Dodgers: Austin Barnes should start every game in the postseason

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 09: Austin Barnes (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 09: Austin Barnes (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Austin Barnes enjoyed just his first ever full season in the MLB this year. Despite being relatively green, Barnes has proven to be an everyday starter for the Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers locked in their fifth consecutive National League West championship this season as well as eclipsing the century mark in wins for the first time since 1974. Although the team fell short of the all-time wins record, which became a possibility, LA still enters October as the most dangerous team in the league.

A huge reason for the Dodgers success this season has stemmed from their immense depth. From the pitching rubber to the outfield, Los Angeles boasts the deepest lineup in the MLB.

One of the many tools in the Dodgers deep toolbox is catcher/infielder Austin Barnes. Barnes, who entered 2017 with 41 games played, has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers this season. The silent assassin is still lurking under the radar, and the Dodgers should utilize that and start him each and every game of the NLDS.

For the most part, Barnes’ role on the Dodgers has primarily been as a platoon mate to Yasmani Grandal. Often time, Barnes gets the starts against left-handed opposition, and Grandal against right-handed opposition, with some exceptions sprinkled in. Of Barnes’ 75 games in the field this season, 21 of which came away from the catcher position.

The other position Barnes has experience in? Second base. For a team that is so dominant, filled with megastars, personalities and grinders, this could be the biggest factor in the Dodgers success this October.

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Los Angeles must establish a double platoon at both second base and catcher, with Barnes making the starts at both respective positions. Against southpaws, Barnes should stick to behind the plate; against righties, a move to second seems wise. If the Dodgers carry a third catcher in Kyle Farmer, this becomes all the more doable.

First and foremost, although backup Chase Utley is left-handed, Barnes still hits righties better than both Utley and starter Logan Forsythe. Barnes is hitting .330 against right-handed pitchers in 126 plate appearances. Forsythe is hitting .195 and Utley is hitting .239.

In fact, Barnes is a reverse platoon and hits better against right-handed pitching that he does southpaws, meriting his inclusion in the lineup. However, against southpaws, Barnes is still the far better option from Grandal. Grandal loses his power stroke on the right-side of the plate, taking away his best asset.

Barnes is hitting .257 against southpaws, however, he owns a .514 slugging percentage and a .928 OPS. Grandal, on the other hand, is hitting .235 against southpaws with a .353 slugging percentage and a .676 OPS.

Next: Who gets the nod in game two; Darvish or Wood?

I am the first person to hop on the Austin Barnes hype train and actually wrote an in-depth article about how Barnes has quietly become one of the best producers in the Dodgers lineup. In October, we should be seeing that production every single game.