The Oakland Athletics acquired shortstop Franklin Barreto in the Josh Donaldson trade this past offseason. Supposedly, this prospect was the key to making the trade actually happen. Since this transaction, Barreto has spent his first season in the Athletics’ farm system with the Stockton Ports — Oakland’s High-A affiliate.
Originally from Venezuela, Barreto was a highly ranked international prospect before signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. This middle infielder is known for his plus running and consistent bat that does have some power. His potential has grown over the past few years and he is now the No. 1 prospect for the Athletics.
This season with Stockton, Barreto impressively hit .302/.333/.500 with 47 RBI and 13 homers in 90 games played. Even though he started off the season somewhat slow and incurred a bone bruise injury that made him miss most of August, Barreto ended the Minor League season on a high note with three hits and two runs in his last game. His compact swing allows him to make contact with the ball on a consistent basis.
When it comes to his defense, he has all of the tools, but does not quite know how to use them properly. Even though he has a strong arm and good range, Barreto tends to commit a lot of errors. This season, he had 34 errors in 86 games started. This is unfortunately even worse that the A’s current shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien also has 34 errors, but over 135 games started. The upside is that Barreto is young and still has time to work on his defense.
In a recent interview by Joe Stiglich from CSN Bay Area, GM Billy Beane indicated that Semien may not be A’s everyday starting shortstop in future seasons. This means that the Oakland Athletics are definitely looking at their prospects to take over this middle infielder role. So, there could be the potential for Barreto to fill that role in the future.
However, Barreto is not expected to reach the MLB until 2017. He still has a few more rungs to climb on the farm system ladder before breaking into the Majors. If Barreto can improve his defense and continue to be consistent at the plate, he will be a very good MLB shortstop for the A’s.