These things don't always happen right when you expect them to.
Turns out an injury to utility player Chad Pinder is what inspired the Athletics to call up top prospect Franklin Barreto, nine weeks after intended shortstop Marcus Semien went down with a fractured wrist.
The timing is curious because Semien is now on a rehab assignment and a week or two away from returning. Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie is entrenched at second base. After months of having a clear path, Barreto is about to be blocked again.
But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics were planning to call him up after the trade deadline anyway, when they'll presumably have moved Lowrie and perhaps even Semien as well.
So is this a trial run, a chance for the 21-year-old to get his feet wet, or is Barreto here to stay? And should we care in Fantasy leagues?
Well, the default answer, considering it was an injury-related promotion, is that it's less than permanent, but as we saw with Cody Bellinger back in April, the player's performance ultimately has a say.
Barreto is considered a high-end prospect, just like Bellinger was, and he hardly looked overmatched in spring training, batting .481 with a homer in 27 at-bats. Plus, the idea of his promotion being already in the Athletics' plans, if still a month from now, suggests they believe he's ready.
The numbers won't blow you away. His 29.8 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A (similar to Bellinger's) is a red flag, especially since he doesn't counterbalance it with walks, and he hit a modest .281 with eight home runs in 285 at-bats. But as we've seen in recent years with call-ups like Mike Trout, Francisco Lindor, Gary Sanchez and even Bellinger himself, the highest-pedigree prospects often peak at the highest level.
And the Barreto is a shortstop makes taking a flier on him a no-brainer. At a time when offense abounds, overflowing at every position, that one still doesn't offer enough to go around. Sure, the owners of Lindor, Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Jean Segura, Elvis Andrus, Zack Cozart (with his return on the horizon) and perhaps even Trevor Story are settled, but if you play in a league with more than 10 teams, somebody absolutely needs help there.
If Barreto indeed makes a splash, he'll be the answer either to your own or to somebody else's prayers. Either way, he'll have value.
And if he stinks and gets sent down in a matter of days, at least the Athletics will have tipped their hand. They intend for him to be their regular shortstop before season's end.