Friday, December 12, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Austin Barnes!

Following on the heels of my little report on Kike Hernandez this morning, here is a look at another prospect we received in the Dee Gordon Trade - Austin Barnes.  You can follow him on twitter here: @austinbarnes23.

Per a Dodgers Press Release:
Barnes, 24, was a Single-A Florida State League All-Star in 2014, combining to hit .304 with a .398 on-base percentage, 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 122 games with Single-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. In addition to appearing in 73 games behind the plate, Barnes played in 30 games at second base and 15 at third base.

Barnes has been selected to his league's All-Star Game in three consecutive years (2012 South Atlantic League mid- and post-season, 2013-14 Florida State League mid-season) and has a .298 batting average with a .390 on-base percentage, 31 home runs and 186 RBI in 419 professional games in four minor league seasons. The Riverside, CA, native was originally selected by the Marlins in the ninth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University. currently ranks him as our 18th best prospect in the system and our 2nd best overall catcher. 
Initially a second baseman entering pro ball, Miami moved Barnes behind the plate in 2013, and he showed some solid tools there. He's also a capable defender in the infield. A solid-average hitter, Barnes uses the whole field, really understands situational hitting and is an above-average baserunner. His instincts and his makeup allow him to play above his tools.

Barnes is still improving defensively, but he'll likely end up as the kind of versatile player big league managers like to have on their roster.
So, he may still have quite a ways to go before he can get behind the dish for a Major League game, but has the tools to succeed.  Fortunately, he appears to already hit well.  Possibly with the tutelage from a Dodger coaching staff (Steve Yeager) we might see his catching skills improve and see him in Los Angeles before too long.

BTW, Barnes has been a fixture in FanGraphs 'The Fringe Five: Baseball’s Most Compelling Fringe Prospects' in 2014.  Here is what Carson Cistulli wrote in late-August:
The 24-year-old Barnes appeared within three of the four most recent editions of this weekly column almost entirely on the strength of his excellent plate-discipline profile and positional flexibility. He demonstrated both those skills once again this past week, recording a 7:3 walk-to-strikeout ratio while also making defensive appearances at both second base and catcher for Double-A Jacksonville. What else he did this week was hit four home runs
In celebration of Barnes's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from MiLB (Bryan Gayoso) and the 1974 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Austin Barnes, via Baseball-Reference:

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The 2000 Dodger Fan Appreciation Baseball Card Sheet

Here is the next Dodgers' Fan Appreciation sheet to gaze at.  As you know, over the past several days I've been highlighting these little treasures on this blog.  Go here to check out all of my past post on this give-away.

This sheet features perforated cards of Shawn Green, Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros.  Best yet, the reverse of the cards, when held together, shows an entire team portrait.  Check that out below.

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2014 Bowman Draft Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

Here is a look at the Dodger cards found within Topps newest Baseball card set.  They arrived in stores on Wednesday.  It is called Bowman Draft Baseball and as the title suggest it focuses primarily on up-'n-coming ballplayers throughout the league.  Go here to take a look at a complete checklist.

In this post are the Dodger base cards.  As you will notice this set includes some of the first licensed Baseball cards of several of our picks from the 2014 Draft in Dodger uniforms.  Check them all out below.  I'll have pics of the autograph and relic cards next week.

Base Set
#DP18 Grant Holmes                           #DP59 Alex Verdugo

#DP66 Jeff Brigham                           #DP98 John Richy

#DP130 Jared Walker

Top Prospects Base Set

#TP-14 Julio Urias                          #TP-41 Corey Seager

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Welcome to the Blue, Kike Hernandez!

One of the prospects the Dodgers picked up from the Miami Marlins in the trade for Dee Gordon is 23-years old super-utility ballplayer Enrique "Kike" Hernandez.  He was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 Draft by Houston out of Puerto Rico, and was subsequently traded to the Marlins this past July.

Per a Dodgers Press Release:
Hernandez, 23, combined to hit .319 with 25 doubles, 11 homers and 42 RBI in 98 minor league games in 2014 with Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Oklahoma City and Triple-A New Orleans. He made his Major League debut on July 1 with the Astros and was traded to Miami on July 31, combining to appear in 42 big league games with Houston and Miami and batting .248 with three homers and 14 RBI. In the minors, he appeared in the field at every position besides pitcher or catcher, with one game at first base, 47 games at second base, 16 games at third base, 21 games at shortstop, two games in left field, one game in center field and 11 games in right field.

In six minor league seasons, the native of Puerto Rico has a .273 batting average with 36 homers and 217 RBI in 512 games after he was selected by the Astros in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Kike appears to be extremely versatile and may prove to be very handy to the Dodgers.  There were reports that he was in line for a second base starting job when he was with both the Astros and Marlins last year, so some believe he is ready for the next level.  Unfortunately, we are unlikely to find that out this next season.  With Kendricks situated at second and with plenty of backups at the ready, he'll have to wait his turn.  For a closer peek at the man here's a fun interview with Kike from late-June (when he was still a member of the Astros), via Jimmy Price at House of Houston, "Astros Future Interview: Enrique "Kike" Hernandez."
AF: From the games to the photos I have seen, you always seem to be smiling. Do you consider yourself the team clown that keeps everyone laughing around the clubhouse?

EH: “Umm, I don’t want to say clown buttttttt, yes! Haha I definitely love to be that guy that’s always trying to make everyone feel loose and happy. In the end, we’re doing what we love to do and we get to call it a job. Not too many people are fortunate enough to have that.”
In celebration of Hernandez's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Bob Levey/Getty Images North America) and the 1968 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Kike Hernandez, via Baseball-Reference:

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Blog Kiosk: 12/12/2014 - Dodger Links - Rule 5 Pick Ups and Miguel Rojas' Goodbye

How can I sign up for this?

Yesterday afternoon the Dodgers hosted 400 kids for their annual Children’s Holiday Party, and as you can see they turned the sloping hills at Dodger Stadium into a sleding wonderland.  Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Go here to check out more photos from the event.
“It is a privilege for the Dodgers to welcome the youngsters from our neighborhood annually to enjoy a day of lunch, holiday fun and gifts,” said Dodger Executive Vice President Bob Wolfe. “Each season we do our best to provide great entertainment on the field for our fans and during the holiday season it gives us great pleasure to be able to put smiles on the faces of these deserving youngsters.”
Below are some links to check out:
He’s always been an interesting pitcher, but 2014 saw him reach a new level of intrigue. The Dodgers, it must always be understood, can afford to take some of these risks, on account of the money that funds them, yet this is a deal that would look pretty good on a number of payrolls. If you believe even a little bit in the power of xFIP, there’s more to McCarthy than meets the eye.
  • Via Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, "The Matt Kemp Trade Feels Like the Vernon Wells Trade."  An interesting thought.  If Grandal becomes a Mike Napoli and Kemp turns in to Vernon Wells, I'd be super-surprised.
  • Via Ken Rosenthal at SOX Sports, "Dodgers new president goes buck wild at Winter Meetings."
The overall plan, though, is compelling.

Streamline the payroll. Create paths for youngsters such as Pederson and shortstop Corey Seager. Make the roster more flexible, spend when appropriate, combine financial might with an improving farm system to gain access to virtually any player available in free agency or trade.
Even with all that wheeling and dealing, Friedman and Zaidi may not be done. They could still trade Crawford or Ethier to open up a spot for top prospect Joc Pederson. Regardless of what the rest of the offseason holds, it's clear the new front office has wasted little time putting its stamp on the Dodgers.

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