A’s first baseman Daric Barton passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment and has decided to remain in the organization at Triple-A rather than become a free agent.
This is actually the third time Barton has gone unclaimed on waivers after being dropped from the A’s 40-man roster and it’ll be the eighth different season in which he’s spent at least some time at Triple-A Sacramento.
Barton was once considered among the elite hitting prospects in baseball before being traded from the Cardinals to the A’s along with Dan Haren for Mark Mulder, but he’s hit just .247 with a .721 OPS in the majors and has really struggled since a nice 2010 season as a 24-year-old.
Tied at a league-leading 10 home runs apiece with Cody Bellinger and Khris Davis, it wasn’t long before Brewers slugger Christian Yelich set himself apart from the competition yet again. During the bottom of the first inning on Friday, the 2018 NL MVP singled out the first pitch he saw from the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling — an 86.5-m.p.h. slider just wide of the strike zone — and returned it to the second deck seats in right field for his 11th home run of 2019.
While Bellinger and Davis will undoubtedly continue to make it difficult for Yelich to claim sole honors at the top of the leaderboard, the 27-year-old outfielder has had a banner year so far. Through the first three weeks of the season, he’s batting a strong .354/.447/.823 with 15 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and three stolen bases across 94 plate appearances. The 29 RBI (27 entering Friday’s game) he collected between March and April eclipsed Prince Fielder’s previous franchise record of 26 RBI — and there’s no telling how much higher that total will rise by the end of the month, too.
Even with the benefit of Yelich’s immense talents, however, the Brewers are just clinging to a first-place tie with the Pirates atop the NL Central. They dropped their last two games to the Cardinals and Dodgers, respectively, and will need to overturn the remainder of their series against LA to build up their division lead again. They’re currently tied 2-2 with the Dodgers in the seventh.