The wide-ranging abilities of Franklin Barreto have been on full display over the past four nights at First Tennessee Park and it's been one of the hottest stretches of his professional career.
The Athletics' top-ranked prospect tied a season high with four hits and scored the winning run in Triple-A Nashville's 6-5, 11-inning victory over Round Rock. Barreto homered, doubled, singled twice, drove in three runs and scored three others.
"One of the things that we try and tell him is to go out and show everything every single day," Sounds hitting coach Eric Martins said.
Gameday box score
Barreto's performance also included a grand finale as he made a difficult defensive play to start the 11th and swiped two bases to get in position to score the game-winner.
"It's one thing that he really hasn't been able to take advantage of this year," Martins said. "I think, ultimately, as he matures and learns how to steal bases and pick his spots and read pitchers, he can easily go out and steal 20-30 bases on top of everything else that he does."
Video: Sounds' Barreto makes sliding stop
In 107 games in Triple-A this season, MLB.com's No. 37 overall prospect is batting .289 with 15 homers, 51 RBIs and 63 runs scored. The 21-year-old was dropped to the No. 8 spot in the lineup on Aug. 17 against Memphis and responded with his first four-hit game in nearly five months.
"We did that because he went through a couple of games where he was scuffling a little bit," Martins said. "It relieved him a little bit and the guys at the top of the order were getting some hits, and it gave him some time to watch the pitcher and take a look to see how they were pitching and how they were attacking hitters so he can front-load his plan."
Barreto went hitless in nine-at-bats over the next two contests but is 12-for-19 in four games since.
"He's so talented and gifted and nothing we really work on is mechanical with him," the hitting coach said. "It's just about pitch selection and battling with two strikes, and having a two strike approach. He's so fast that the last couple games he's beat out some infield singles with two strikes and that's what we were just trying to beat in his head. With two strikes, you can shorten up and put the ball in play."
Video: Nashville's Barreto powers one out of the park
Each of Barreto's extra-base hits on Friday came on two-strike counts. Following Jake Smolinski's one-out single in the first, Barreto opened the scoring with a two-run shot to left-center on an 0-2 breaking ball from David Ledbetter.
"That's just Franklin Barreto," Martins said. "He's so strong and he's got electric hands that once he puts the barrel on the ball, it's going to go a little ways."
Leading off the third against the right-hander, the 21-year-old worked the count full and lofted a blooper just beyond the reach of shortstop Doug Bernier and stretched it to a double, narrowly beating out a throw from left fielder and Rangers No. 2 prospect Willie Calhoun.
"He sniffed that out the box ... and he took a gamble," Martins said. "That's got to be one of the most impressive hits that he had tonight. That just showed the other element that not too many people talk about. He can really, really run."
Barreto advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Yairo Munoz. The native of Caracas, Venezuela, bounced out to short to start the fifth before lining a single up the middle to drive in Kenny Wilson and tie the score, 4-4, in the seventh.
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Round Rock took a one-run lead with two outs in the ninth when Jared Hoying scored from third on a wild pitch by Lou Trivino. Nashville's Jaff Decker led off the bottom of the frame with a long ball to make it 5-5. Barreto reached on a one-out single and took second on a base knock by Chris Carter before Joey Wendle and Munoz struck out.
Calhoun, MLB.com's No. 67 overall prospect, was thrown out after Barreto made a sliding stop in shallow right field for the first out in the 11th.
With two outs in the home half, Barreto drew a walk against right-hander Tanner Scheppers and swiped second and third as Carter worked out a walk. Wendle slapped the first pitch up the middle for the game-winning hit.
Video: Wendle's walk-off single for Sounds
Calhoun collected two singles and an RBI for Round Rock.