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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Clarifies Who Will Be Getting the Majority of Starts at Catcher



Dodgers fans unfortunately got to witness another day of Austin Barnes going hitless on Tuesday. After an 0-for-4 performance, Barnes is not hitting just .100 on the season without an extra-base hit to his name. He has also struck out in nearly 35 percent of his plate appearances. 

That has led many to wonder why Barnes and Will Smith continue to share reps. Smith isn’t hitting the cover off of the ball, but he has put up much better at-bats in 2020 than Austin Barnes has by far. 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke with media ahead of the game Tuesday and clarified the catching position. According to him, the bulk of innings behind the plate will eventually go to Will Smith

Due to the strange nature of a 60-game season, Barnes is likely getting in there more often than he should. The two backstops will have caught the same amount of innings after Wednesday’s game. But the Dodgers may be pivoting to the more offensively inclined Smith, though his numbers have not shown up yet.

The difference is that Will Smith puts the ball in play, having struck out just 3 times all season. Smith also puts the ball in play hard, having an average exit velocity close to that of Corey Seager‘s. If the Dodgers wanted to go with a defensively inclined catcher though, Barnes would be that guy.

The pitching staff as a whole has had much better success in 2020 with Barnes behind the plate. It is no doubt a small sample size, but pitchers carry a low 1.55 ERA when they have Barnes doing their catching. The Dodgers appear to be looking for production though in their decision to tab Smith. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I feel sorry for Barnes at this point……….but when he is in the lineup his at bats actually help the oppositions pitchers get through our lineup unscathed. He is a good defensive catcher, no doubt. But his regression offensively has made him expendable. He has looked lost at the plate for a couple of years now. His days as a Dodger are numbered. He does one thing for me now……he gives me another chance to hit the fridge for beers or snacks during the games.

    • Having Barnes batting 9th, you may as well have a pitcher there, at least they can lay down a bunt! Barnes has no business in the majors.

  2. Will needs to be in there 90 % of the time. The Dodgers are in need of a bat and Will has proven he has one. Barnes is a whiny bitch who cries and blames the ump when he strikes out. Watch his facial expressions. Willis still young as a catcher and his defense will continue to get better. Barnes bat? I doubt it.

  3. The Dodgers are incredibly deep. They have more talent than anybody. But hey are incredibly shallow at one position, catcher. They should have resigned Russel Martin.

    • I definitely agree with you Dodger106W. Barnes should only play to give Will a rest once in a while. He’s an automatic out and I’m sure we all Dodger fans hate that. Barnes very seldom swings at the first pitch down the middle for strike and most of the time he lets the second pitch go by, also a strike. What is he thinking? then he strikes out on an outside pitch, really? What in hell is Roberts thinking? PUT WILL SMITH IN!!!!!!

  4. It makes me think of a guy named A.J. Ellis. Almost an automatic out. We had to endure him for years.

  5. Harper,Machado, Stanton, Ohtani, you always hear about the Dodgers looking for an upgrade with expensive position player. They draft pitcher after pitcher. They have neglected to get a catcher who is all-star worthy since Piazza. They just assume that they can with with a catcher who is near last in allowing stolen basis, hitting, WAR, etc. He only needs to be able to fool the umpire on close pitches. They need to develop good catchers, like they do pitchers.

  6. Andrew. Needs to sign Russell Martin and release. Or trade Austin barnes. Also on c bellinger needs to drop his elbows to his side will hit line drives that way he’s upper cutting. try to hit a home run every at bat. Go blue

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