Franklin Barreto and Max Schrock highlight a talented crop of Oakland Athletics prospects participating in this year's Arizona Fall League, a group that includes seven players overall and five Top 30 prospects.Barreto and Schrock have been billed as offensive-oriented players in their young careers, with their hitting ability helping to
Franklin Barreto and Max Schrock highlight a talented crop of Oakland Athletics prospects participating in this year's Arizona Fall League, a group that includes seven players overall and five Top 30 prospects.
Barreto and Schrock have been billed as offensive-oriented players in their young careers, with their hitting ability helping to offset some defensive concerns. But now, after a short stint playing together in Double-A during the regular season, the A's future double-play tandem is working on honing its defensive chops while playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in this year's Fall League.
Barreto, the A's top prospect and No. 42 on the Top 100, enjoyed another strong year at the plate in 2016, hitting .281/.340/.413 with 10 home runs and 30 steals at Double-A Midland before advancing to Triple-A Nashville ahead of the Pacific Coast League playoffs. And while the 20-year-old shortstop also made strides defensively, he's aware that he still has considerable improvements to make on the dirt.
"My purpose is always to have good at-bats and work on my defense, which is the most important [thing] that I have to work on day-to-day," said Barreto, who trimmed his error total to 15 this season from a career-high 34 in 2015.
As for Schrock, he's still familiarizing himself with the A's organization after coming over from the Nationals on Aug. 25 in exchange for left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski.
"I just had no idea that it was coming," said Schrock, the A's No. 20 prospect.
Selected by Washington in the 13th round of the 2015 Draft, Schrock, 22, hit up a storm in his first full pro season. He batted .326 over 67 games at Class A Hagerstown and then posted a .341 clip over 54 games with Class A Advanced Potomac before joining the A's.
"I'm 5-foot-9, 180 pounds. I'm not going to hit 30 home runs; I need to hit line drives all over the field, I need to get on base, I need to not strike out a lot. Those are the things I focus on," said Schrock.
Like Barreto, Schrock is using his time in the Fall League to refine his glove work at second base after making strides at the position during the regular season.
"I actually give a lot of credit to the Nationals' infield coordinator," said Schrock, who committed 12 errors in 108 games at the keystone in 2016. "I took a lot of repetitions with him, and he got me to a point where I'm feeling very strong mentally and physically in terms of my technique."
Athletics hitters in the Fall League
Yairo Munoz, SS/3B
Munoz, the A's No. 7 prospect, was banged up entering Spring Training as the result of an offseason motorcycle accident and didn't begin his season until late April, when he finally reported to Double-A Midland. The 21-year-old's performance varied from month-to-month in the Texas League, where he ultimately posted a .240/.286/.367 batting line with 28 extra-base hits in 102 games.
Athletics pitchers in the Fall League
Sam Bragg, RHP
Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP
Dylan Covey, RHP
Frankie Montas, RHP
Bragg enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2015, when he posted a 3.65 ERA and a 92-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 74 innings across 44 appearances at Class A Advanced Stockton. The move up to Midland in 2016 resulted in a career-high 4.29 ERA and nine home runs allowed for the 23-year-old righty, although he still generated more than one strikeout per inning while holding opposing hitters to a .238 average.
Acquired from the Mariners last December, Cochran-Gill spent his entire first season with the A's in Midland's bullpen, where he produced a 3.07 ERA while logging 73 1/3 frames across 42 appearances. The 23-year-old right-hander continues to be a ground-ball machine thanks to his dynamic sinker, a pitch that has helped him generate more than twice as many ground-ball outs as a fly outs.
Covey, the A's No. 19 prospect, appeared to be on pace for a breakout season after he posted a 1.84 ERA across his first six starts at Midland. But a left oblique injury prematurely ended the 25-year-old right-hander's campaign in early May, which is why he's now attempting to make up for the lost time in the AFL.
Montas began the season with the Dodgers on the 60-day disabled list after having February surgery to remove a rib from his right side after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture. He returned to the mound in late May only to land back on the DL in June with a related rib issue, and then he was traded to Oakland as part of the Rich Hill-Josh Reddick deal at the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline. Now fully healthy, the A's No. 10 prospect has looked like his old self in the Fall League, where he's once again bumping triple digits with his heater and sitting in the upper 90s. On top of that, the 23-year-old flame-thrower has tossed six scoreless innings, with four hits allowed and six strikeouts, across two appearances for Mesa.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero