Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Why Austin Barnes Should Start 2016 at Oklahoma City

I have nothing against Austin Barnes. I like him. I don’t think as highly of him as Mark does, but I still consider him a young talented player with a high ceiling. It’s just not the same ceiling as others may think he has. Barnes is a 26-year old right handed hitting catcher/second baseman. He has more experience as a backstop than a second baseman, but can play either position well.

Barnes is a career .300 hitter in the minor leagues and has a .390 career OBP as well. He’s hit 40 home runs and has an .828 OPS across five minor league seasons. He’s a contact hitting catcher with great on base skills that can play second base and hit a few home runs. I can see why Mark likes him and I would love to see him get more playing time this season. Unfortunately Austin Barnes probably shouldn’t be placed on the major league roster in 2016, and it has nothing to do with his playing abilities. So why shouldn’t the Dodgers find a place for him on the active roster this spring?

There are a couple of reasons. He’s blocked at the second base and catcher positions. The Dodgers already have Howie KendrickChase Utley and Enrique Hernandez entrenched at the keystone. The Dodgers didn’t spend 20 million dollars on Kendrick not to play him, plus Kike and Utley will get some playing time there as well.

If the Dodgers place Barnes on the roster than he’ll probably be sitting on the bench a lot. He needs to be playing every day. Sitting on the bench won’t do him any good.  He won’t get enough playing time to stay sharp. You know what they say, you have to play in order to play.


The big reason he shouldn’t be placed on the major league roster is the lack of catcher depth. We know that the Dodger’s catching depth throughout the upper levels of the organization is razor thin. Behind Barnes there isn’t anybody else of reliable caliber that can fill in if there is an emergency. If you play Barnes at second base regularly then you don’t have that third string catcher available anymore.

If something were to happen to A.J. Ellis or Yasmani Grandal then who would fill in behind the plate? Since Barnes is blocked at second base anyways by several other players, it would be better to continue to primarily use him as a catcher. Otherwise the Dodgers would have to go out and acquire another catcher, and there are limited options available. It’s best not to stunt his development at the position the Dodgers need him most at.

The Dodgers have already told Barnes last season to focus on catching. The brain trust has also states that they are not interested in picking up a journeyman catcher as insurance. Right now Barnes is not only the future, but the insurance as well. Barnes comes highly rated. Truebluela’s David Hood rated him as the Dodger’s number 11 prospect in their farm system.

We saw a glimpse of Barnes last September when he was called up after rosters expanded. Barnes batted .207 (6 for 29) in 37 plate appearances. In 20 games he had two extras base hits and six walks while playing 11 games behind the plate. Barnes is much better served as a catcher for the reasons listed above.

This way you can stash him down at Oklahoma City to start the season. He can get regular playing time and stay sharp, and you don’t rob yourself of your catching depth. If anyone gets hurt Barnes is just a plane ride away, and we all know somebody will get hurt at some point. Austin Barnes’ time will come soon. However it’s not right now, nor should it be.

(photo credits),

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

53 thoughts on “Why Austin Barnes Should Start 2016 at Oklahoma City

  1. This blog is shaping up, but that logo and pixelated font is terrible. You can have something done cheap. 99 Designs is another. You could superimpose it over a panoramic view of Dodger Stadium. Give this blog some pizzazz. Make it look classy…legit.

    I don’t even mind the ads, though that popup is a little annoying. Thanks for not having the usual raunchy clickbait at the bottom.

    I like that other writer, too. Hopefully he’s more than just an occasional author. My favorite blog for content is Dodgers Digest. This is by far my favorite for discussion. I miss Always Compete. He was good.

    Agreed about Barnes. Someone else made an excellent point about him spending a lot of time being the catching half of a Urias/DeLeon battery. He’ll learn their styles and how to work with them. When they’re ready, he could be their guy in the bigs, presuming AJ is retired. I don’t see the upside that Mark does. He might be a better hitter than Federowics, and he already has the reputation as a great pitch framer, but I still see Grandal as a much more talented big league player. We don’t need him at second.

    I heard the Giants signed Miguel Olivo. That’s almost reason enough to keep Guerrero around. The ear muncher adds fuel to the rivalry.

    1. DodgerPatch I’m sure Scott has been really busy opening this blog, give him some time. I am sure all of those things you talked about, Scott has already thought about. I am sure there is a lot a different things that have to be done, to get a blog going. I’m just great ful that Mark helped Scott start this blog, and that Scott wanted to do this. Thanks again, Mark and Scott.

  2. Austin Barnes is somewhat like A.J. Ellis.

    A.J. is now 34 — and spent 11 total seasons in the minor leagues. There totally from 2003 through 2007; that is 5 seasons. From ages 22 through 26. He finally hit the majors (L.A.) at age 27 for 3 plate appearances. Then it was up and down even
    playing in 90 games there in 2009 at age 28;
    playing in 18 games there in 2010 at age 29;
    playing in 59 games there in 2011 at age 30.

    Now, after all of that time in the minors: 547 games, 2132 plate appearances — he has in the major leagues as a Dodger – 491 games at 1761 PA.

    In the last 3 seasons, he has only hit .238, .191, and .238.

    Now Austin Barnes:

    He has 5 seasons in the minors, beginning in 2011, with:
    500 games, 2190 plate appearances, 40 HRs and a .300 batting average.

    He did not get to the majors until last season with 20 games and 37 plate appearances hitting .207. Now he is 26 and awaiting the call to make the 25 man roster.

    So, he is somewhat like A.J. Ellis in career development. But physically he is different not going.

    As Scott basically said, as a 2nd baseman, he is probably on the wrong team. Blocked there. But his best days many lie ahead as a catcher. Maybe with a strong spring training, even an injury to A.J. — Austin might just make the team.

    1. The biggest difference between AJ and Austin (besides speed) is that at the same ages, Barnes was a .300 hitter while AJ was a .250 hitter.

  3. When the Dodgers signed Howie any chance of Barnes playing second was over. I agree that having him at OKC makes more sense than having him at the end of the bench, although I do see more catching depth in Farmer and Zarraga. If not for uncertainty over Grandal’s injury Barnes would probably be the backup this year. They also serve who only stand and wait.

  4. I think the Dodgers will see where Grandal is physically and if he is OK, Austin Barnes could be a key part in a deal for whatever they need. His trade value is sky high now.

    The farm system is ok at catcher if Grandal is healthy. We will have to see what plays out but Barnes is worth a lot in trade.

  5. I haven’t seen much here regarding Barnes defense, but I read an article today by David Hood at True Blue that is something of an eye-opener:
    “The biggest open question I had on Barnes entering 2015 was his defense behind the plate, and he answered any concerns in the biggest way possible. Statistically, Barnes’ performance in pitch framing, blocking, and controlling the run game was the second most valuable season across any level of professional baseball, according the Baseball Prospectus. While we had some clue as to Barnes’ ability as a pitch framer, it was good to see the “how” in person this season.”

  6. I am torn on this one. I like Austin Barnes, and believe he will be a good ML catcher. But he is blocked by Grandal who is only a year older than Barnes, and AJ Ellis. What Ellis has is tough to crack… Kershaw’s personal catcher. I agree that the team cannot keep three catchers on the 25 man roster, and being able to play 2nd is not going to help him with three others to play 2nd (4 if you count Turner). I do not think he will be traded if he does not crack the 25 man, because I think there may be a more important purpose served by him going back to OKC…catching Urias, De Leon, and Montas. They will benefit with a ML ready catcher who is a plus pitch framer, and a positive on the field mentor. The four of them can be a team as they are promoted later this year, and permanent 25 man roster members in 2017.

    Zarraga and Farmer are good backups, and will be valuable organizational support. Neither of them are projected to be big contributors, but both can play the position, and every organization needs catching depth.

  7. I am going to give you an idea of something that could happen (not saying it will or that even the players I name will be involved) hypothetically:

    On July 1, the Angels are 25 games under .500 and their manager is fired. The GM makes it known that they are going to rebuild and having a fire sale. They want to cut payroll and get younger.

    Cut to the chase – The Angels trade Mike Trout and Albert Pujols (and their salaries) to the Dodgers for Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes, Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson, Alex Wood, Joc Pederson and Frankie Montas. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball but Pujols is a bad contract that the Dodgers take on. The Angels add several good players back who can help them become relevant again. The Dodgers system takes a bad hit, but they have an offensive powerhouse – especially if Puig returns to his form.

    1. Kendrick 2B
    2. Seager SS
    3. Trout CF
    4. Gonzo/Pujols 1B
    5. Puig RF
    6. Ethier/SVS LF
    7. Turner 3B
    8. Grandal C

    Arrange them any way you want! That’s a powerhouse. Now, that trade will likely never happen, but something similar could. That’s where flexibility comes in.

    1. That trade, mark, could be a candidate for the worst trade of all time. I’m all for getting Trout but would want to keep Kike, Montas and Barnes and add Crawford (to balance salary a little), Verdugo, Cotton and Anderson and the minor league catcher of their choice (other than Barnes) instead, in their place to the trade. We’d be giving them a short term and long term solution in left field, a complete platoon system for CF in Thompson and Peterson, a quality 2B option, a catcher, and three young starting pitcher options plus taking Pujols bloated contract. I could live with this deal and we’d still have the ability to make other trades if we chose to with all of the young talent still available.

        1. I know, just pickin’ nits and trying to add my two cents to your effort to stimulate some thought and conversation. Wish trades were this easy!

    2. Oh brother – the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are not going to trade Mike Trout under any circumstances – would you under the hypothetical circumstances posed by mountainmover?

  8. I like it Scott, keep up the good work. “Don’t let the bastards get you down”

    Wow, I took a look at the ThinkBlue site, that place is painfully boring and lacks any character, at all. Really needs an assist, like an assisted suicide would be appropriate.

    I have enjoyed your takes and your sanity as a blogger.

    We all agree, Pitching, Defense and Offense are the components of any baseball team, I’m afraid the Dodgers really have big question marks in two of the three, Pitching and Offense. Of the two, Offense seems to have the greatest chance of coming around. Although I mention some big “ifs” they could actually happen. If Puig can regain his rookie form, if Gonzo can retain his current form, if Seager can stay ahead of the league as they learn his game, if Turner can continue what he has become over the last two seasons, if Joc can actually become a major leaguer, if the Dodgers can find a healthy and consistent LF, if they can get Kike into the lineup 3 out of 4 gamese then we will have plenty of offense. Yeah that is a lot of ifs.

  9. TRADE II. Trout.
    Assumption 1, Angels collapse.
    Assumption 2, assumed, Pedersen does well in first half.

    I would keep Pederson and offer Puig instead.

  10. Who wouldn’t like that lineup? Did anyone run the $$ on that?

    Trades like that do happen every few decades. How about this scenario – the Dodgers are 12 games back at the deadline, trailing the Dbacks and the gnats, who both will likely make BOLD moves to improve, and they trade Kershaw and AGon to the Yankees for their AA team, or a package led by 5 guys I’m too lazy to research at the moment. It fits into the 2018 plan beautifully while reducing payroll to the Timmons level that has been talked about since Freidman showed up and we are still tens of millions from.

      1. Well truth, if we’re only 10 games back, we’re still in it and the move will be to bring in that #3 we know will make the difference for the final push and I can’t finish this without busting out laughing……

  11. Oh what a beautiful spring day it is with forecast in the 80s for at least the next ten days. With weather like this who can’t feel the breeze from the bats at spring training, if not just in our souls? Existentially a new baseball season has begun. Or maybe it is just global warming. Can we have just one more week of El Nino please?

    1. Life is rough Bob, but I tell my wife daily “El Nino my arse”!!! I want more rain in SoCal becuz we need it… The eastern Sierras has got some quality snow pack, which will be great for my fishing excursions, but we need more rain here locally…
      Everyone have a great Super Bowl Day and the return to the gym and better food choices tomorrow… Not that I really care, but I think Newton is on a mission and it could get ugly/lopsided… Thank God for good commercials…

      1. I got no love for either team, but I don’t see Carolina losing this one. Both defenses too good to have a high scoring game. 27-17 Panthers. I’m having veggie pizza and St. Pauli Girl NA’s, so if you’re in the neighborhood…….. t.o. Dave knows where I live……

        Been cool here, but the warmer weather arrives today. Hope my apricot trees don’t bud. Too early for that.

  12. Here’s my trade. We swap the entire Chavez Ravine team for Oklahoma City. Hey!!! We have the number one farm system don’t we? So frikin prove it! And we pick up 50% of the state of Oklahoma’s budget and swap it and 3 tractors and a bushel of corn for Larry Bird and 5 share of USA water.. Now that ain’t no dope fiend move!!!!

  13. Barnes in 3A is fine. The way this organization uses the farm system, it is like a 40 man playing roster, with guys back and forth. I don’t like that, but maybe it is the way of the future. That is an unintended result of a strong farm system. To me, it just confuses things and may give some players insecurity they don’t want. I think some are not giving proper attention to Kyle Farmer, a shortstop in college, and now playing 3B and catcher. He can be good, maybe better than Barnes this year. I assume he will be at 3A too. Maybe they stash him at 2A again or maybe at 3A as the 3B. Keep an eye on him. I like guys with major college success. He attended U of Georgia, I think.
    The site is working ok for me. The headline graphics are hard even to scroll through. Is Scott taking over the LADodgertalk name? I like it and would like to see it continue. I do miss Mark’s knack for stirring the pot. Now that he is gone, I can see how good he was at it. It would be nice if he were to contribute like us commoners. We need a couple more shit disturbers. Anyone else out there?

    1. Hi Bobbie,

      I know you and a couple of the other guys have commented about the logo on the front page. I know it’s pixelated. The original graphic is not pixelated at all. For some reason when I uploaded and cropped it into wordpress it pixelated the image. I don’t know why it came out like that and I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t think it’s that bad. Unfortunately I don’t have the money right now to pay a graphic designer to create a professional logo. That would cost a few hundred bucks at least.

      But I kind of like it though. It’s original and it has the site name in it. It’s branding. I will be getting a new logo designed sometime soon, but I’m trying to find someone that would do it for a few bucks and that’s hard to do. Someone over here pointed out fiverr but a 5 dollar logo won’t look much better than what I have up here. I have to save up a couple hundred bucks and find a professional designer.

      In regards to the other question, no this is not the Ladodgertalk name. It’s different. Similar sounding but different. Mark and I had discussed me taking over Ladodgertalk before he retired. but he decided to close down the site instead and he gave me this domain. I figured it would be better for me to start my own site then try and catch onto another site. As for the Ladodgertalk name continuing that’s up to Mark. If he wants to bring it back that’s up to him. As far as I know he’s retired and wants to stay retired from writing. Of course he would always be welcome to write over here if he wanted to dust off the keyboard every once in a while. Right now it’s just Adrian and I over here.

      I really appreciate all of you guys and all opinions, thoughts and comments are welcome here. I’ve got a lot of cool ideas for the upcoming season. I’ll be doing game recaps, open game threads and a few interviews and other stuff. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

  14. I never cease to be amazed…

    I understand that some of you can’t fathom what I said about a blockbuster trade and I did say that something like that is not likely to happen. However, like Badger said, trades like that happen every few decades. The stars have to align properly. One team has to have a need that another can satisfy. It’s painful – you have to give up things you want. But it happens. Hershal Walker, Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlin, Lou Alcindor, et al.

    You can find a list of big baseball trades here:

    Let me break it down for you:

    I am not saying that trade will happen.

    I am not advocating that trade and I am not even saying that I would make that trade.

    What I am saying is that when a team is as deep as the Dodgers are and have the money that they do, they can do things no other team can.

    They didn’t have this depth last year – they do now.

    Will it happen? I doubt it!

    Could something like that really happen? Sure it could.

    Just don’t apply your own fiction to my facts. Your failure to understand is your problem.

    1. FAZ should do Christian McCaffrey a favor and save his noggin from concussions by drafting him and making him a baseball player. Lets go with an outfield of Pederson, McCaffrey, and Trout. Good law firm name as well.

      Trout and Pujols for AGon, Kendrick, Verdugo, Puig, and one of Holmes, Alveraz, Montas, De Leon preferrably Montas.

      Offered in same spirit as Mark’s revolution.

      1. Why not just trade teams with the Angels. No doubt with our front office those guys could make the playoffs every year. Nudge, nudge.

  15. Hi Scott: You mentioned doing some cool things in the future. I have a suggestion if you don’t mind. Why not start a conversation with: What’s wrong with some of the baseball rules today.
    For instance: When a hitter hits a flyball to score a runner from 3rd, he’s credited with an RBI but not a time at bat. If that had been a groundball and the runner scored, he would get the RBI but also be charged with a time at bat.
    What’s the difference the batter still made an out but drove in the run both ways. Im not talking about a DP just a single out.

  16. Whoever that is singing at halftime sure seems popular. Tells the story how far I’m removed from the current world. And to my best knowledge it was the 1st time I heard Lady Ga-ga just earlier. Planet Earth to Quasimodo,,,,,,is anybody there?………..only in part!

      1. I learned in a physiology class that males peak at age 18. For me that was ’66. Good year for me. High school starting quarterback, shortstop and captain of the baseball team, Honor Man in boot camp. It went downhill fast after that.

    1. My wife tells me Lady Gaga is getting very positive comments all over the Internet. I agree. She was really good.

      1. Agreed. She was pretty good, actually. I was thinking to myself as I was watching that and the scenes of everyone mouthing the words with hands on hearts that this a pretty darn good country (or some might argue the opposite) when we come together.

        1. I thought she was great at first. Elegant, and for her subdued. Then she went Gaga at the end. Those that make that song about them lose me.

          1. I just came upstairs and my wife was re-watching the half-time show and Lady Gaga. I watched the end of Gaga’s version of the Star Spangled Banner and I thought she put all her heart into the song and not from a theatrical performance way. I thought she tried to feel the meaning of each and every word.

            I didn’t like that she said thank you afterwards when I watched live last night but in watching a second time today I now think that she was not thanking the crowd for giving her an applause but instead saying thank you America for being America and all that it has given her and all of us.

  17. I did see Santana and The Grateful Dead New Years Eve 1969 in SF. I also got one of those infamous Xmass cards from the White Brotherhood 1969.

  18. Well I got that one wrong. Cam Newton looked dazed and confused. Even when he had time he missed receivers.

    Ok, it’s baseball season.

      1. Well, we’re low grade media, which is clearly the “unwashed” to Cam. He wouldn’t give us the time of day because it would mean he would have to expose his Audemars Piguet. And who wants him around anyway. He’s a sore loser. They aren’t allowed in here…….. am I right?

      1. I think I read it was worst combined QB play of any game ever played in history of playing games. 197 yards of total offense by the winner? Yeesh. That was a stinker.

        Ok, baseball season.

        Question for Kike:

        “Obviously the signing of both Utley and Kendrick means virtually no at bats for you at second base, and with a crowded outfield already out there, no at bats there either. So, wouldn’t rather play every day somewhere else? Like maybe Oklahoma? Oklahoma has a lot to offer a young single guy.”

        He’s actually played in OKC before. With the Red Hawks. So he is familiar with the lovely, progressive state of Oklahoma.

        I have a feeling he may want the hell out of here.

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