Austin Barnes is a very intriguing player for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A lot of that intrigue comes from his ability to play multiple positions, and play them quite effectively. Already this spring we’ve seen him at second base and behind the plate. That versatility will help the team this upcoming season.
In the 13 games that Barnes has played so far this spring, he’s batting .333 with a .455 on-base percentage and .778 slugging percentage. His 1.232 OPS is certainly one that jumps out at you. He won’t hit like this during the regular season, but if he can still hit solidly then his value is immeasurable.
Barnes played 30 games at second at Double-A Jacksonville in 2014, along with 15 at third base. At Arizona State, he started out at shortstop and second before moving to catcher. And when the 26-year-old was a part of September call-ups last fall, he started one game at second and appeared in another at third.
That’s where Barnes’ versatility comes into play here. He can play second, third, and catch the occasional game. He’s an impressive athlete when you take into consideration that he was, as it is noted, a shortstop in college. There might be a role for Barnes on the Dodgers in 2016.
What that role is remains to be seen, but he definitely could be a utility player who fills in on off-days for others and supplies the team with meaningful innings in the field and at-bats at the plate. He has that skill set. Barnes is 26 now, so his impact will have to come soon in this league.
As the Dodgers prepare for the season to begin, it looks like they could be carrying three catchers on the roster. Just don’t be shocked when you see one of them in the infield making plays. That’ll be Austin Barnes. And that’ll be his way of helping the team in any way that he possibly can.