In the wake of having to put fill-in shortstop Chad Pinder on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, the Oakland Athletics decided to continue their youth movement. They called on the team’s No.1 prospect, 21-year-old Franklin Barreto, to take Pinder’s place on the roster.
The 21-year-old was one of the key pieces to the surprising trade of Josh Donaldson in November 2014. Barreto was just 17-years-old at the time but was considered to be an elite player in the making.
He moved his way up through Oakland’s farm system quickly. He’s solid on defense whether playing shortstop, second or center field — which he may end up playing once Pinder and the A’s starting shortstop Marcus Semien recover from injury or the A’s could send him back to Triple-A Nashville.
Barreto made his case to stay in the majors permanently on Saturday in Chicago. He struck out on three pitches in his first at-bat but in his second at-bat during the third inning, Barreto took an 81.9 MPH changeup, on a two-two pitch from Chicago White Sox starter James Shields, and launched it over the center field wall. It was his first major league hit and his first MLB home run.
However, it wasn’t just Barreto who hit his first MLB homer on the Southside of Chicago this weekend. Recent call-ups, rookies, and good friends of Barreto’s, outfielder Jaycob Brugman and outfielder Matt Olson each hit their first big league long ball in the game Saturday.
This made the Athletics just the second team in MLB history — next to the 2014 Kansas City Packers (no, not kidding, they weren’t a team for very long) — to have three players all get their first home runs of their careers in the same game.
To make the day better for the rookies, Olson hit his second long ball of the game in the seventh inning. The three rookies combined to drive in seven of the A’s 10 runs on the day as they won the game by a score of 10-2.
The White Sox starting pitcher, Shields, also became the third pitcher this season and 81st in MLB history to collect his 2,000th strikeout (the other two are Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals), but his accomplishment went somewhat uncelebrated as the A’s rookies had already taken over the game.
[Featured Image by Jon Durr/Getty Images]