Franklin Barreto tries to find rhythm moving between A's and Triple-A

Franklin Barreto tries to find rhythm moving between A's and Triple-A

Franklin Barreto must know the Nashville to Oakland flight better than most pilots.

The 22-year-old middle infielder has been recalled by the A's on six different occasions this season. Of course, that also means he has been sent down to Triple-A Nashville five times.

“It's obviously been tough going up and down,” Barreto said Wednesday through an interpreter. “But it's really exciting to be here (now) and be on a team that's winning the way we are.”

Barreto has been ranked as the A's top prospect since 2015, ahead of players like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. While still young, Barreto has struggled at times this season, both in Oakland and Nashville.

In 77 games with Nashville this season, Barreto hit .259 with 18 homers and 46 RBI, striking out 106 times in 282 at-bats. In 66 at-bats with the A's, he is batting .242 with four home runs, 14 RBI, and 27 strikeouts.

“It's a little bit difficult sometimes going four or five days without getting a plate appearance or playing in a game,” he admitted. “I've been trying to do a better job of preparing myself for what's coming and the role they have me in, and trying to get my rhythm when I get the opportunity to play.”

The talent is clearly there. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Barreto was ranked as the top international prospect in 2012 by Baseball America. That year, at the age of 16, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, earning a $1.45 million signing bonus.

Barreto came to the A's in 2014 as part of the Josh Donaldson trade. He made his MLB debut three years later, homering off White Sox right-hander James Shields in his second career at-bat.

Since then, Barreto has ping-ponged between Oakland and Nashville. While he continues to wait his turn behind veterans Jed Lowrie and Marcus Semien, he is enjoying being a part of the A's clubhouse for the stretch run.

“It's really great,” Barreto said. “I spent a lot of time playing in the minors with guys like Chapman, Pinder, and Olson, and growing up with them. It's nice.”

Barreto might have to wait a little longer for an everyday opportunity, especially if the A's re-sign Lowrie beyond this year. But for now, he is focused on the present, as he works to improve his game and help Oakland make a run in the postseason.

“We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and in each other to do the job that's asked of us,” he said. “I think we've shown it on the field and it's really exciting to be able to do it at this level.”

A's manager Bob Melvin has unique tie to 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl 54

A's manager Bob Melvin has unique tie to 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl 54

OAKLAND -- Bob Melvin can’t lose on Super Bowl Sunday.

Or maybe, he can’t exactly win.

With the San Francisco 49ers facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2, the A's manager has important family connections on both sides.  

You may already know that Bob grew up locally in Palo Alto, and considers himself a “longtime 49ers fan."

“My grandfather had season tickets,” Melvin told NBC Sports California on Friday. “Our family always had season tickets to the games. Went to many during the [Joe] Montana days. It was part of my youth, obviously.”

But what you may not have known is that there’s also a Melvin on Kansas City’s coaching staff.

“A little qualifier here …” Bob explained. “My cousin is the tight ends coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Melvin. He’s been with Andy Reid since San Francisco State.”

Tom Melvin’s coaching career actually began with the Gators in 1984. He broke into the NFL in 1999, working there every season since.

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

So, if Chiefs star Travis Kelce catches a touchdown pass -- or if 49ers running back Raheem Mostert sprints to paydirt -- how will the longest-tenured MLB manager pick sides?

“I’m going to have to sit on my hands a little bit,” Melvin explained.  

“If the 49ers win, I’ll be ecstatic. But there’s a little more at stake here when part of your blood is with the other team.”

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

The A's impressive trio of talented prospects continued to be recognized on Saturday. Pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, as well as catcher Sean Murphy, were listed on MLB Pipeline's new list of their top 100 prospects for the 2020 season. 

Luzardo leads the way at No. 12 with Murphy ranked 33 and Puk at No. 60. This is much different than how Baseball America ranked the three

Luzardo, 22, is ranked three spots lower by MLB Pipeline than Baseball America, which placed the left-handed pitcher as the ninth-best prospect in baseball. Murphy and Puk are seen much differently by the two outlets as well. 

Baseball America has Puk as high as No. 21, coming in as Oakland's second-best prospect. His injury history as someone who underwent Tommy John surgery could be a reason MLB Pipeline ranks him lower. 

Murphy, on the other hand, is ranked eight spots higher on MLB Pipeline's top 100 than he is on Baseball America's. He's considered the best defensive prospect at catcher and could be a Gold Glove candidate as soon as this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

All three prospects played a part in the A's reaching the AL Wild-Card Game last season. In 2020, however, they'll look to push Oakland to an AL West title and more. 

The future is here for the A's, and it starts with Luzardo, Murphy and Puk.