Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.
No. 6 - Robert Puason, SS
The A's believe they've struck gold with Puason, a 17-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. Oakland liked him enough to sign him for $5.1 million this July in the international prospect pool.
MLB Pipeline ranked Puason as the number two international prospect in this year's class behind only Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez, but the A's feel like they got the best player.
"We had targeted Robert fairly early on as the top player in this class," A's assistant general manager Dan Feinstein said at the time. "We firmly believe that he is and we're beyond thrilled that he's going to be an Athletic."
The 6-foot-3, 165-pound switch hitter has the potential to become a five-tool player. MLB Pipeline rates Puason as a plus runner and hitter, with an above-average arm and fielding ability.
Puason had been on the A's radar for years, as the team was enamored with his natural talent, both with his bat and his glove.
"We believe he has the ability to impact the game in a number of ways," Feinstein said. "He's a dynamic, athletic, wiry, strong, switch-hitting shortstop who plays with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm."
At the young age of 17, Puason obviously has a long way to go before reaching the big leagues. At this point, his defense is probably a bit more advanced than his offense, though he has plenty of time to improve on both sides.
"He is really fun to watch play shortstop," Feinstein said. "He plays with such energy and emotion that it's fun to watch him pick up a ball. He's got advanced defensive capabilities now, so we would anticipate that he would be an above-average major league shortstop. He can also really throw."
A's fans should enjoy watching Puason develop at each level of Oakland's minor-league system. If his development goes according to plan, he could make an impact in the majors in four or five years.