On October 25, Japanese pitching phenom Shohei Otani announced his intention to jump directly from high school to American baseball. Unlike Masanori Murakami, Hideo Nomo and Hideki Irabu before him, Otani's arrival would be different in that he would eschew the Nippon Professional Baseball league entirely before signing with a Major League ball club. In other words, Otani will become the first Japanese player ever to sign directly with an MLB club out of high school if he does so come April (when eligible).
Almost on cue, some of the usual suspects cropped up as possible landing spots: The Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers have been labeled as the biggest suitors. They're all big-market teams that operate in the top six in Major League Baseball in terms of team salary.
But there is a team lurking that has already shown a propensity to shock the league with its signing of international talent. Yes, that team is the Oakland A's, who in addition to snagging phenom Yoenis Cespedes, took a chance on young pitcher Michael Ynoa in 2008. While it is improbable Oakland could land the lanky Japanese pitcher, there are reasons why it would make sense. Here are my top 10.