Oakland A’s: The forgotten Franklin Barreto
By David Hill
Once expected to be a part of the Oakland A’s platoon at second base, Franklin Barreto has been missing in action since the start of the season.
At the beginning of the season, it was expected that second base would be a platoon situation. Both Tony Kemp and Franklin Barreto had played well in spring training, setting up what seemed to be an optimal left/right platoon. Barreto kept that hot play going through the A’s summer camp, putting himself in a position to contribute during the regular season.
Once the regular season started, it was a different story. Barreto has been virtually missing in action, appearing for just two innings in the A’s game on July 24. He struck out in his only plate appearance, and handled his one chance at second flawlessly.
This could not be considered as a quirk of the schedule. If Barreto was to be employed in a platoon against left handed pitching, the opportunity has been there to get him in the lineup. The A’s faced Andrew Heaney on Opening Day, providing a chance for Barreto to get in the lineup.
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Even when it came time for Kemp to get a day off, the A’s went in a different direction. Vimael Machin was given the start on Wednesday, with Barreto again on the bench. While the A’s do need to see what they have in Machin, the same can be said for Barreto.
At this point, it seems as though the organization does not trust what he had showed prior to the season. It is understandable as to why – Barreto has a history of having torrid runs in spring training, only to struggle once the regular season begins. The A’s are likely being cautious, especially since every game is magnified even more.
But this is a disservice to both their future and Barreto. He was, at one point, expected to be a key part of the A’s future. Instead, the one time top 100 prospect has failed to live up to that billing, struggling mightily at the major league level. But he needs a chance to show whether or not he can succeed.
To this point, he has not gotten that opportunity in 2020. One plate appearance, and two innings in the field, are not even close to enough for Barreto to show that he has progressed. But he also cannot be sent down without being exposed to waivers, something that the A’s appear to be entirely disinclined to do.
For now, Franklin Barreto is missing in action. Perhaps that will change as the season continues, but there are no signs to indicate otherwise.