Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Praises Austin Barnes’ Big Season

The first four months of the 2022 season were essentially more of the same for Dodgers backup catcher Austin Barnes. Barnes, who posted a .637 OPS from 2018 to 2021, was sitting at .593 after an 0-for-4 performance on July 30.

Since then, though, Barnes has caught fire at the plate. In 15 games over the last month-and-a-half, Barnes is hitting .365 with three double, four homers, and a 1.075 OPS. His eight home runs this season tie a career high set in 2017, and his 4.3% home run rate is easily the best of his career. His OPS+ is 105, only the second time in his career he’s been an above-average offensive player.

Barnes doesn’t get a ton of playing time as the backup for Will Smith,barnes the best-hitting catcher in baseball, but he has made the most of his opportunities lately. After his two-run homer sparked a five-run eighth-inning rally to win game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts was effusive in his praise of Barnes.

“I don’t know what’s his career high, but I do know he’s strong and when the ball is close to him, he can hit it out of the ballpark. For a while he had the longest home run by a Dodger this year.

“Austin is just doing a great job. He understands where he’s at, where he sits on the ballclub, he’s ready, he takes care of the pitching staff and he’s gotten a lot of big hits. It was really good to see him have a nice day offensively.”

Barnes has really embraced his role as a veteran leader who occasionally gets to play catcher, enough so that he signed a two-year extension earlier this season to keep filling that role. If he keeps hitting like he has been, he might even get to play in the postseason once in a while.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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