Franklin Barreto was once the Athletics’ top prospect. He’s never taken full flight on the big league squad. What’s the next move for him and the A’s?
Franklin Barreto was acquired by the Athletics’ in a 2014 deal that sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the key piece that Oakland acquired in the deal. He was one of the better prospects in the system and Oakland looked to get value back in the trade.
Currently now from that trade all that is left is Barreto. Sean Nolin and Brett Lawrie are both out of the league and Kendall Graveman is bouncing around minor league systems. Barreto has not shown the potential at the major league level as many thought he would.
He has seen action in 80 games over three years and in his 201 at-bats he currently holds a .189 career batting average. His line splits are very bad at .189/.220/.598, he simply just hasn’t had success with the big squad. Over this past season in 57 at-bats, he batted .123 and his on-base % was .138.
Cause for concern? Most definitely, because one thing that causes a major problem; Barreto is out of options! This means he can no longer be shuttled back-and forth from AAA, he either sticks in Oakland or he gets designated for assignment.
The Hope is Barreto is a late bloomer, he’s still only 23 years old which is a bright spot. It’s not like he’s hitting 30 years old, he still has a lot of baseball ahead of him. He’s enjoyed tremendous success in the minor league system, it just hasn’t translated to the majors.
Barreto has batted .289 over parts of eight seasons in the minor leagues. So the potential is there, he just needs to know how to translate it to the bigs. Some players do it and some don’t, if he doesn’t figure it out he could become an after thought in the league.
Barreto as mentioned by the A’s will get every opportunity to win the second base job this upcoming season. He will have very stiff competition with Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse. He may get a leg up on Neuse because he is out of options, but problem is Mateo is out of options as well.
So if you stack Barreto against Mateo, who would you have winning that battle? Both have fared well in the minors, but both are now playing out of position and shifted their positions to have a better chance at major league success.
If I had to take a guess, I would say Mateo wins that battle. I believe he has a better bat, he is faster and I think he lasts longer in the majors. It will be close and Neuse will definitely be a big factor in the race as well.
Barreto will look to defy his career trajectory this offseason and into spring. If he can put all that potential on the field as opposed to paper it will be a huge boost for the A’s. If he can’t, then the Donaldson trade will officially close it’s book.