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:
Notes column from earlier today updated with response from Aroldis Chapman on item about him opting out. https://t.co/dqVsh6UGj0 Also in column: Items about #Angels’ plans; #Dodgers; 3B market in free agency; more. $
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2019
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.