A Closer Look at Dodgers’ Austin Barnes
As we continue our series on some lesser known players in the Dodgers organization who have a lot of potential, the staff agreed the next player to talk about is Austin Barnes.
Austin Barnes was born on December 28, 1989 in Orange, California. He attended Riverside Poly High School in Riverside, California. Barnes also played a few years of college baseball for Arizona State University from 2009 to 2011. Then in 2011, he was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 9th round of the MLB draft.
What most people would not know about Austin, is before his sophomore year in 2010, he was actually an infielder. During that season they transitioned him into being a catcher. Barnes also comes from a family that already has some history with Major League Baseball. His uncle is Mike Gallego who was an infielder and former World Series champion in 1989.
When Barnes was with the Marlins, he worked his way through their minors. He started off the 2014 season with their A team, the Jupiter Hammerheads. While with the team he posted a BA of .317 and an OPS of .802 through 44 games. His impressive performance earned him a promotion to their AA team.
After his promotion, he played for their AA team, the Jacksonville Suns. With the Jacksonville Suns, Barnes had a BA of .296 and an OPS of .913 all in 78 games. During those 78 games, Barnes split his time between second base and catching.
Barnes was traded to the Dodgers on December 10, 2014 along with Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney and Enrique Hernandez. In exchange, the Marlins got Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas and cash. Immediately after the trade, Austin was added to the AAA team in Oklahoma City.
On May 23, 2015 Barnes got his big chance. Yasmani Grandal was placed on the seven day disabled list when he suffered a concussion and Barnes got the call that he was heading up to the big league club. He made his MLB debut the next day on May 24. He had one hit in his three at-bats during the game. His first career hit was a single to centerfield off of Dale Thayer. After a short stint with the Dodgers, Barnes was sent back to AAA.
With the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Austin played in 81 games and had a BA of .315 and an OPS of .869. Austin’s career numbers prove that he is incredible at getting on base. His offensive numbers are impressive, but so are his defensive abilities. Barnes is a fantastic pitch framer, as spelled out here by True Blue LA’s David Hood.
Many Dodgers fans might know about Austin Barnes because of the short time he was with the big league club, but he still has a lot of potential to be a major league catcher. It will be interesting to see how he preforms at spring training. More than likely Barnes will start the season again at AAA in Oklahoma, but he also has the ability to make the big league team and split time between catching and second base.