Barreto struggled some to get his footing as a twenty-year-old tackling a compact and competitive Texas League, slashing just .228/.282/.335 through June 1st of this year. Since then, however, the precocious batsman has torn his way through Double-A competition, slashing .320/.384/.473 thanks to impactful cuts charged by quick twitch actions and very fast hands. Barreto squares balls up with detonative result, showing more pop than you’d expect from a sub-six-foot middle infielder, hinting at 15-plus home run power at maturity with plenty of doubles to pad to total power output. He can get unhinged in his swing at times, but has generally cut down on empty swings as he’s progressed up the ladder, with this last three-month span showing around a 20% decrease in his strikeout rate off of previous production.
Defensively, Barreto has improved his work up the middle in 2016, showing slightly steadier hands and footwork at both shortstop and second, though he still struggles some to finish on plays to the margins of his solid range. There’s plenty of arm strength for the future Athletic to find a home at third base should he need to shift off of shortstop for good, and he is already proving capable at the keystone where his arm allows for ease of execution on turns and from multiple angles across his fielding zone.
Barreto looks poised to make the jump to Triple-A in 2017, and he could be ready to contribute with the stick in Oakland as early as this September if the A’s want to reward his productive summer with a cup of coffee in NorCal once the Texas League playoffs are completed. He has the look of a solid offensive contributor who could blossom into an impressive two-hole stick with a little bit of pop to go with a plus hit tool. While not a burner, he runs well and makes use of good reads to extend bases and swipe bags when the opportunity presents itself. He may not provide MVP-caliber seasons, but the primary return in the Josh Donaldson (3B, Blue Jays) trade some twenty months ago should provide a good bat and capable glove at minimal cost, all while likely debuting in Oakland before he turns 22.