Toronto Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects
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Daric Barton, c, Oakland A's
From the 2005 Baseball America Prospect Handbook
Barton was considered one of the best high school hitters in the 2003 draft, but concerns about his defense dropped him into the lower half of the first round. Barton proved to be one of the better offensive prospects in baseball in his first full season, leading the low Class A Midwest League in on-base percentage while finishing fourth in slugging. While Dan Haren and even Kiko Calero will pay more immediate dividends, many consider Barton to be the real prize Oakland received in the Mark Mulder trade with St. Louis. Barton has a fast bat, uses all fields and already shows plus game power. He has an advanced understanding of the strike zone, and his offensive approach fits in perfectly with the A's philosophies. While few doubt Barton's ability to reach the majors on his bat alone, his defensive future is still a question mark. Behind the plate he has a below-average arm and receiving skills. He threw out 25 percent of basestealers last year. His lack of athleticism and quickness were going to make catching a stretch, and Oakland has decided it's more important to develop his bat. As a result, he'll shift to first base at Oakland's new high Class A Stockton affiliate this year.