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Dodgers: Austin Barnes Quietly Impressing in Triple-A

Not everyone will be on board with this one…

Dodgers
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 11: Austin Barnes #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks to the dugout prior to a spring training game against San Francisco Giants at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late July after struggling for most of the season.

Prior to being optioned, Barnes had a pedestrian .196 batting average with an OPS of .616 in Los Angeles. In 70 games at the big league level, he hit 5 home runs and drove in 23 runs while scoring 27 times. Moreover, he recorded more strikeouts (53) than hits (40).times.

Safe to say, it had not been the season he envisioned. However, it’s been a different story in AAA.

Barnes is quietly having a solid month with Oklahoma City. He has a batting average of .273, an OPS of .979. He’s added 15 H, 12 R, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 9 BB, in 55 at-bats. Those 5 homers came in consecutive games.

Now, OKC batting coach Scott Coolbaugh talks about Barnes’ time down in the minor leagues.

“There wasn’t something that was glaring. I think it was just a matter of him just taking a step back and come here and play and take some pressure off.”

Undoubtedly the pressure had reached a boiling point for the 29 year-old, to a point where the major league clubhouse reportedly “let out a sigh of relief” when he was optioned.

The catcher adds his thoughts on what’s changed with OKC.

“I feel better at the plate — I feel like I’m swinging at better pitches and recognizing the ball better. So, yeah, I think that was just the result of that. I feel more comfortable.”

“I’m just focused on where I’m at right now and getting better. Whatever happens, happens.”

Barnes has established himself as an MLB option (no pun intended) in the past, and perhaps this relaxed hot streak was just what the doctor ordered. He has performed well and will be called back up the Dodgers in September when rosters expand.

He will likely get a good runway to prove himself in September and possible earn a playoff roster spot. There will be a good possibility that the Dodgers could head into the playoffs with 3 catchers, with Will Smith remaining the primary catcher.

While Barnes has struggled in the playoffs throughout his career, his versatility would play up for manager Dave Roberts.

Written by Levon Satamian

My name is Levon Satamian. I am currently attending Cal State Northridge, and majoring in Broadcast Journalism.

13 Comments

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  1. Absolutely no need for Barnes to make the playoff roster. And those numbers (.273 particularly) aren’t impressive in the hit happy PCL.

  2. I agree with you he had his opportunity and blew. With catchers like Will Smith and Kiebert Ruiz, who needs Barnes except maybe the Marlins!

  3. I was hoping he was floundering so we wouldn’t have to worry about him coming back and ruining Smiths opportunity

      • And “hello” to you, Azul and PD Jr. Its too bad Barnes did not find himself earlier in the season, but hopefully, this will work out for all parties. Lets face it, Martin’s clock is winding down. A 2020 catching duo of Smith and Barnes may be just the right thing. I agree with you, Paul, that carrying 3 catchers in the PS is overload, especially when we could use another BP arm. Go Blue!!!!!

        • Hello BLUE LOU! The one thing to remember is that with seeing more elite pitching in the PS, Dodgers cannot act as though they can simply ‘slug’ their way through it. Of course when a team scores 7 runs in a game with 4 HR’s we would think that it results in a victory. But with what we saw again from the middle relief, it was not to be be. Granted Buehler was not sharp at all. As far as catching in 2020, it is my gut feeling that Barnes will be moved and another catcher may be backing up Smith but WSS. If he is good with just being a back up catcher next year then OK but he along with Joc (who will be in his final year before FA) will be dealt this coming off season, just a guess.. BTW, you know I am a vinyl album collector and one of my latest purchases was a vinyl record that glows in the dark!

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