Barton Gets The Call

Fresh off of a playoff series performance to remember, Daric Barton will be heading to the major leagues. The A's top prospect will join the team in Seattle, where he will likely make his much anticipated major league debut. We have covered Barton's career since he joined the A's organization in 2005. We take a look back at his time in the A's minor league system inside...

When the Oakland A's traded for Daric Barton before the 2005 season, he came to the A's with the reputation of being one of the most advanced young hitters that many scouts had ever seen. That reputation proved to be an accurate one, as Barton has shown a remarkable understanding of the strike zone despite his young age throughout his minor league career.

Barton, who turned 22 years old in late August, will be making his major league debut this week in Seattle. He will be the youngest position player to debut for Oakland since Eric Chavez debuted for the A's at age 20 in 1998.

Barton has made quick work of the minor leagues since he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. In five major league seasons, Barton has compiled a .300 career batting average with a .414 OBP. He has walked more than he has struck out (311:266) and he has drive-in 289 runs in 459 games.

When Barton came over to Oakland from the Cardinals, he immediately had to make a position switch from catcher to first base. Barton had some initial reservations about moving away from the catching position, but he eventually came around on the issue after seeing how much easier it was on his body. Even as a young player at High-A, Barton recognized the importance of working the count and getting on-base. We spoke to Barton while he was in Stockton in 2005 about his hitting philosophy and his adjustments to first base and his new organization.

After a strong first season in the A's system, Barton participated in the 2005 Arizona Fall League. caught-up with Barton during his time at the AFL, where he competed against some of the top prospects in all of baseball.

That off-season, named Barton the top prospect in the Oakland A's system. As he headed into spring training 2006, it seemed like it was only a matter of months before he would be making his major league debut.
Unfortunately, Barton had the first major set-back of his professional career when he broke his elbow in a freak collision at first base in a May 2006 game with the Sacramento River Cats. He would miss the rest of the regular season.

Barton rehabbed sufficiently enough to participate in the Dominican Winter League this past off-season. He was one of the youngest regular position players on the Toros del Este, but he was also one of the team's best hitters.

He continued his hot hitting from the DWL into major league spring training, where he hit .440 with an 1163 OPS in 25 at-bats for the A's this spring. We spoke to the A's Director of Player Development, Keith Lieppman, this spring about Barton's improvements on defense and in the power-hitting department. We also caught-up with Barton himself at the tail-end of spring training to find out his thoughts on playing in the DWL, his recovery from his elbow injury and more...

Barton got off to a relatively slow start this season for Sacramento, batting only .221 in April. He improved to .273 with an .869 OPS in May. However, it was the month of June that was the highlight of his regular season. Barton batted an eye-opening .454 with a .500 OBP and a 1157 OPS in 108 at-bats during the month of June. We took a closer look at his hot streak while it was going on. Barton also proved himself to be a team player this season with Sacramento, as he filled in at third base (a position he had last played in high school) when the River Cats were short on infielders due to a rash of injuries. Barton took his lumps as a third baseman defensively, but he showed good humor about the situation.

That June hitting effort helped Barton earn a Triple-A All-Star berth. spoke with Barton while he was at the Triple-A All-Star game in Albuquerque this July.
We also took stock of Barton's performance this season at the midway point in the campaign. He would finish the regular season with a .293 BA and an 827 OPS with nine homers and 70 RBI in a career-high 136 games.

Perhaps the defining moment in Barton's minor league career with Oakland came this past week during the PCL Divisional Playoff Series versus the Salt Lake Bees. Barton batted .550 with four homers and 10 RBI in the five-game series. Two of those homers came against rehabbing Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter Bartolo Colon.

However, it was Barton's last homer as a River Cat that was his most memorable. Barton crushed a two-out, three-run fifth inning homer to give the River Cats a 4-2 lead in the decisive Game Five of the Divisional Series.
His homer was the difference in the game and helped send Sacramento to the PCL Championship series.

Barton is scheduled to join the A's in Seattle on Monday evening. He should see a decent amount of playing time with the A's through the end of the year.

Midland first baseman Brant Colamarino is expected to replace Barton on the Sacramento roster in time for the PCL Championship series versus New Orleans.

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