Astros add experienced infielder on minor-league deal
After the departure of Carlos Correa and losing out on the Trevor Story sweepstakes, the Astros are searching for answers and insurance pieces.
Over the past few weeks, the Houston Astros have agreed to a bevy of deals with middle infielders to help shore up the position behind Jeremy Peña.
Peña has not played a full season in Triple-A and now will be called up to fill the starting role vacated by All-Star and Platinum Glove winning Carlos Correa and Aledmys Díaz will support as a backup.
The Astros also signed Niko Goodrum to a deal to compete for a roster spot in the middle infield, and now, the club has also added middle infielder Franklin Barreto to a minor-league deal to add more depth to the roster, Martín Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Barreto’s 5-foot-10 frame and experience is mostly at second base but will be utilized mainly at shortstop during spring training to compete for time and add depth to the Astros depleted minor-league system.
Barreto has been called up four different times starting in 2017 but has yet to garner more than 76 at-bats in his various stints. He has a collective major-league line of .175/.207.342 between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels.
His fielding percentage at shortstop is a .932 and .961 at second base, his more natural fit. Needless to say, he has some work to do and his collective 200 or more plate appearances tell a much different story than his minor-league numbers.
In his seven minor-league seasons, Barreto has show good potential and production as a former top prospect. In his last stint at Triple-A in 2019, he slashed .295/.374/.552, so it’s easy to see why he was called up.
Adding to those numbers, Barreto’s production was noteworthy, hitting 19 home runs while driving in 65 and swiping 15 bags and having a .926 OPS. His 2018 numbers in the minors were very similar as he hit .259 with 18 home runs and drove in 46 with only five stolen bases, but with 100 less plate appearances, you can project he would be at very similar numbers to his 2019 stats.
Overall, Barreto has the best potential of any recent signing and might see some decent time up on the big-league team if the Astros see a need, and if he can perform at the same level as he did in prior minor league stints, he could end up in the trade folder in the summer.