Austin Barnes has strong support from both his manager and the front office going into the 2019 season. Both Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman were asked about Barnes during the recent Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
“Him behind the plate, blocking, receiving, relationship with the pitchers is next level, is elite,” Dave Roberts said. “I expect a comeback, ready to compete.”
“I trust Austin,” Roberts added. “He’s a winning player for me. We feel comfortable with Austin. Do we have to have someone to pair with him, absolutely.”
President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman did say that the team needed to add a catcher to their roster. He then added “but we also feel strongly in [Barnes]. we really believe in him as a player and feel like he will bounce back in 2019. And he’s already hard at work at getting back to where he was.”
What went right
Austin Barnes was still one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Baseball Prospectus ranks Barnes as the 12th best defensive catcher using their Fielding Runs Above Average. That metric uses framing, blocking and throwing factors to come up with a number to rank catchers.
What went wrong
His offensive line .205/.329/.290 doesn’t tell the whole story of his poor offensive year. He struck out 28.2% of the time vs. 16.4% in 2017. His extra-base rate went from 40% to 22%.
Barnes did not hit well against same-sided pitchers, hitting .151/.298/.186 against right-handed pitchers.
Age: Barnes will be 29 on December 28th.
Stats: In 100 games, Barnes hit .205/.329/.290 with four home runs. Barnes struck out 67 times and had 31 walks in 2018.
Game of the year
On September 4th against the New York Mets, Barnes went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (moment captured in photo above). The Dodgers would win 11-4.
Austin Barnes has 2.124 service time years. He also has one option remaining