Dodgers: Austin Barnes Not Meeting Expectations at Halfway Point
Coming off the series against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers find themselves struggling on a few ends. With a few defensive flops and some tough losses, the players must step up at the plate, including Austin Barnes.
With the loss of Yasmani Grandal to the Brewers this past offseason, Barnes has had to take on the role of the Dodgers full-time catcher for the first time. Luckily, the Dodgers added Russell Martin to the roster which gave Barnes a little bit of breathing room. Through June of the 2019 season, Barnes has been behind the plate for around 75 percent of games.
In 2018, Barnes struggled, to say the least. He hit .205 and had an OPS of .619. Although Grandal held most of the catching responsibilities, Barnes had plenty of opportunities to contribute. As the 2019 season came around, many were hopeful that Barnes would produce more as the main man behind the plate. Unfortunately, he has been off to a rough start the first half of the season.
Defensively he has been doing a good job but is severly lacking offensive punch. In the month of June, he is hitting .162 and has had an OPS of .475 with 10 strikeouts. In the 2019 season, he is hitting .214 and has 38 strikeouts. He does have five home runs and 13 RBI, but with the bulk of games he has been playing, those numbers should be higher.
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Due to the demand for catching help, the Dodgers called up Will Smith from AAA. He was having an incredible season in Oklahoma, hitting .291 with 14 home runs, 6 of which came in the span of 7 games earlier this month.
After making his major league debut, Smith has appeared in a total of nine games for the Dodgers. He is hitting .269 and has three home runs, two of which were walk-offs.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers decided to option Smith back to Oklahoma in order to make more room on the roster, and help get him consistent at-bats in AAA. However, unless Barnes is able to make a miraculous turnaround, there is no doubt that Smith should be called back up.
Regardless of the outcome, it is clear the Dodgers have a great prospect in Smith both defensively and offensively. Along with that, we can only hope that Barnes is able to perform at catcher or even second base, or else this could be his last season in Los Angeles.