Daric Barton was once a top prospect. He was drafted in the first round in 2003 by the St. Louis Cardinals and then traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2004. Billy Beane was excited to acquire him, and was looking forward to seeing his potential. From 2005 to 2007, Barton was ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects and was the Athletics #1 and #2 top prospect in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Barton got his chance in the majors late in the 2007 season. In the 18 games he played, Barton hit .347 with 4 home runs and 8 RBI. As a result of this success, Barton began the 2008 season as the Athletics starting first baseman. However, halfway through the season, he dove into a shallow pool, hit his head, jammed his neck, and was out for the rest of the season. Again in 2010 and 2011, he was the Athletics’ starting first baseman, but due to injury or poor performance, he was designated for assignment. He became not only a disappointment in eyes of the Oakland Athletics coaching staff, but also in the minds of the fans.
Even though Barton was the Athletics top prospect for a number of years, Barton has spent the more time in minors than in the MLB. By the time 2012 rolled around, he was more of an afterthought than a potential Athletic. He had been with the Sacramento River Cats for so many years that he had become the team’s all-time leader in games played for Oakland’s Triple-A team. Even though he was successful with the River Cats, his name fell by the wayside as younger and stronger players quickly moved up the ranks.
Instead of giving up, Barton worked on himself. He became healthy, fixed his attitude, and changed his approach at the plate. This prepared him for his recall to the Athletics in late August of this season.
Due to Josh Reddick’s injury, first baseman Brandon Moss took Reddick’s place in right field, and Barton took over first base alongside Nate Freiman. Many fans were skeptical – even doubtful – that Barton could help the Athletics. After returning from the minors this time, Barton was hitting .320 (8-of-25). The changes he made in Sacramento really impressed the rest of the Athletics and the fans.
Daric Barton just hit a home run. Repeat, Daric Barton just hit a home run
— Oakland A's Pie Guy (@OaklandAsPieGuy) September 4, 2013
Daric Barton just hit a home run to right-center field. I don't believe my eyes. #Athletics
— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattCSN) September 4, 2013
He showed that he was finally ready for the majors. Along with his excellent defensive skills, Barton seemed to be the perfect filler for the A’s lineup, which was peppered with injuries.
However, after the Athletics brought up Michael Choice from Triple-A, Brandon Moss was pushed back to first, and Barton has once again forgotten as he became the third string first baseman after Moss and Freiman. Barton has not started in a game since September 5th. Hopefully the small success Barton has had with the Athletics this season will be enough to prove that he is worth a spot on the A’s active roster next year.