AdministratorDecember 17, 2020 at 3:52 pm
Since 2017 we haven’t seen Austin Barnes do much offensively, but in 2020, he seemed to find his swing with some help from Mookie Betts. He slashed .244/.353/.314 and earned himself a couple of extra starts with his strong defense behind the plate.
In the middle of August, we saw Barnes start putting together some better at-bats at the plate. Through his first eight games of the season, Barnes was only hitting .091 (2-for-22). On August 11, he would have his first 2-hit game of the season and hit .297 for the rest of the regular season. Barnes credited Betts for being a big part of his offensive turnaround in August when he said Mookie approached him to work on some things at the plate.
As always, Barnes had another strong season behind the plate. He was crucial in helping Walker Buehler escape some big moments in October that shaped the postseason. Barnes finished in the 96th percentile when it came to his framing this season. He ended the season with a 0.3 dWAR in 29 games compared to Smith’s 0.1 dWAR in 37 games. Barnes only threw out 24% of runners who attempted to steal on him. As mentioned in Smith’s review, if you’re into stats like pitcher ERA, Barnes has been much better for the Dodgers with an ERA of 2.61 in 2020 while Smith had a 3.29 ERA. Barnes has the upper hand on Smith when it comes to the defensive stats.
Over eight starts Barnes had his best postseason yet hitting .320. He was reaching base at a .393 clip and slugging .440 with an OPS of .833. Barnes did the little things when they mattered and found a way to get on base. In Game 3 of the World Series, Barnes laid down a fantastic bunt, allowing Bellinger to score from third easily. And in his next at-bat of that same game, he hit his only home run of the 2020 postseason. We can’t forget that Buehler credited Barnes with helping him work out of the bases-loaded jam against the Braves in Game 6. If Barnes doesn’t call the right pitches there, that game could’ve gone in the Braves’ favor ending the Dodgers’ postseason run. He was a massive part of the Dodgers’ success in the playoffs.
In 2021, Barnes will be 31 and will be in his second year of arbitration. He will become a free agent after the 2022 season.
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