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Dodgers Austin Barnes on Mookie Betts: ‘I Can’t Thank That Guy Enough’



If you had Austin Barnes, postseason hero as a prediction heading into the playoffs, you’re definitely a bold one. The long-time Dodgers catcher was an unexpected star for the club on their run to a World Series title for the first time in 32 years.

Long known for his glove and as the personal catcher for Clayton Kershaw, Barnsey batted .320 this October and got on base nearly 40% of the time. Along the way, he also became the catcher for Walker Buehler before riding out the World Series in the starting lineup.

Hitting made a difference no doubt for the 30-year-old. And that’s something he once again attributes to the incomparable Mookie Betts. This week, Barnes joined the guys at Spectrum SportsNet LA to share his appreciation for his teammate.

[Mookie] was just there in the cages unselfishly just watching me swing. He was just trying to get me back to — I used to be a pretty good hitter… I’ve had a tough couple seasons and kind of lost my way a little bit — Mook was there and he helped me through some things. I can’t thank that guy enough.

Joe Kelly initially broke the news that Mookie had started working with Austin on his batting. In August as Barnes cratered to a career-low .091 average, the veteran catcher went on a tear slashing .481/.517/.630 over an 8 game stretch. He raised his season average more than 200 points and went from a near-automatic out to a competitive at-bat.

Not much was expected out of the Riverside native this October, but he over-delivered for the Dodgers and has a World Series ring to show for it. Patience is a virtue they say.

NEXT: Austin Barnes Revealed What He Did With the Ball

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. A catcher’s most important contribution in a game is to get the most out of the pitcher on the mound. The catcher has to be able to decide on the pitch sequence knowing the batters weakness’s and what pitches the pitcher is throwing well that game. He has to be able to block the ball and frame a pitch. Barnes did all of those things exceptionally during the playoffs. Buehler made sure to thank him in helping him get through the bases loaded jam against Atlanta without allowing a run.
    Mookie shows what a bargain he is as he is a Team Leader and is there to help all of his teammates.
    I know Smith is the new starting catcher and he has a load of potential and Ruiz does also. This is one of many reasons I am for the DH. I have changed my mind on this. The DH helps older players like Turner stay in the game and helps deep teams like the Dodgers. But my primary reason for being for the DH is to protect the pitchers. Pitching is too important to risk your ace at bat or on the basepaths.

  2. Totally agree here and because the price for premium pitchong is great, it’s all the more reason to keep the DH. Not only that. But this Pandemic will still be raging come next Spring and pitchers do not need to be at more risk having to run bases potentially with close contact with fielders. If MLB desires to see more offense, keep the DH in the NL. I honestly can’t see them going back to making the pitcher bat. But then again we have a very incompetent commisioner.

  3. Mookie is, and has been the missing ingredient to this organization. I applaud Friedman for bringing in the best Player imaginable in Mookie. The FO and even Roberts finally deserve the recognition they have been lacking. Friedman finally gave Roberts more options this off season in the pen with treinin and crew. Roberts FINALLY pulled his head out and sat Kenley in the most Crucial moments. The FO really did a fantastic job this past off season bulding this team.. I am excited as heck, to be a Dodgers fan again and I will be spending my money again at Chavez ravine. Buying endless Dodgers gear and applauding these guys. They did it, and they’re going to do it again if Friedman keeps them together!!! GO DODGERS!!!!!

  4. Get rid of the DH and get back to real baseball. Just be happy you have two solid catchers who can share the responsibility through the wear and tear of the season which weighs heavier on catchers than any other position. Both Smith and Barnes were weak offensively last year, after Smith’s incredible start. Now they are both solid. Carrying two capable catchers is just smart baseball. Let Barnes catch Kershaw and Buehler. Let Smith catch the rest. And give preference to whoever has the hot bat. And go into the 2021 postseason with at least one and preferably two healthy and capable catchers.

  5. If the league stays with the DH, I would consider trying Will Smith at first base, Muncy at third with Justin as DH (he hits right handers as well as left handers) and platooning Ruiz and Barnes behind the plate. They keep saying that JT’s defense has slipped. I haven’t noticed that but say that it does, or has….he is still one of the most clutch hitters on the team. We need to somehow keep Justin Turner in Dodger blue.

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