Oakland Athletics: Ranking The Top Ten Prospects

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Jul 3, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Fireworks above the stadium after the game at O.co Coliseum. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-5. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1: Franklin Barreto, SS

Talent: 84/100
Minors: 27/30
Need: 15/20
Final Score: 84/100

Of all of the A’s prospects, Barreto’s talent stands out as an entire standard deviation better than all of the rest. When Beane traded away Josh Donaldson, he got Lawrie because he needed a third baseman immediately, but what he really wanted was Barreto.

The A’s used to have a shortstop in their system that stood out as being on another level, but he was traded to the Cubs to acquire Jeff Samardzija. Beane sought out Barreto because he needed a replacement for Addison Russell.

Barreto may not have the defensive tools that Russell did. In fact, it is still possible that when Barreto is ready to be called up to the majors, they are going to place him at second base. He is only 19 years old, so the organization is going to continue to build his defensive skills, and make a determination about which position he will play when he is closer to the finished product.

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Barreto’s real value is that he has an incredible knack for hitting. Many of the A’s middle infielders have been injury-prone the last several seasons, so the team has lacked consistent production from these positions for years. Barreto offers a solution to this problem.

Through three minor league seasons, he is hitting .297/.329/.492, and he is only showing signs of getting better. He has found his home run swing this year too, as he has already doubled the number of home runs that he hit last year with Vancouver.

Barreto will be Major League ready in 2017, so it is up to the front office to decide whether or not the Marcus Semien experiment has succeeded or failed by then. If Semien’s defense improves and he does become the A’s long term shortstop, Barreto will likely be shifted over to second base. This would probably make for some questionable defense up the middle, but it would certainly be a powerful duo at the plate.

Next: A's Trade Ben Zobrist To Royals For Sean Manaea And Aaron Brooks