Once upon a time, Franklin Barreto was one of the top prospects in baseball. That time has long since passed.
These days, the former Oakland A’s prospect is looking for a chance to prove himself once more. That journey has led to Washington as Barreto has signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.
Former Oakland A’s prospect Franklin Barreto hoping for fresh start
Barreto had been one of the key pieces in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto after the 2014 season. While Donaldson went on to win the AL MVP award in 205, Barreto had established himself as a consensus top 100 prospect, a stature he held from 2015 through 2018.
The problem was that his potential never translated to the majors. Instead of being that all around threat that the A’s had hoped for, Barreto failed miserably when it came to making contact. He posted a .175/.207/.342 batting line in his 237 major league plate appearances, drawing just seven walks while striking out 100 times.
It was clear that the A’s had enough at the end of his time in Oakland. He appeared in 15 games, getting just ten plate appearances as he was primarily a pinch runner. Barreto still managed to strike out seven times without getting a hit before being traded to the Angels for Tommy La Stella.
That 2020 season was the last time that Barreto appeared in the majors. He missed all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery and spent the 2022 campaign in Triple-A for the Astros, posting a miserable .162/.259/.274 batting line with six homers, seven doubles, and 102 strikeouts in his 274 plate appearances.
Teams will take chances on former top prospects. As Barreto will be just 27 years old before the start of the 2023 season, there is still hope that he can develop into a useful major league option. He has done well in the Venezuelan Winter League thus far, giving the Nationals another reason to hope that Barreto will finally put everything together.
The Washington Nationals are taking a chance on former Oakland A’s top prospect Franklin Barreto. Maybe he can turn his career around there.