Let's take a trip to the Bay Area and continue our amateur signing bonus series…
- Michael Ynoa, $4.25MM (2008)
- Mark Mulder, $3.2MM (1998)
- Grant Green $2.75MM (2009)
- Renato Nunez, $2.2MM (2010)
- Michael Choice, $2MM (2010)
The Athletics are undeniably a small market team, but they spend like financial powerhouses when it comes to young talent. Ynoa, formerly known as Michel Inoa and arguably the most hyped Latin America pitching prospect of all-time, had a deal in place with the Yankees for $2.7MM before agent Adam Katz stepped in and raised the price. He ended up signing with Oakland for the largest bonus ever given to an international prospect, nearly doubling the previous record (Wily Mo Pena's $2.44MM). Ynoa missed a big chunk of the 2009 season with elbow soreness, then managed just nine innings (six hits, five runs, four walks, eleven strikeouts) this season behind needing Tommy John surgery that will cost him most of 2011.
Mulder was the second overall pick in 1998 reached the big leagues less than two years later. He pitched to a 5.44 ERA in 154 innings as a rookie in 2000, then finished second in the Cy Young voting thanks to a 3.45 ERA, 6.0 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 229.1 innings the very next season. Mulder was a horse for the Athletics (3.92 ERA in 1003 innings from 2000-2004) before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package highlighted by a 24-year-old righty named Dan Haren.
Green (13th overall) and Choice (tenth) are Oakland's last two first round picks. Green hit .318/.363/.520 in his full season as a professional in 2010, Choice .266/.377/.587 in 130 plate appearances after signing. Nunez was the team's top international signing this summer, agreeing to his deal on July 2nd, the day the signing period began. He'll begin his career next season. The A's also signed another top Latin American prospect this year in 16-year-old catcher Argy Raga. His bonus is unknown, however.