To be fair to Brandon Barnes, you have to notice somebody before they can be considered “forgotten,” so maybe it isn’t accurate to say he is the forgotten man.
Wait, does that make it better or make it worse?
When I think of the Colorado Rockies and their decision to part ways with center fielder Dexter Fowler, I pretty much have that trade constructed in my mind as a swap for young pitcher Jordan Lyles. If nothing else, I only think of the pressure on Lyles to be the guy to make that deal worth it. Fair or not, I just don’t think of Barnes having much of an impact on the perception of the deal one way or the other.
When I think of the Rockies’ competition for the final spot in the outfield, I run down the chances for Corey Dickerson, Drew Stubbs, and Charlie Blackmon in my mind. It honestly does not even occur to me that Barnes will be in the equation.
Like the others, though, Barnes will at least get his shot in spring training, something he addressed recently (quotes from the Denver Post):
I believe I improved my hitting in the offseason…I feel like I’m a completely different player than I was last year. Last year, I tried to learn every day. Whatever they seem me doing — playing left, right or center, or coming off the bench — that’s what I will do. I just want to play baseball.”
Given the high offensive ceilings of Dickerson and Stubbs in particular, it is the area where Barnes will have to show vast improvement (.240/.289/.346). He is elite defensively, and perhaps that is where he can make things more intriguing. While I simply cannot imagine a scenario where he cracks the everyday lineup, can Barnes hit enough to beat out somebody, namely Blackmon or Stubbs, for the ’4th outfielder’ spot?
That doesn’t seem likely either, but with speed and defense on his side it wouldn’t take a lot of hitting for Barnes to shed his label as the forgotten man and make a messy outfield situation even more complicated in Spring Training.