BP on Franklin Barreto

Posted by Jason Wojciechowski on September 19, 2016 at 8:33 AM

Baseball Prospectus has a "player I'm most excited to see in the Arizona Fall League" feature up from their prospect staff today, and Derek Florko picked A's middle infielder/center fielder Franklin Barreto, noting the 20-year-old's strong second-half hitting and the athletic tools that could add up to a playable defender at shortstop. Whether there's a place for Barreto to play at short given that he's already had a taste of Triple-A and Marcus Semien has not even hit his arbitration paydays yet is another question.

Then again, much as we all love Semien, he's also a 25-year-old with a .298 OBP this season and a .302 career mark. The whole package plays at shortstop because of his power (5.5 bWAR over the last two years, and I don't want to hear it about WAR -- it's a thumbnail apples-to-apples figure to illutrate my point in a single parenthetical without needing 20 data tables) but he's a good player, not a franchise cornerstone. That OBP, though, may limit the number of teams that would want to take him on in trade, so he may be more valuable to the A's staying right where he is for a few more years while Barreto plays center field. It's not as if, in these times of Brett Eibner and Jake Smolinski, that position is exactly locked down. Jaycob Brugman may bristle at my contention that the minors don't hold any superstars at the 8 either, but facts, including a .438 slugging percentage in Triple-A, are facts.