The Braves executed a trade with the Cardinals on Saturday, swapping minor league corner infielder Juan Yepez for St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams and cash considerations. Comments from Braves’ general manager John Coppolella indicated that the teams started discussing the trade on Thursday after first baseman Freddie Freeman sustained a broken wrist during Wednesday’s game.
Adams, 28, entered his sixth season with the Cardinals in 2017. He’s off to a hot start, batting .292/.340/.396 with 14 hits and a home run through his first 53 PA. He enjoyed one of his more productive seasons in 2016 with a .249/.309/.471 batting line, 16 home runs and 0.6 fWAR, but has yet to return to the career-high marks he set in 2014. While Adams’ bat will be a definite downgrade from Freeman’s .341/.461/.749 batting line, his solid glovework should bolster the Braves’ infield until Freeman works his way back from the disabled list.
Yepez, 19, is a Venezuelan corner outfielder in his second campaign with Single-A Rome. He signed with the Braves in 2014 and was noted for both his power potential and defensive profile. The right-handed batter slashed .275/.309/.387 with 14 extra base hits and 15 RBI for the Rome Braves in 2017, but his production value has been tempered by injury and a poor approach at the plate.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.