Frequent readers of our blog know that we have our eyes on Austin Barnes, currently serving as catcher with the Marlins A affiliate Jupiter. There was talk of moving him to 2B because the Marlins may want to utilize his offense more without getting the grind of playing catcher every day. Considering that Barnes is only 5’10” and does not have a big frame, that may be a shrewd idea in the long term. Yet with Derek Dietrich and Donovan Solano, there may be little immediate need for such a move at this point.
Stan Meek, vice president of scouting for the Marlins, mentioned what he liked in catching prospects at this year’s draft. When discussing fifth round pick Chad Wallach (son of former big leaguer Tim Wallach), he said, “He’s a big, durable catcher. I like guys who are big, strong, physical, durable guys behind the plate. … This guy’s a guy who can really handle a Major League season.”
So although Barnes continues to see most of his action at catcher, there should be a move in the works for him. That said, his offense continues to impress. He currently has a .313/.388/.427 slash line with 3 home runs. He also only has 32 Ks in 192 ABs with 22 BBs. This shows that Barnes has plate discipline and is deserving of a call up to see how he could fare against tougher, more experienced pitching.
Last season Barnes had a .318/.401/.481 slash line, which means his current production is right in stride. With catching prospect JT Realmuto (a converted HS SS) getting the lion share of innings at AA Jacksonville, it seems that Barnes’ path for the time being is blocked. Barnes is proving to be a solid prospect that is worth keeping an eye on moving forward as the Marlins continue to bolster their roster with young, home-grown talent.