USA TODAY Sports
Non-roster utility man Brian Barden has played all over the field this spring and topped that with 11 hits in his first 20 at-bats of spring.
Every year when planning out the Dodgers player profiles, the initial plan is to complete 50 of these. After the 40-man roster, there is some leeway as to which non-roster players will be added. In some cases, there might be a surprising player in camp, and in some cases a former top prospect who was originally on the list got reassigned to minor league camp far earlier than expected to open up another spot. In Brian Barden's case, it's both!
Barden played in parts of four major league seasons with three teams, the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Marlins. In his last big league stint with Florida, in 2010, he hit .179/.281/.179, with five hits in 28 at-bats.
In 2011 Barden went to Japan to play for the Hiroshima Carp, but in 2012 he was sidelined for most of the season by a right elbow injury. He only played 29 games, and for Hiroshima's minor league team, and hit just .218/.299/.287 with one home run.
So I can't say Barden was in the plans for a profile, but his hot hitting coupled with the early cut of Dallas McPherson opened up a spot. Barden is hitting a robust .550 in the early going, with 11 hits in 20 at-bats, but he has impressed manager Don Mattingly with his versatility.
"He's a good National League guy, from the standpoint of being able to play a lot of places and hold his own," Mattingly said. "He looks like he has a swing that is pretty low maintenance that would play off the bench. That's what you want in your guys off the bench, that they could play without needing to play every day."
So far this spring, Barden has played 13 innings at first base, eight innings at second base, 13 innings at third base, four innings in left field, and 12 innings in right field.
Barden signed a minor league deal on Jan. 3.
Barden won a bronze medal with the United States baseball team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and hit .265 with a home run and a team-high eight runs scored in eight games during Olympic play.
|2010 (AAA - Florida)
|2011 (AAA - Texas)
|2012 (minors - Japan)
|2013 Projections - Age 32 Season|
Barden is still a long shot to make the team, but he's still a nice story of the early spring. I think he ends up providing that versatility for Triple-A Albuquerque
What is your guess for Barden? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, final Cactus League batting average, and any other thing you wish to guess.