Barreto was acquired by Oakland as part of the deal that sent 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to Toronto on November 28, 2014. Barreto has long been on scouts’ radar, starring in the PanAm Games as a youth, and eventually signing for $1.45 million with the Blue Jays as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2013.
As you would probably expect from a player who has competed at high levels of competition from an early age, Barreto is a pretty polished player across the board, but the tool that stands out most to me is his bat. He has a knack for barreling up the baseball and should hit for average. On top of that, Barreto is a quick-twitch athlete who has explosive hands and good bat speed. He also has very good balance, showing excellent weight transfer on his swing that should allow him to generate league average power, which would be a bonus coming from a 5’10”, 190-ound shortstop. His above-average raw speed should mean a lot of extra base hits when coupled with his ability to drive the baseball from gap-to-gap.
As far as approach is concerned, Barreto’s is an aggressive one. He is up there to swing the bat and put the ball in play. Much of his OBP will likely stem from his ability to hit for average, so his combination of contact ability, pop, and speed will make him a fun player to watch on offense.
Defensively, Barreto has the tools and athleticism to stick at shortstop. The arm is strong and the range will certainly play, but thus far he has been erratic in the field. He’s made some errors on routine plays and like many young infielders, seems to have some trouble adapting to the speed of the game on defense. What I look for most in a shortstop is his footwork and how he flows through the baseball on grounders and in this respect, Barreto is solid but not special. That said, there’s enough raw talent there to stick at shortstop and project to be at least average at the position. If he does not stick, he certainly has enough bat to slide over to second base, though I see no reason not to keep him at shortstop for as long as possible, where his offense would be a huge asset.