Inside The Numbers: Barton's Hot Streak

There is no hotter hitter in minor league baseball right now than Sacramento first baseman Daric Barton. Barton collected four more hits on Sunday, extending his hitting streak to a season-high 19 games. The Oakland A's prospect has raised his average 87 points during the streak. We take a closer look at Barton's streak inside.

After a poor first month and an average second month, it seemed like only a matter of time before Daric Barton busted loose at the plate this season. Since being drafted in 2004, Barton has been one of the minor league's best hitters, so when he entered the month of June batting only .245, it was a cause for some concern.

Barton began the month of June on a rough note. He injured his left wrist in a collision with a base-runner on June 1. One year before, Barton had been injured in a similar collision. That collision left him with a broken elbow and cost him the rest of his season. This year, the X-rays came back negative and Barton was spared any significant damage.

He didn't play again until June 4, when he went hitless in a pinch-hit appearance. As it has turned out, that June 4 appearance is the last time Barton has played in a game without having at least one base-hit.

The streak began innocently enough for Barton. He went 1-5 on June 5, scoring a run and lowering his average from .243 to .242. The next day Barton had a big game, as he went 2-6 with two doubles and two runs scored. Barton had five more hits over the next two games and his streak was in full gear.

During the 19-game hitting streak, Barton has collect 13 doubles, one triple, one homer and 16 RBI. He has walked six times and has struck out only five times. Barton has had 15 multi-hit games, including two four-hit games and four three-hit games. His June average sits at .512 and his season average has risen from .243 to .330.

Barton's season numbers are equally impressive. He is destroying right-handed pitching to the tune of a .344 batting average and a 966 OPS. He has held his own against lefties, batting .298 with one of his five homers and an 803 OPS. Barton has been equally strong at the River Cats' Raley Field (.333 BA/ 893 OPS) and on the road (.326 BA/ 932 OPS).

In pressure situations, Barton has shown the ability to rise to the occasion. With runners on-base, Barton is batting .353. With runners in scoring position, Barton is hitting .337 and with runners-on and two-outs, Barton is hitting .305. He has a .286 batting average with runners in scoring position and two-outs and is 4-8 with a grand-slam and 11 RBI while hitting with the bases-loaded.

Barton has had an excellent batting eye throughout his minor league career, and this year has been no different. Even when he was struggling in April, Barton maintained a strong sense of the strike-zone. He walked 10 times against 15 strikeouts in April. That ratio improved even more in May, when he walked 23 times and struck out 12 times. In June, Barton has made more contact, walking seven times against five strikeouts. For the season, Barton has a 40:32 BB:K ratio.

The biggest questions about Barton's game coming into this season were about his defense at first and his power at the plate. His defense at first has gotten better this season, although he is still developing. That development was put on hold a bit in June when Barton spent some time at third base. Barton struggled during his time at third, and has recently been back at first exclusively. He hasn't made an error at first base since May 20.

Barton hasn't hit for much homerun power yet this season, but his extra-base power has increased each month. In April, Barton had only six extra-base hits and a paltry .314 slugging percentage. That slugging percentage jumped to .455 in May, when he had 11 extra-base hits, including three homers. In June, Barton has an eye-popping .732 slugging percentage. He has 15 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles.

With Dan Johnson currently struggling offensively for the A's, the calls for Barton to be promoted may begin to increase as this streak continues. The A's could be waiting until after the All-Star break to avoid starting his arbitration clock too soon. In any case, it is becoming more and more likely that Barton will make his much-awaited major league debut this season, health permitting.


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