Welcome To The Show, Part 6 – Austin Barnes and Clayton Kershaw
In this ongoing series, we take a look back at some of our favorite players and their call-up to the Show.
In December 2014, the Dodgers and the Marlins completed a large trade, sending Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and Miguel Rojas to Miami. The return for the Dodgers was Andrew Heaney, Enrique Hernández, Chris Hatcher, and catching prospect Austin Barnes. The Dodgers immediately flipped Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Kiké Hernández became a fan favorite, joining the Red Sox this year after five years in LA. Chris Hatcher failed to live up to his 2014 success and struggled in his time with the Dodgers. Austin Barnes at the time was the least discussed name on either side of the trade but became an important part of the catching platoon for the Dodgers.
The Miami Marlins drafted Banes in the ninth round of the 2011 draft out of Arizona State University. Barnes played infield successfully in college but made his way to the starting catcher role by his sophomore year. In his three years at ASU, Barnes played in 111 games. He made First Team in the All Pac-10 his Junior year. After the 2011 draft, Barnes worked his way through the minor league levels. Getting as high as double-A before his call-up on May 23, 2015. Yasmani Grandal was on the 7-day IL after suffering a concussion, making way for Barnes to make his Major League Debut on May 24, 2015. Barnes’s time with the big league club was short that year, but he continued work in AAA Oklahoma City and was called up more frequently, eventually staying in the big leagues.
It was Spring Training 2008 when Clayton Kershaw began to make his MLB call-up inevitable. The Dodgers drafted him in 2006 out of high school as the seventh overall pick. Less than two years later, he was getting attention at Camelback Ranch and knocking on the door of the big league club. With a 0.64 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched, Kershaw was turning heads.
Vin Scully, calling a spring training game, laughed in disbelief and exclaimed, “Holy Mackerel!” when seeing Kershaw’s curveball for the first time. Vin quickly coined it “Public Enemy Number One” – a name that has stuck throughout Kershaw’s career. At the end of the spring, Kershaw did not break camp with the Dodgers but instead went to AA Jacksonville. Despite the disappointment, just six weeks later, the time came for Kershaw’s arrival. An injury in the starting rotation left the Dodgers shorthanded.
Birth of a Legend
On May 24th, 2008, they announced the major league call-up of Clayton Kershaw. He debuted the following day against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. His first major league strikeout came against future teammate Skip Schumaker. After a walk to the next batter, he gave up his first run in the big leagues on an RBI double by future teammate Albert Pujols. He settled in after that and wound up limiting the Cardinals to two runs on five hits over six innings. A solid debut for a highly anticipated prospect.
Kershaw’s season was far from perfect in 2008. He struggled a bit and wound up back in the minors in July for a few weeks. He played the rest of the regular season with the Dodgers, finishing with a 4.26 ERA over 21 starts. In the NLDS, he did not pitch, but in the NLCS that year, he pitched two innings out of the bullpen and allowed one run. Much has happened since Kershaw, wearing number 54, took the mound on May 25th, 2008. Eight all-star games, three Cy Young awards, an MVP award, a no-hitter, and a world series ring, and Clayton Kershaw is a Los Angeles living legend.
For a look back at other call-ups and debuts, check out the rest of the Welcome To The Show entries here.
Photo Credit – Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images