Brandon Barnes is a reserve outfielder for the Houston Astros. Last season he was called up to Houston to finish the season with the Astros. He has never had the chance to make an impact on an Opening Day roster. This year, Barnes will get his first chance, and he won’t disappoint either.
Barnes is easily the best defensive option that the Astros have in the outfield. No, he doesn’t have a laser rocket arm like Rick Ankiel, but he makes some spectacular plays on the diamond. That could be the main reason Barnes is on the Opening Night roster, but he has earned it. Last season, he didn’t hit the ball very well, but this spring has been different.
In the offseason, Barnes played Winter League baseball in Venezuela and really worked on all of his skills. In 28 games, he hit .290 with four home runs, three doubles, three triples, and twenty RBI. Yes, it is just Venezuelan Winter League, but you could see his improvement during Spring Training as well. His power numbers completely skyrocketed. This Spring Training, Barnes only had twelve hits in 24 games, but five of those twelve hits were home runs.
Barnes has really earned his spot on the roster. If you ask me, the Astros would be better with Barnes every day rather than Justin Maxwell. Don’t get me wrong, I like Maxwell, but I just think Barnes gives the Astros a better chance to win. He won’t hit home runs like Maxwell, but he will play much better defense and won’t strikeout nearly as much. Now obviously that won’t happen because Maxwell will be the Astros starting center fielder. However, there is a chance that Barnes could be the Astros right fielder. I don’t think that will happen either. I think he should definitely be a starter, but there is a better chance of the Astros starting Ankiel in right than Barnes. I could even see the team starting Fernando Martinez out in right instead of Barnes. A real possibility, however, is having Barnes and Ankiel, or Martinez, platoon in right.
Barnes has a tough job in front him. He will need to work his way up to the starter’s job, and by doing so, he will need to win over the manger.
Like I said earlier, Barnes has never had a chance to win an Opening Day roster spot. In fact, he has almost quit baseball during his career, not once, but twice. When Barnes finally won the job this year, he said he was going to try not to cry. Barnes is the best defensive outfielder the Astros have, and he is a really great guy. I wish him the best of luck this season.