Austin Barnes is solidifying the Dodgers at the catching position this spring. Moreover, Barnes is hitting .333 with a pair of homers to date. Certainly, this could make him the lead dog in the clubhouse for the lion’s share of work early in the year.
Over the weekend, David Vassegh shed light on why Barnes is having success now. Equally important, we now may know why Barnes struggled so badly in 2018.
Dave Roberts has noticed improvement in Austin Barnes at the plate and his throwing this spring "He had some arm troubles that he was battling all last year. The arm strength, the mechanics, the footwork he's been working really hard on." #Dodgers
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) March 16, 2019
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mentioned ‘arm troubles’ that Barnes battled during the 2018 season. While not going deeper into details of those ‘troubles’, one can speculate that Barnes was playing hurt during the 2018 campaign.
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Barnes saw a massive drop off from 2017 to 2018. His OPS plummeted from .895 to .619, and the Dodgers couldn’t hide him in the lineup late in the year. Furthermore, you could tell that Barnes was a player who was not able to fully trust himself. Perhaps the reason is he couldn’t physically trust his body. Now, it’s fully possible to say that the struggles were more than met the eye.
The best news about all this is it seems Barnes is close to being back on track. If he can be close to the player he was in 2017, that’s a huge value bump for the Dodgers from the catching position.
Barnes will open the season sharing time with veteran Russell Martin. Do you believe that by season’s end he will be the full-time starter? Let us know in the comments section.