A’s Preview: Daric Barton

Remember the Mark Mulder trade? Remember how shocking it was to see A’s GM, Billy Beane, dismantle the A’s “Big Three” of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito?

More importantly, do you remember who the A’s received in exchange for Mulder’s services?

Most notable is All-Star pitcher, Dan Haren, who is now pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks. But aside from the obvious, the A’s also received Daric Barton (and Kiko Calero) from the St. Louis Cardinals.

The A’s thought highly of Haren, but they also invested a lot of time and effort in Daric Barton. Barton, who is entering his third season with the A’s, has hit .249/.348/.394 with 16 HR and 79 RBIs in his short career. However, his numbers are a far-cry from the A’s expectations.

In 2007, Barton was a September call-up, and was an immediate success. In 12 games, Barton hit .347/.429/.639 with 4 HR and 8 RBIs. It was clearly an indication of his big-league potential. His September fueled the A’s and their fans’ expectations for Barton in 2008. In his first full season, however, Barton failed to live up to all the hype surrounding him. He managed to hit just .226/.327/.348 with 9 HR and 47 RBIs in 140 games. It seemed Barton had a hard time adjusting to major league pitchers. He didn’t hit for much power (many expected him to hit 15-20) and didn’t get on base nearly enough to satisfy the A’s.

Last season, the A’s chose Jason Giambi over Barton to handle the duties of firstbase. Barton didn’t see action until Giambi’s release (due to his poor performance), but when he arrived, he showed why the A’s wanted him when they traded Mark Mulder.

Barton in his 54 games, hit .269/.372/.413 with 3 HR and 24 RBIs. His batting average was higher, his OBP, SLG and OPS improved.

The A’s are putting their faith in Barton once again this season, but if he should stumble out of the gate, the A’s have many other options at first (Chavez, Carter, Fox). In my own personal opinion, Barton should be “okay” this season. I see him having a “breakout” season in terms of stats. Below is my prediction for Barton’s 2010 season:

PREDICTION/PROJECTION:

.280/.368/.436, 12 HR and 58 RBIs

Topics: 2010, Barry Zito, Baseball, Batting, Big Three, Billy Beane, Chris Carter, Daric Barton, Defense, Eric Chavez, Fantasy, Jake Fox, Mark Mulder, Oakland Athletics, Offense, Pitching Staff, Prediction, Preview, Projection, Tim Hudson

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