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OC Mailbag: Should the youth movement begin?

We open the mailbag and address questions about a potential Oakland A’s youth movement, Franklin Barreto’s strike-out issues and Norge Ruiz’s development plan.

OaklandClubhouse mailbag

Biggest question is: Which A’s prospects do you feel are ready for regular MLB ABs? (And, when do you think we’ll see them?) I think we agree that it’s time to find out what the young guys can do.

Thanks.

Peter
@CoachKlub

You’re right that we do agree that it is time for the A’s to start playing younger players. The A’s have a number of promising young players and a lot of questions about how those players will ultimately fit into their daily line-up. The more playing time those players receive this season, the more information the A’s front office will have to work with this off-season when deciding what holes need to be filled externally. I addressed that issue in an article for FanRagSports last week (https://www.fanragsports.com/mlb/athletics/oakland-athletics-need-commit-youth-movement/).

Calling up Jaycob Brugman was a good start for the A’s in terms of a youth overhaul, although it would be good for Oakland to see more of both Brugman and the man he was sent down for: Mark Canha. The A’s have carried an extra reliever all season. At some point, they may need to let go of that luxury to give their younger position players an opportunity.


Should we be concerned about Franklin Barreto’s strikeouts?

Jeff M.

Going into June, Barreto’s strike-out numbers were already high, but they have skyrocketed in June, as he has K’d 23 times in 10 games. On Tuesday, Barreto had his first game without a strike-out since May 8.

There is no question that a high volume of strike-outs is a concern. Barreto has tremendous bat control, but, at times, that bat control can work against him when he starts trying to make contact with pitcher’s pitches. For Barreto to find the same level of success in the big leagues that he has had in the minor leagues, he’ll need to learn to be more selective at the plate. That doesn’t mean he should be passive, but he’ll have to find a balance between being aggressive and knowing which pitches he can’t make contact with.


What’s the plan for Norge Ruiz? Wasn’t he considered close to the big leagues?

Crazy George

When the A’s signed Ruiz in December to a seven-figure bonus, he came with significant experience playing international tournaments, as well as professional experience in the Cuban professional league. Ruiz turned 23 in March and the thought was that he would make his professional debut in Double-A.

Visa issues have delayed those plans. Ruiz has been unable to pitch in the US because of those visa issues. The A’s were hopeful that the visa issues would be cleared up by the end of June. Once Ruiz arrives in the US, the A’s will determine where he will report. For now, he is pitching in the Dominican Summer League, where he hasn’t allowed a run over his first nine innings pitched.

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