Rookie outfielder Brandon Barnes is the latest hot item on the Houston Astros menu, impressing fans and scrutinizing analysts alike. The powerful Barnes recently celebrated his 27th birthday, and has long been waiting in the wings.
Barnes had the game winning ground-rule double on Memorial Day against the Colorado Rockies, and walk-off hits in the bottom of the 12th inning are just the type of moment to have people chatting about you favorably the next day. Most of the gossip surrounding the Astros has been less than flattering, and they seem to be keeping their heads just above water with stories like these. The Californian has put together a solid string of batting performances as a rookie, and obviously has a taste for the big moment.
His predecessor in the limelight is J.D. Martinez, who is still playing and hitting extremely well, and his confidence is likely not shaken by the fame which hopes to survive around Barnes for more than just 15 minutes.
This conversation has shrouded the Houston club all season. It is not an inherently bad topic, but the answer as to when the Astros will figure out their ideal starting team still seems a long way off.
It is better, though, to have this reserve of promising young athletes all vying for spots, all wishing for consistent form. Speedy regular Justin Maxwell will be back into consideration soon, after having been missing due to injury for a couple of weeks. These are the moments where the spotlight is ready to shine on someone new, and it is up to those like Barnes to make their mark.