If you had Austin Barnes, postseason hero as a prediction heading into the playoffs, you’re definitely a bold one. The long-time Dodgers catcher was an unexpected star for the club on their run to a World Series title for the first time in 32 years.
Long known for his glove and as the personal catcher for Clayton Kershaw, Barnsey batted .320 this October and got on base nearly 40% of the time. Along the way, he also became the catcher for Walker Buehler before riding out the World Series in the starting lineup.
Hitting made a difference no doubt for the 30-year-old. And that’s something he once again attributes to the incomparable Mookie Betts. This week, Barnes joined the guys at Spectrum SportsNet LA to share his appreciation for his teammate.
"Mookie was there to help me through some things and I can't thank that guy enough." Austin Barnes credits @mookiebetts with helping him find his swing again and talks about what he did with the #WorldSeries ball. pic.twitter.com/wM8erh5SQS
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 30, 2020
[Mookie] was just there in the cages unselfishly just watching me swing. He was just trying to get me back to — I used to be a pretty good hitter… I’ve had a tough couple seasons and kind of lost my way a little bit — Mook was there and he helped me through some things. I can’t thank that guy enough.
Joe Kelly initially broke the news that Mookie had started working with Austin on his batting. In August as Barnes cratered to a career-low .091 average, the veteran catcher went on a tear slashing .481/.517/.630 over an 8 game stretch. He raised his season average more than 200 points and went from a near-automatic out to a competitive at-bat.
Not much was expected out of the Riverside native this October, but he over-delivered for the Dodgers and has a World Series ring to show for it. Patience is a virtue they say.