Barreto garners first four-hit game since April

Top Athletics prospect collects four hits, four RBIs with Sounds

Franklin Barreto has collected at least three hits in a game 11 times this season. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | August 18, 2017 2:58 AM

Franklin Barreto's season has included his first Major League stint and stretches of highs and lows in Triple-A, but above all, it's been all about adjustments. On Thursday night, the infield prospect showed off his latest tweak.

Oakland's top prospect recorded his first four-hit game since April 20 and finished a double shy of the cycle as Nashville held off Memphis, 11-8, at AutoZone Park.

"Before tonight, he was in a 3-for-20 skid," Nashville hitting coach Eric Martins said. "It's always the same thing with him, just understanding pitches and plate discipline. We had a meeting with him a couple days ago about sequencing and how they're trying to pitch him and how they're trying to set up the next pitch ... just trying to develop his sense of being able to go in there and have a plan and an approach against a pitcher."

Video: Nashville's Barreto belts two-run homer

Thursday's matchup marked the seventh of eight straight games between the Sounds and Redbirds, a team Martins praised as having "without a doubt the best [pitching] staff in the league." Barreto's struggles developed in the first six games of the back-to-back Volunteer State series, but the conversation MLB.com's No. 37 overall prospect had with his coaching staff paid off in the penultimate contest.

"All he does is hit. He's obviously a special talent and just the thing that he needs to do is continue to learn from these little pitfalls that he has," Martins said. "It's only going to get tougher. He had a stretch in the big leagues, and they pitched him a certain way. They adapted to him.

"He just needs to make those adjustments, but once that happens -- the final phase of his development -- I think that's when we're going to see what he can really do on a consistent basis."

The Sounds made another change to spark Barreto, batting him eighth for just the second time this year.


Gameday box score


"It took a little pressure off of him," Martins said. "It allowed him to see the pitcher for a couple innings and see what he's doing to hitters and formulate the plan." 

Barreto opened his night by lining a single to right to lead off the third inning. In the fifth, the 21-year-old powered his sixth triple of the year the other way to score Mark Canha, who led off the frame with a single.

"The triple was actually a really good at-bat," Martins said. "I think he had two strikes on that one. He took a fastball down and away and was able to drive it to right-center, which is where he likes to hit the ball. He showed off his speed and it was a big hit for us."

Barreto singled to left in the sixth -- the Sounds' fourth straight knock to start the inning -- to plate Beau Taylor. After Canha doubled with two outs in the seventh, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder clubbed his 14th homer of the year.

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"The home run was with two strikes as well," Martins said. "That one was hit to left-center. That one was the most impressive one just because he had gotten down early in the count. I think it might have been 0-2. He got to 1-2 and then just stayed inside a fastball on the inner half and smoked it to left-center field. That just goes to show the skill set that he has and how electric this kid is."

The native of Venezuela got off to a scorching start by batting .333 with a .934 OPS in April, but in May, he cooled to a .265/.295/.419 slash line. A late June promotion to the Majors proved to be rough as Barreto hit .190/.261/.381 in 11 contests. Since his return, he's been on the upswing. Thursday's showing pushed his August line to .323/.343/.569 with three homers and nine RBIs in 15 games.


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"It's valuable experience," Martins said. "Coming from a kid who's been pretty good, he's usually a slow starter and then turns it on at the end. This year, it's kind of the opposite. He got out of the gates and was just on fire. It was a good month to start the year, and then it's kind of just been a stretch of learning process with him. He goes out and gets a couple of hits, and then he'll scuffle and then get himself out of it. I think ultimately at the end of the year, he's going to learn a lot from it."

St. Louis' No. 4 prospect Tyler O'Neill belted a solo homer to left-center to lead off the fourth for Memphis. It was the outfielder's third in five games and seventh in 23 contests since being acquired in a trade from Seattle on July 21. 

Video: Memphis' O'Neill belts solo shot

Starter Kevin Herget allowed one run on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts for Memphis. Three relievers were lit up for 10 runs on 14 hits and three walks the rest of the way. 

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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