-2008 off-season, the Oakland A's front office made it a priority to increase the organization's scouting efforts and budget in markets outside of the United States. Since that time, the A's efforts have landed them a number of Latin American prospects, but until this month, the A's had struck-out in Asia and Australia. That changed when the team came to terms with an 18-year-old from Werribee, Australia, Oliver Box.
According to A's Assistant GM David Forst, Box has been on the A's radar for the past year. He was scouted by the team's Australian scout, Russ Spear, over the past 12 months. In addition, Special Assistant to the GM Randy Johnson, who has been instrumental in the team's scouting efforts in the Far East, saw Box play last summer and this past January.
"He is a physically mature (6'1'', 190) kid for 18 years old, who shows above average power from the right side and has an outstanding work ethic," Forst said in an e-mail to OaklandClubhouse.com.
On the Victorian Institute of Sport Web site, Box is listed as both a catcher and as a first baseman. The A's intend have him focus primarily on being a catcher when he joins the organization. He is currently penciled in to come to the US and participate in the A's extended spring training program.
"We're excited that Russ was able to get the deal done and we're looking forward to seeing Oliver when he comes to the States," Forst said.
Fellow recent international free agent signings Michael Inoa, Robin Rosario and Omar Duran are also expected to participate in the extended spring training program.
A's Go Down Under For Latest Signing
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