Dodgers: Three Bold Pitcher/Catcher Predictions Before Players Report
Austin Barnes bounces back and holds the starting role all season
The Dodgers “missed” out on J.T. Realmuto although given the cost and past performance of Realmuto the Dodgers will be fine with their duo of Austin Barnes and Russell Martin. Barnes figures to go into spring training as the starter but he will need to hold off Russell Martin who is still an elite defensive catcher and capable of hitting double-digit home runs.
Austin struggled mightily at the plate in 2018 and if it wasn’t for Yasmani Grandal’s terrible defense at the end of the season then Barnes would’ve ridden the bench throughout the Dodgers’ World Series run. Barnes hit just .205 with a .290 slugging percentage. In 2017, Barnes was much better and put up a .289/.408/.486 line to supplant Grandal during the 2017 World Series run.
Given the consistent bats that Barnes will get now and the regular playing time, it would not be surprising if he came close to his 2017 numbers and at the very least found the middle ground between 2017 and 2018. I think Austin will do just that and post a line around .260/.340/.405 while playing his usual stout defense. If Barnes can do that then he should hold onto the starting role for the entire 2010 season.