2016 was the second year for Austin Barnes with the Dodgers, and he spent most of the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
What went right
Barnes made his first opening day roster, spending the first week and a half of the season with the first of his four regular season stints with the Dodgers.
Barnes hit .295/.380/.443 in 85 games in Oklahoma City, with a career-best 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
The 26-year-old again proved capable behind the plate as an expert pitch framer, ranking fifth in the minors and majors combined at 18.7 defensive runs saved per Baseball Prospectus.
Barnes also showed versatility with five games and two starts at second base, plus part of one game at third base. Barnes is one of only four Dodgers to start at both catcher and second base in two different seasons.
He even started one game in center field for Oklahoma City, his first time as a professional in the outfield.
Barnes made the Dodgers’ NLDS roster against the Nationals, and as a pinch runner scored the go-ahead run in the deciding Game 5 in Washington D.C.
What went wrong
Barnes only made seven starts in the majors all year so it wasn’t conducive to getting into any kind of a rhythm. He was 5-for-32 (.156) with a double at the plate
He was 0-for-9 as a pinch-hitter, including the playoffs.
Stats: 5-for-32 (.156/.270/.188), 2B, 5 BB in 37 PA
Salary: $512,500, pro-rated for his time in the majors, roughly $179,000.
Game of the year
Barnes reached base three times with a single and two walks on Sept. 18 at Arizona, scoring two runs, driving in one and catching all 12 innings.
Barnes has 124 days of service time, including 59 days before September rosters expand, meaning he exhausted his rookie status in 2016. Had Barnes still retained rookie status, he would have ranked sixth on David Hood’s top Dodgers prospect list heading into 2017.
With the trade of Carlos Ruiz to the Mariners in November, the backup catcher’s job belongs to Barnes, giving him a chance to stick on the active roster for an extended time next season.
“It’s his time,” manager Dave Roberts said of Barnes at the winter meetings.
Barnes has one option year remaining.