Athletics

Athletics

OAKLAND -- Franklin Barreto experienced a tiny taste of the big leagues the last couple of years, but he has never been afforded a chance to find any rhythm with consistent playing time. That's about to change.

Barreto will take over as the A's primary second baseman moving forward, leaving Jurickson Profar's status up in the air.

"We talked with the front office when we brought him up that we need to give (Barreto) some consistent at-bats," A's manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday. "He's never really had that here at the big league level. That doesn't mean that Jurickson's not going to play at all. You may see Jurickson take some ground balls at some different positions, maybe even take some in the outfield to create some versatility for him and different ways to get him in the lineup. But Frankie is going to probably get the majority of time at second."

The A's called Barreto up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday and he has started every game since then. The 23-year-old went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in Oakland's 8-6 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

"I'm obviously really happy about (the opportunity)," Barreto told NBC Sports California through interpreter Fernando Alcalá. "I've been anxious to get back up here, so now that I'm here, I really want to help the team win."

 

Barreto has long been considered the A's top prospect, earning MLB Pipeline's top ranking from 2015 through 17. He has shown flashes of his potential the past two seasons, totaling seven home runs and 14 extra-base hits in 57 MLB games.

"He brings a lot of power for a little guy," Melvin said. "He gives you some speed. He does a lot of things to help you win games. He's been a big prospect for us for a reason."

Barreto actually got off to a slow start this season in Triple-A, but recently, he has caught fire. The Venezuela native was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Month for June, slashing a ridiculous .387/.402/.802 with nine home runs, 13 doubles, and 32 RBI.

Barreto credits an adjustment to his batting stance for the improvement.

"The hitting coach and I were watching video and I noticed that last year, I was a little bit more open," he said. "But early in the season, since I still felt comfortable with the stance that I had, I didn't notice it. ... I was seeing the ball well even before the switch, but opening it up allowed me to take a better swing and see the ball and make better contact."

It remains to be seen if Profar will get another chance to regain favor with the A's. The 26-year-old has struggled in his first year in Oakland, slashing just .215/.277/.377. He has also been shaky defensively, committing 10 errors already, four more than any other second baseman in the majors.

[RELATED: Hermann makes A's history in grand style with one swing]

For those reasons, the job now belongs to Barreto, at least for the time being.

"I think this is a great opportunity for him, for the first time in the big leagues, to get some consistent at-bats," Melvin said. "After that, once you get him out there, it's all about production and hitting your way and playing your way to staying in the lineup, and I know he's looking forward to that opportunity."