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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Explains How Mookie Betts has Helped Austin Barnes



Yes, we’re talking about the greatest batter of our generation. No, not Mookie Betts, but Austin Barnes. However, Mookie plays a key role. Last week, suspended/injured Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly revealed that Betts had taken struggling catcher Austin Barnes under his wing.

Since then, media members have been biting their tongues in asking Dave Roberts about what’s been going right in that relationship… veteran scribe Bill Plunkett finally found the best way to ask on Wednesday. Here’s what Doc had to say.

Mookie just kind of did some things to free up his mind, give him some clarity, give him some cues, some keys mechanically and it’s something that landed with him. … Just using the big part of the field, staying in the strike zone and some things mechanically that they’ve talked through. It’s paid big dividends up to this point.

Notably, Mookie isn’t stepping on the toes of batting coaches Robert Van Scoyoc or Brant Brown, according to Dave. All parties are working together, and the number say that it is absolutely working.

Over his last 7 games, Barnes is batting .500 on the dot (12-24), raising his season average from .091 to .304.

So, if it’s been mechanical, why has he been struggling for the last few seasons? Dave expands on Mookie’s role in helping clear a cloudy-minded Barnes.

I think the cloud comes from performance — chasing numbers. I think the cloud comes from thinking mechanics when you’re in the box and not just focusing on seeing the baseball. But those are things that happen when you do struggle and you’re trying to kind of find who you are again.

Things have been rough for Barnesy since his first full season in the bigs. After posting an .895 OPS in 2017, Austin combined for a lowly .627 OPS over the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He also spent some time at triple-A in ’19. After opening the season with a .258 OPS over his first 8 games in 2020, it was looking like it could get a lot worse for the 30-year-old. So understandably, he’s thankful for his new teammate. 

Mookie’s great. I can’t say enough about him and what he’s doing in the clubhouse,” Barnes said. “He’s helped me tremendously. … That just shows you what kind of teammate he is for him to take time out of his day to help someone else. He’s been great.

Hopefully this dream team can keep it up for a few more months.

Dave Roberts Explains How Mookie Betts is Helping Austin Barnes, Optioning Gonsolin

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NEXT: Tony Gonsolin Optioned One Day After Scoreless Start

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. What a great teammate Betts is. So glad someone could help Barnes.
    Watched Ruiz pick a Mariner off 3rd base tonight. What an arm Ruiz has…
    What a great roster issue to have with Barnes hitting well & Ruiz showing he may be major league ready. Competition is a great motivator.

  2. The “greatest batter of of our generation?” Kids, don’t drink and drive, or drink and write articles.

    Yesterday Gonsolin had another great start maintaining his ERA of zero. Barnes contributed significantly to the win and raised his BA to 304. How did Roberts respond? Gonsolin was demoted to the non roster role, and will be unavailable for ten days. Barnes was benched today. Apparently this is how Roberts rewards stellar performance. This is the same guy who was responsible for Betts slow start by refusing to play him at his natural leadoff spot in the order. Since Betts has been leading off he has been on fire. I hope Roberts doesn’t respond by benching him too.

  3. This is what you pay the big bucks for not just solely numbers. We need guys like this in the clubhouse it’s great that we’re going to have that for 12 years. If Bellinger wants this type of contract from us he needs to start taking some advice from coaches or teammates

  4. As Roberts was a player, although not a very good one, it has always struck me as so odd he benches HOT players. We have all played sports and watched sports. Sometimes a player gets on a roll every other manager I have ever played for or games I have watched make sure they ride a players Hot streak. Not Roberts he sits them down.
    Please FIRE ROBERTS!

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