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Thoughts on Daric Barton

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A Depressing Sight for Cardinals Fans

Thoughts on Daric Barton

Big debate right now among Athletics fans, about whether or not Daric Barton should be promoted to the Majors to take over the languishing DH role for the last month of the year.

Since getting over his appendicitis operation this spring, Barton has been absolutely brilliant.

For Class A Stockton: 292 at-bats, .318/.438/.469, 62 walks, 49 strikeouts.

For Double-A Midland: 162 at-bats, .333/.433/.519, 30 walks, 21 strikeouts.

His numbers haven't slipped at all since his promotion to Double-A; heck, they've improved. His BB/K/AB ratio has remained rock-steady excellent. He's clearly one of the absolute best hitting prospects in baseball, given his age-relative-to-league and his performance. He doesn't have the all-around offensive and defensive package of some of the other elite guys, but if you're considering Barton for DH, that doesn't matter very much.

So, is Barton ready for the Majors, and is promoting him a risk worth taking?

Is he ready? Maybe. I don't know, and no one else does either. The numbers imply that he might be. But it's a 44-game sample, and here my natural conservatism about how quickly prospects should be promoted comes into play. I think it is asking an awful lot of a player to come up and make an impact in a pennant race with just 44 games of Double-A under his belt. The fact that Barton's component ratios are so strong is a hint that he might be one of the guys who can do it. But then, Jeff Francoeur's component ratios were NOT that good, and look what he's done. The more I study players, the more I realize exactly how much we don't know. Barton has a better chance than most players in his situation to help, and that's about as far as I'll go with it.

So, given a firm "maybe" on the first question, is this something the Athletics should do?

If I was making the decision, I probably wouldn't promote him.

Finally, what kind of hitter can Barton become? It seems obvious that he will hit for average and draw a lot of walks. The question comes down to power, and at this point he could develop in any number of directions. I can see him developing into a 30-homer guy, and I can see him settling into a 15-homer pattern. Possible outcomes:

Best Case Strong Power Development: Carl Yastremzski
Medium Case Power Development: Mike Greenwell, Rusty Staub,
Mediocre Power: Nick Johnson without the glove. Sean Casey.