Dodgers: Austin Barnes ‘Creating Bad Habits’ Trying to Hit Home Runs

Barnes is struggling and we may have an answer as to why.

Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes has been struggling all year and it is most likely because he is selling out for power, according to club officials.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently outlined the club’s current perception of Austin Barnes and his uncertain future:

Selling Out for Power

For those who do not have subscriptions to The Athletic, here are some quotes from Rosenthal on Austin Barnes:

Catcher Austin Barnes is batting .164 with a .465 OPS in 78 plate appearances since returning from a strained left groin on June 7. Though Barnes has not let his offense affect his defense, club officials say he created bad habits by trying to hit home runs.

A .465 OPS is just not going to get it done; especially from a guy who is supposed to be your primary catcher. Rosenthal alludes to the solid defensive work that Barnes brings to the table with his above-average framing work behind the plate, but the defense does not make up for the lack of offense.

Barnes’ Unknown Future

Secondly, Rosenthal discusses the unknown future of Barnes:

His future with the team is not necessarily secure. Will Smith, the top prospect who performed well during a brief audition while Barnes was on the injured list, had his second two-homer game in five days for Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, increasing his season total at Triple A to 18 and his OPS to .998.

Will Smith is good — really good. He most likely will end up the primary catcher in October and could oust Barnes out of a job. Only time will tell.


Austin still has the backing of Dave Roberts and the organization, but you help but look down on the farm for an upgrade.

Barnes is becoming a tired act. His offense does not get it done and he is a far cry from his lone good season. The time is now to act and the Dodgers have a ready-made replacement in top prospect Will Smith.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.


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  1. Barnes may or actually may not be with the team after July 31, IDK. But what we all know is I cannot imagine Dodgers holding on to him for another year after another completely dismal offensive showing again this year. Dodgers cannot afford to ‘carry’ him or anyone offensively IMO.

  2. He looks lost at the plate. His facial expression is one of confusion. He is almost an automatic out. Will should be catching. Another game blown today because of the ball pen. Other teams see this and the asking price for a reliever will be higher.

  3. He’s not a home run hitter and not even a hitter. Time for a demotion Mr. Barnes. Hopefully Will Smith was not hurt too badly last night. Dave Roberts has to stop humoring Barnes that he is the number 1 catcher. Smith should be the number 1 catcher.7 home runs between him and Martin. Pathetic!

  4. Barnes is pretty much useless as a hitter – basically an automatic out. Whatever glimmer he showed as a hitter a few years ago is long, long gone. Time to call up Ruiz or Smith and get them acclimatized to the major leagues because neither Barnes nor Martin should be on the team next year.

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