A's agree to terms with Dominican prospect

July 2, 2008 12:46:16 PM PDT
The Oakland Athletics and prized 16-year-old pitching prospect Michael Inoa of the Dominican Republic agreed Wednesday to a minor league contract with a $4.25 million signing bonus.

That is an A's record for a signing an amateur player. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound right-hander is widely considered the top prospect in his country and much of Latin America and is scheduled to play in the Dominican Summer League. Oakland likes Inoa's athleticism and he already has a fastball clocked in the mid 90s.

"Michael has a chance to be a very special pitcher in the major leagues," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "Even at this early age, he is a very polished pitcher with three above-average pitches and a fluid delivery. We are very excited about this young man's potential and look forward to watching his growth, both personally and professionally, in the years to come."

Beane and the A's have been upgrading their efforts in the Dominican over the past year. He and a group of A's executives including owner Lew Wolff visited the Dominican Republic last month to scout and evaluate Inoa.

"There is no question that Michael is an impact prospect," said Raymond Abreu, the organization's director of Latin America operations. "In my opinion, he's the most impressive Latin America player since Felix Hernandez (2002). As a pitcher, he has effortless mechanics with loose arm action on all his pitches and a clean, easy delivery. He's an exceptional athlete and he throws a very heavy fastball."


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