Colorado Rockies 2015 Crystal Ball: Brandon Barnes


Apr 30, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As the season gets underway, is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Brandon Barnes.

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Brandon Barnes had a decent year as an extra outfielder for the Colorado Rockies in 2014, slashing .257/.293/.425, which were all career highs for him, while hitting eight home runs and 17 doubles in 313 plate appearances.

Now, Barnes finds himself stuck at AAA Albuquerque, sorting out his season as he waits for the call to come to the big leagues should someone prove injured or complete ineffective.

What The Numbers Say

FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.

Steamer and other projection systems believe Barnes will spend the majority of the season in AAA Albuquerque, which I really take issue with, considering Drew Stubbs’ total lack of production thus far this season. Nevertheless, projections believe Barnes to actually finish very similarly to what he did last year (in fewer plate appearances, of course), while regressing ever so slightly.

The other good news is that his walk rate is projected to rise, and his strikeout rate is projected to decrease – two things he really struggled with in 2014 with the Rockies.

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  • Best-Case Scenario

    A best-case scenario for Barnes involves returning to the majors soon, no doubt at least in part because of the total collapse of Drew Stubbs as the fourth outfielder. Stubbs has thus far proven himself to be completely incapable of even making consistent contact at the plate, and even though he wasn’t slated to get a ton of at-bats or hold down an everyday job anyways, the Rockies need far better production out of the fourth outfielder slot than what Stubbs has shown.

    Barnes can provide a slightly more consistent bat than Stubbs, you’d assume, while being able to play all three outfield positions well enough.

    Worst-Case Scenario

    If Barnes gets up to the big leagues in place of Stubbs, and proves himself incapable of making contact, well, that’d be a big problem. The Rockies can probably withstand one bad fourth outfielder (assuming no injuries), but a bad fourth and fifth outfielder would be… difficult to take on. Especially considering there aren’t many more options in AAA Albuquerque who can play all three outfield positions (Roger Bernadina, anyone?).

    Barnes’ other worst-case scenario involves playing so poorly at AAA Albuquerque that he never even puts himself in a position to be called up. Surely, this could happen, as he’s gotten off to a slow start this season, but considering Albuquerque’s extreme hitters environment and his track record in the minor leagues, I can’t imagine he’d get stuck down there simply because of his own doing.

    Crystal Ball

    Drew Stubbs is lost at the plate, and $5 million+ contract aside, he cannot hold his spot forever if he can’t make contact or get on base. Look for Brandon Barnes to come up sooner rather than later, and spend a considerable amount of time in Denver this summer.

    Give us your predictions!

    Comment below, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @RoxPileFS and let us know. You can also use the hashtag #RoxCrystalBall.