A's Acquire Tommy La Stella From Angels In Exchange For Franklin Barreto
The A’s made a move late Friday night to upgrade their infield in advance of the stretch run. To do so, they stayed in the division and acquired second baseman Tommy La Stella from the Angels in exchange for one-time top prospect Franklin Barreto.
Tommy La Stella, 2B
The A’s infield already boasted all-stars at third base (Matt Chapman), shortstop (Marcus Semien) and first base (Matt Olson), but had a bit of a deficiency at second base, where the combination of Chad Pinder, Vimael Machin, Tony Kemp and Barreto had combined for -0.4 wins above replacement, as measured by Baseball Reference. Further, the A's have struck out more than any team in MLB. La Stella solves both problems for Oakland. A 2019-All-Star, La Stella is an experienced second baseman and gives the A's one of the game’s best contact hitters. His 6% strikeout rate is the best among qualified hitters this season. The same goes for his 2.14 walk-to-strikeout ratio, and his 4.2% swinging-strike rate is second only to former Angels teammate David Fletcher. La Stella is far from a slap hitter though—he hit 16 home runs in only 80 games last season and had a .475 slugging percentage with the Angels this year. He will be a free agent after this season.
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Franklin Barreto, 2B
The A's originally acquired Barreto from the Blue Jays as the top prospect in the Josh Donaldson trade in 2014. He ranked in the BA Top 100 four times and has spent time in the majors each of the last four seasons, but has yet to establish himself. Barreto is a plus runner, has more power than you'd think from someone his size and has the range and arm strength to play both middle infield positions, although his arm can be erratic and makes him better suited for second base. Barreto has long struggled with his plate discipline, however, and hasn't shown he can make enough contact to be an everyday player. He's too aggressive at times and too passive at others, and overall has a career 42% strikeout rate in the majors. Barreto will get a change of scenery and a chance for more consistent playing time in Anaheim. He is still young enough to potentially unlock the talent that made him such a lauded prospect.