Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Future Trade Destinations for Adam Frazier
By Noah Wright
Whenever the season starts, the A’s are set to start with one of Franklin Barreto or Jorge Mateo at the keystone position. Both former top 50 prospects did very well at Triple-A last year. Barreto slashed .296/.374/.552 with 19 home runs and 15 stolen bases through 424 plate appearances. Good for a 121 wRC+. Mateo hit .289/.330/.504 with 19 home runs and 24 stolen bases. Good for a 96 wRC+.
But the A’s should be cautious about both. Their performances also brought a bit of a high batting average on balls in play. Mateo’s BAbip sat at .366 while Barreto’s sat at .374. This was also the first year Mateo had posted close to league average numbers since 2017, and hasn’t posted a 100+ wRC+ since 2015 (min. 300 plate appearances at a single level). Plus, Barreto isn’t necessarily your most proven commodity either. Granted, he only has 209 MLB plate appearances, he has a career -0.7 bWAR, and a 60 OPS+.
They do have some other options if both Barreto and Mateo fail. Sheldon Neuse and Chad Pinder have plenty of experience at second base, but Pinder just came off an 88 OPS+/1.7 bWAR season, and Neuse only started to play second base more frequently in 2019. So there is reason for concern between the both of them as well.
Obviously, they’re not going to get a Jesus Luzardo or A.J. Puk in return for Frazier, but I would definitely ask about their #11 prospect (MLB pipeline) Jonah Heim. Heim is a 24-year-old catching prospect who posted strong offensive numbers at Double-A and Triple-A last season. In 327 plate appearances (208 in Double-A, 119 in Triple-A), Heim batted .310/.385/.477 with nine long balls and 21 doubles. He posted a 125 wRC+ at Double-A and 135 wRC+ at Triple-A. Heim is graded as an above average defender, with a 55 arm and fielding grade. Impressively, he caught 55% of all runners trying to steal on him. He probably would be one of the team’s first options behind the plate, if it weren’t for Sean Murphy, who ranks as the 62nd best prospect in the MLB according to FanGraphs, and the 33rd best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.