Barreto is probably best-known for being part of the A’s four-player return from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson deal. That offseason marked the first of four straight in which the right-handed hitting infielder was ranked among Baseball America’s Top 100 overall prospects. He was a top 50 farmhand each season from 2016-18, flashing a promising combination of bat-to-ball skills, power and defensive ability.
While those physical tools have translated to a .285/.356/.505 line in parts of four Triple-A seasons, Barreto has yet to find any success at the big league level. He saw some MLB action in each year from 2017-20, but he only managed a cumulative 237 plate appearances. Barreto owns just a .175/.207/.342 mark in that time, with a dreadful combination of a 42.2% strikeout rate and a 3% walk percentage.
The A’s moved on from Barreto at the 2020 trade deadline, flipping him to Anaheim for Tommy La Stella. Barreto would only appear in six games as an Angel, though. He began last season on the injured list and underwent Tommy John surgery in May, ending his campaign before it began. The Angels outrighted him off the 40-man roster at the end of the year, at which point he elected minor league free agency.
Things obviously hasn’t gone as planned for Barreto at the big league level, but there’s little harm for the Astros in getting a look at him this spring. He’s still relatively young and not all that far removed from being regarded as one of the more promising hitting prospects in the game. Second base — Barreto’s primary position — is obviously spoken for by José Altuve in Houston, but Carlos Correa’s departure has left some uncertainty at shortstop. Barreto will be behind top prospect Jeremy Peña and utilitymen Niko Goodrum and Aledmys Díaz in the organizational pecking order, but he could serve as an upside depth flier at Triple-A Sugar Land.