Our Blue Jays Top-30 Prospects of 2016 continues with Venezuelan second baseman Deiferson Barreto, who continues to be brought along slowly by Toronto
The Blue Jays top prospect list marches on with Deiferson Barreto coming in at number 28. The 20-year old Barreto comes in just ahead of pitcher Evan Smith at 29 and outfielder Freddy Rodriguez at 30. We also profiled ten other talented Blue Jays prospects that just missed the cut which you can find in two parts here and here.
Name: Deiferson Barreto
Position: 2B Age: 20
Height: 5’10″ Weight: 165lbs
Bats/Throws: R / R
Acquired: International Free Agent (2011)
Barreto’s four-year career in Toronto’s farm system has featured a great deal of consistency, both in competition level and performance. After spending his age-17 and 18 seasons with the DSL Blue Jays, Barreto advanced to the Gulf Coast League at age 19 and Appalachian League at age 20. The organization seems to be bringing him along slowly, but to his credit, Barreto has held his own at the plate.
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After a strong 2012 debut, Barreto made a name for himself in prospect circles in 2013. That year in the DSL, Barreto managed a triple-slash of .300 / .404 / .383. While power will never be Barreto’s game, seeing 31 walks to just 23 strikeouts over 64 games that year was an extremely encouraging sign that he could develop into a heady hitter.
In 51 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2014, however, Barreto walked just five times, so there are some bizarre irregularities within his overall consistency. While his average stayed impressive at .288, a .308 on-base percentage did not.
Barreto did seem to find a comfortable middle-ground this year, however, hitting .302 with a .347 OBP over 51 games. He also managed to sneak out three home runs, and any development in his line-drive ability at the plate will help to catapult him up through the Blue Jays farm system. As it stands right now, his 165-pound frame packs little punch in that department and he could quickly fall victim to more powerful and refined pitching at the A and AA levels.
Another oddity from Barreto’s development were his 19 stolen bases on 24 attempts in that strong 2013 season, as he hasn’t topped four steals in any other year. If his bat has a cap on it, then his base running and defensive tools will need to buoy his stock.
In the field, Barreto has worked primarily as a second baseman but saw an expanded look at third base in 2015 where he started 17 of his 51 games. He clearly lacks the pop to stick at the hot corner with any level of consistency, however, so if he’s going to begin climbing the ladder organizationally, it will need to come back at second base. If that line-drive tool can develop into some gap power, though, there may eventually be potential for Barreto to carve out a utility role as he reaches the upper Minors.
Heading into 2016, what Barreto does have working for him is a strong base. The ceiling remains in question, but if he can maintain his matured plate approach and continue to barrel up consistently, he’ll keep his value above water. It will be a serious test, however, as he climbs the ranks to face older and more talented arms.