I want to open by notifying all of the Eric Young Jr. fans out there that I originally titled this, “Brandon Barnes refuses to be ignored” and it took me a few minutes to figure out why it looked so familiar.
Brandon Barnes is generally treated like the “other guy” from the trade with the Houston Astros this off-season. Jordan Lyles was the primary piece sent to Colorado in exchange for Dexter Fowler and as a starting pitcher it’s only natural that he is going to get more attention. It was also hard to notice Barnes because the other outfielders competing with him for a spot are more familiar.
What if Barnes makes the team? What if he plays a prominent role? I honestly had not even entertained the possibility until recently, mostly rolling my eyes when I saw his name mentioned by the beat writers as one of the candidates for the starting center field job. I also made fun of him as recently as four days ago in this article about trade possibilities for the Rockies (in the unlikely event that Barnes does read Rox Pile, I want to be clear that I mean no disrespect).
To me he was the forgotten man, but appropriately so.
How much longer can chumps like me continue to justify ignoring Barnes? Start with the defense and athleticism he has displayed so far this spring.
But we knew about those parts of Barnes’ game when the Rockies added him. It was his offense that was at issue. To answer those questions, Barnes has batted .359 this spring. Let’s reel off the qualifiers about that lofty average: it’s early, Spring Training favors the hitters, and this is a small sample size indeed. So yes, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves and we should note that a lack of offensive pop is still likely to cost Barnes a spot. But having acknowledged that list of reasons not to get excited about Barnes’ offense, we should also ask: at what point do we have to get serious and pay attention?
At what point do we have to give in and admit that Barnes refuses to be ignored?
See, I just couldn’t help it. Thinking of you EY.