OAKLAND — Franklin Barreto has been up and down three times this year, between Triple-A Nashville and the Oakland Athletics.
Before his most recent call-up, he’d gotten just six at-bats in six games. The No. 3 prospect in the A’s system, Barreto has a total of 87 plate appearances over the last two seasons, but with Matt Chapman’s hand landing him on the disabled list, the next 10 days could the most consistent run he’s gotten yet.
“This will be the biggest opportunity he’s gotten, how long it will be for him, not sure,” manager Bob Melvin said on Sunday. “Certainly the Chapman situation has a lot to do with that, but I’m happy that he’s going to get a chance to play what looks to be close to every day at this point.”
Barreto, 22, is starting his second straight game at second base on Sunday, with Jed Lowrie moving to third to replace Chapman. Oakland’s All-Star candidate third baseman was able to grip the ball and throw on Sunday, which is a good sign before he heads down to Los Angeles on Monday to see hand specialist Dr. Steven Shin. The one thing Chapman is not doing is swinging the bat, but Melvin was cautiously optimistic, given Chapman’s ability to grip a baseball.
Melvin was also optimistic about Barreto’s future, despite the fact that he’s hitting .173 in the Majors, and is coming up at a time where he’s hitting .236 in Triple-A.
“You want him to come up when he’s playing well,” Melvin said. “He’d been swinging the bat pretty well — not great — down there. He’s been a little bit hit-and-miss but he knows right now that this is probably the best opportunity he’s had.”
Barreto is a .288 career hitter in the minor leagues, and hit .290 last season with the Triple-A Sounds. During his shuttling back and forth, Melvin has cautioned him not to look at being optioned back to Nashville as a demotion, but an opportunity to get more consistent at-bats. He’s had that conversation “many times.”
“I think to the point where he’s like, ‘I’ve heard this conversation before,'” Melvin said. “I said, ‘Yeah, and you’re going to keep hearing it,’ because I want to make sure I make that point to him, that when he was up here before and not playing every day, every now and then, getting pinch hit for and so forth, this is not going to be you down the road.”
Starter Brett Anderson is ready to start making his way back to the rotation.
The plan for Brett Anderson (right shoulder strain) is to make his next outing in Arizona during extended spring training. He will not throw any more bullpens. After that, he’ll follow a similar track to Paul Blackburn, with several minor league starts.
Stephen Piscotty — who had a key two-run single in Saturday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — has hit .318 in the month of June, with 10 RBIs, three doubles and one homer in 13 games. He’s also riding a four-game hitting streak into Sunday’s series finale with the Angels.
“It seems like the ball’s jumping off his bat a little bit better,” Melvin said. “Made a little tweak in his swing. I don’t want to say it’s a longer swing, but certainly, once he gets extended now, the ball’s jumping off his bat a little bit more. You’re seeing it in BP, as well.”
Before June, Piscotty was hitting .227 with 19 RBIs, 12 doubles and three home runs in 49 games.
“It’s nice having guys like he and Luc (Jonathan Lucroy) at the bottom of the order that can do some damage for you, and we’ll see where this goes with him,” Melvin said. “He’s a guy who has hit towards the middle of the order, five, six, and we probably envision him at some point getting there, too, and I think he’s on his way with the way he’s swinging the bat.”Brett Andersonfranklin barretoMatt ChapmanMLBOakland A'sOakland AthleticsStephen Piscotty