Since returning from a short stint on the IL after sustaining a groin injury in late May, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes has struggled to find any sort of success in the batter’s box.
He’s currently batting .204 with a .648 OPS and has been frustrating Dodgers fans with his lackluster performances on what seems to be a nightly basis.
To make matters worse, catcher Will Smith has been tearing it up in OKC and has left many to question why he has yet to receive the nod over Barnes.
Austin Barnes is 9 for his last 60 and he’s already hit his double for July, but he’s got a great rapport with the staff… #wewantwilll #dodgers pic.twitter.com/H9EesjATYg
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) July 13, 2019
Despite his ongoing struggles, though, Dave Roberts still has confidence that his catcher’s performance will take a turn for the better anytime now.
#Dodgers notes: Dave Roberts still has confidence in Austin Barnes even as Will Smith shines in OKC. And Joc Pederson on his post-HR Derby vacation.https://t.co/CeD5G0eZjw
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 14, 2019
Speaking to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Roberts highlighted that Barnes work ethic has led to better quality at-bats, even if the numbers don’t necessarily show that.
“Austin is really working hard,” Roberts said. “The results certainly haven’t been there since he came back from the IL. But I do believe he’s taking better swings. Where I could have said before going on the IL, he was trying way too hard and pressing, I think right now, yeah, he’s frustrated that he’s not getting hits. But I still think the at-bat quality, for me — it’s getting better.”
Additionally, Roberts complimented Barnes’ efforts defensively, stating that he’s been performing at a “high level” on that side of the ball.
While Dodgers fans would love for Dave Roberts to be right and for Barnes to finally break out of what has seemed to be a never ending slump, it’d be tough to find someone who doesn’t give their doubts.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before… Austin Barnes strikes out. pic.twitter.com/BYt0qS9BXn
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 13, 2019
We can only hope that Roberts will make the right decision for the catcher’s position come October.
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