Geren totes Barton's, Gio's significant growth

Geren totes Barton's, Gio's significant growth

OAKLAND -- With the 2010 season coming to a close, A's manager Bob Geren discussed the development of two of his young regulars this season -- southpaw Gio Gonzalez and first baseman Daric Barton.

While Trevor Cahill has evolved from a 10-game winner as a rookie to one of the league's top arms, Gonzalez has made an arguably greater transformation. In his first two seasons of big league service, Gonzalez went 7-11 with a 6.24 ERA. This year, Gonzalez is 14-9 with a 3.35 ERA.

Though stuff has never been an issue with Gonzalez, he was finally able to harness his emotion on the mound this year. In years past, Gonzalez would often be undone by his fiery temper.

"He's improved that composure aspect of his game by 100 percent," Geren said. "He still has a way to go, but I think that with time and more experience, he's going to continue to get better at that. Stuff-wise, his command is better with all of his pitches."

Geren said he thought Barton made the most significant improvement this year. The 25-year-old first baseman, who shuttled between the big leagues and Triple-A last year, leads the American League in walks (106) while toting a .273 average and .394 on-base percentage.

Geren also tabbed Barton as a potential Gold Glove winner while praising him for being among the league leaders in games played this year. But Barton has yet to become a consistent power threat, something often expected from an everyday first baseman. Barton has just eight home runs and 51 RBIs in a full season of work.

"The best hitters that I've seen were ones that used the entire field when they're young, then learn to hit home runs when they get older," Geren said. "He could be on that type of track, it's a possibility."