Angels Second Basemen of the Future: Franklin Barreto
The former top prospect has had a rough start to his career. A key return in the Josh Donaldson to Toronto trade, he has been unable to carve out consistent playing time with Oakland (211 total at-bats over 4 seasons). With a career slash line of .180/.210/.360 and striking out 44% of the time, he has not impressed in his limited chances. With the Athletics leading the AL East, they elected to trade Barreto to the Angels in exchange for the established La Stella.
Was the acquisition of Baretto a sign that Simmons’ days in Anaheim are numbered? Potentially. It seemed like the original plan was to get Barreto in the lineup as consistently as possible, to see if he can reach his prospect expectations. With zero minor league options remaining, the Angels were going to put him in a sink-or-swim situation. He was going to “play literally everywhere” according to Maddon. He spent time at second base, shortstop, third base, and left field.
Unfortunately, Baretto hit the injured list with a left shoulder injury after only 17 at-bats with the Angels and could miss the remainder of the season. The injury definitely muddies the water for the Angels moving into next season, especially with Simmons’ contract expiring.
Barreto ranked 33rd on the 2017 MLB prospect list, with solid across-the-board scouting grades (hit: 55, power: 50, run: 55, arm: 60, field: 45, overall: 55). If he can reach his expectations, he would be a solid option at second base moving forward.
If Simmons is not an Angel next season, Baretto figures to compete for the second base job. It will take a strong showing in spring training for him to prove his case, as he has not been able to showcase MLB-starting caliber play in his minimal opportunities. If Simmons returns, Baretto will be regulated to, at-best, a bench/utility role.