SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Franklin Barreto made a lasting impression on A’s manager Bob Melvin in his first major league camp.
Quizzed on what his parting message was after sending his top prospect to the minors Sunday, Melvin replied:
“Way to go.”
The 20-year-old Barreto, acquired as part of the Josh Donaldson trade in November 2014, showed poise beyond his years playing alongside established big leaguers. He showed power that one wouldn’t initially expect to come from his compact 5-foot-10 frame. He showed good actions defensively that convinced Melvin he can remain at shortstop long term. And he showed the confidence of a player who could be on the fast track to the majors.
“It was nice to be able to see what we’ve heard about,” Melvin said. “He performed beautifully. It never looked like he had any nerves. There’s a certain confidence that comes with him. He knows he’s a good player.”
Barreto, expected to begin the season with Double-A Midland, also impressed with his decision-making after being sent down. Given the option of taking a day off after his Sunday demotion, Barreto declined and was ready to take the field Monday morning at Oakland’s minor league facility.
Melvin also had praise for first baseman Matt Olson, another of the marquee prospects sent down. Olson hit just .130 in exhibition play, but Melvin said he’s not putting much stock into that.
“I know he wanted to come into camp and make a real good impression,” the manager said. “He’s already made a really good impression. I think he was a little disappointed in his at-bats this spring, but we can see through that. He’s gonna be a good player.”
Olson is likely to see time in right field in addition to first base. Likely joining him at Triple-A Nashville will be middle infielder Chad Pinder, the third of the A’s top-10 prospects who were part of Sunday’s cuts.
“The fact he can play multiple positions gives him a little bit of a leg up to get to the big leagues maybe sooner than some others,” Melvin said of Pinder.
Last spring the A’s brought Olson north with them for the Bay Bridge Series, wanting the youngster to experience the atmosphere of a big league ballpark. There’s a good chance the A’s do the same thing this spring with third baseman Matt Chapman.
The 22-year-old Chapman, who spent last season at Single-A Stockton, remains in camp with the big club. In fact, he drew the start at third Monday against the Giants and hit a two-run homer off Jeff Samardzija. Chapman’s four homers are tied with Danny Valencia for the team lead.