Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Did Mookie Betts Fix Austin Barnes?

Last week I wrote this article about Austin Barnes and his struggles at the plate. In my defense Barnes had gotten off to a 2 for 25 start and was hitting .091 at the time. For the record Barnes has languished at the plate struggling to hit above the Mendoza line since 2018. That’s over two years of horrendous batting, so I don’t think anyone could blame me for writing what I wrote. Then Barnes got hot, because of course he did.

Barnes went on a hot streak, uncharacteristic from his usual offensive failures. During the last week or so Barnes has notched five multi-hit games, while raising his average to .303 during the height of his hitting streak. Barnes reached base and hit safely in seven consecutive games. As of this writing Barnes is slashing .306/.358/.388 (15 for 49) with one home run and a 107 OPS+, with six runs driven in. In comparison Barnes drove in just 14 runs in 100 games throughout the 2018 season.

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Perhaps Barnes read my article and was motivated to spite me? Not likely. Actually the catcher credits his success to a change in approach and states he was helped tremendously by clubhouse leader and superstar Mookie Betts.

Barnes is “taking swings with conviction,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s worked really hard, with Mookie, with the hitting guys, it’s been a long process. But Austin’s in a really good place.”

“He’s helped me in the cage, actually been in the cage with me watching me swing,” Barnes said. “That just shows you what kind of teammate he is, to take time out of his day to help someone else.”

Mookie Betts is a wonderful teammate. No wonder why the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018. Betts is not only terrific on the field, but terrific off the field as well. He helps his teammates and just being around a player like this improves everyone’s game. Barnes is benefiting from the wisdom and talent of Mookie Betts. It shows you how incredible he is. Betts is so good, that he makes other players better. I’m happy for Barnes. He’s always been a solid defensive catcher. He just couldn’t hit a lick. His feckless batting almost made him a liability. If Betts has fixed Barnes, and he is no longer an automatic out then I don’t have any issues with him being the Dodger’s number one catcher behind the plate.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

5 thoughts on “Did Mookie Betts Fix Austin Barnes?

  1. I believe you are right, Scott. Austin even had mentioned the fact that Mookie had given him some hitting advice.

    It is one thing to get advise, but whether or not one takes it, is another thing. Austin was really struggling, and he apparently was like a sponge, and took those hitting tips to heart.

    A player of Bellie’s, Pederson’s, or Muncy’s stature or personality, “may not” be willing to listen to anyone. Or they might try it for a few at-bats, and then it is very easy to quickly revert back to their old ways. It is often the case that once baseball players reach stardom, the thought of someone giving them tips, easily goes in one ear, and out the other…. more like an insult. It would be like Me telling Julia Child how to cook.

    It is nice to know that Mookie is definitely a team player, willing to share his hitting expertise to anyone willing to listen. He may be a good candidate for Dodger hitting coach after his playing days are over.

  2. Mookie has been a revalation, and much better than advertised. He is one of those players who inspires by his performance on the field. Austin Barnes has been lost for the better part of 2 1/2 years. He has not been close to the player he was in the second half of 2017 when he took the starting job away from Grandal. That he was smart enough to understand he needed help, and to get it from an accomplished player like Mookie shows he knew he had to do something and fast. Especially when Smith went down. He has had a tough last couple of games, but I think he will be fine. Joc on the other hand, and this is my personal opinion, looks like he just does not care. He is in his walk year and to me, he has no intensity at all until he strikes out, then he lets go with a f bomb and that is the most emotion he shows. He jogs to first on every weak ground ball. He just looks like he wants to be somewhere else. And he was close to having that happen when he was summarily traded over the winter. With Joc’s performance, and the way Strip has pitched the last few games, Moreno is probably happy he did not trade for them. Belli is figuring it out. His swing the last few games has looked like the swing he had last year. Muncy got two hits yesterday, so maybe he is waking up from his doldrums too. Starting pitching is still the weak point on this team until they get some length out of their starters.

  3. What a badly played game last night. I am pretty much finished with Kike and Joc. They need to be gone sooner than later. Urias has not proved to me that he deserves to be in the starting rotation. His consistent inconsistency is maddening.

    1. Bound to have a bad game once and a while, but WHY does it have to be against the Hated Ones?

      I am losing patience with Urias. He had been babied and coddled for way too long, hoping that some day he would mature and gel into a superstar. Well, actually I think they left him in diapers too long. The Dodgers have spent a lot of time and money on his career, and I think he has past his productive years, due to the the Dodgers’ overly cautious limitations on his development. Julio was signed way too young. Maybe time to bring up Gonsolin, before the Dodgers make the same mistake, and waste away his talent, too.

      RISP was their downfall. Yes, the Gnats had more, but they were able to take advantage of the Dodgers’ lackadaisical play and untimely errors.

      The failure of Jansen to close out the game, and overuse of bullpen again backfired on DR.

      Pederson is potential trade bait, so I wander if he’s not trying hard, so no team would want him, and he can stay with the Dodgers and possibly win a ring in the process.

      Kiké has been up and down this year, but he’s a great utility player to have. He could be gone after this year too, looking for a permanent spot in a starting lineup, elsewhere. Maybe just trying too hard to up his stock in the FA market.

      Games like last night will be one of the blown games that the Dodgers will look back on, if they fail to win the WS again.

      1. Games like last night won’t have any bearing at all on the WS. I can’t see how it could.

        Would love to be educated.

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