The Dodgers added Russell Martin earlier in the offseason after watching Yasmani Grandal walk in Free Agency. That move didn’t seem to make sense given Austin Barnes’ and Martin both had terrible offensive years in 2019. But Dave Roberts is already convinced that Barnes is ready for the challenge.
Dave Roberts estimated Austin Barnes will catch 60% of the time and Russell Martin 40%. Barnes has had a nice spring after regressing in 2018.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) March 21, 2019
Barnes had a huge year in 2017 as he eventually took over the starting job from Grandal heading into the playoffs. The kid from Riverside slashed .289/.408/.486 and ended up playing in fifteen playoff games en route to a World Series loss. Those numbers came unraveled in 2018, partially hampered by a sore elbow that limited his swing.
Barnes hit an abysmal 205 with four home runs while reaching base at a low 329 mark. His OPS+ sat at 72 and owned a wRC+ of 77, good for one of the lowest marks in the entire league amongst catchers with at least 200 at-bats.
Luckily, things seem to be changing at the plate. Barnes has been on fire during Spring Training, hitting close to 300 with a much higher OBP and two home runs across 37 at-bats. If the Dodgers are going to be successful in 2019, Austin Barnes will have to show up in a big way.
Russell Martin hit 194 in 2018 with ten home runs, and is 6-24 this Spring.JULIO URÍAS WILL START THE SEASON IN THE DODGERS’ BULLPEN