Wonders of the Deep (Leagues): A Closer Look at Brandon Barnes

USA TODAY Sports

A reader requested a look at Astros' outfielder Brandon Barnes, who has gotten off to a sizzling start in limited playing time for the Astros. Is he worth owning in your AL-only league, and what could he provide?

We are always looking to answer questions or for requests of specific players to profile. Feel free to post those requests and questions here in the comments or in the comments of any other post really, and we will look into it.

We received a request for a profile of Astros' outfielder Brandon Barnes, who has been tearing the cover off the ball in his 17 games so far this year to the tune of a .405/.488/.568 slash line. Barnes definitely does not fit the mold of a standard prospect, but there is definitely value there. What can we expect from Barnes going forward, and could he have just figured it out at the age of 27?

The Basics

Bats

Throws

Height

Weight

On 40-Man Roster

Age

Right

Right

6'2"

205 lbs.

Yes (3 options remain)

27

His History

Barnes was drafted out of high school by the Astros in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, signing for a bonus of $130,000. As near as I can tell from my research, Barnes was not ranked in even the top 30 for the Astros by Baseball America his draft year, and actually was never ranked by any of the Major publications as a top prospect. When you look back on the performance in the minors, it appears pretty reasonable that he wasn't ranked. He struggled through his first four seasons in the minors, reaching full-season ball in 2008, and playing in more than 87 games in a season for the first time in 2009.

He showed solid power production in 2010 and 2011, hitting 28 and 15 home runs respectively, although most of the 2010 total came at known offense paradise Lancaster in the California League. He posted more interesting numbers in 2011: a .256/.327/.449 slash line, 21 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and 12 stolen bases between AA, AAA and a stint in the Australian League during the winter.

And apparently 2012 brought on the performance. He started the season back in AA, hitting .317/.377/.567 with 7 home runs, 31 RBI, and 7 stolen bases in 46 games before being promoted to AAA. He spent 62 games there, hitting .323/.383/.477 before having his contract purchased and promoted to the Majors. He finished up the 2012 season with a .204/.250/.265 slash line in the Majors across 43 games, and was rated very highly for his defense (0.6 bWAR just on defense in the Majors last year.)

What Can He Do For Fantasy Owners?

Barnes is currently in a platoon in right field with Fernando Martinez, and he has been seeing time at the other positions late in games because of his defensive prowess. He is hitting well right now, and if he is still available in AL-only leagues is worth a pickup to be sure. If he were to get a full season's worth of playing time, I could see an outfielder with double digit home runs (10-12 seem reasonable), right around 12-15 stolen bases, and posting a batting average in the .260-.270 range. Adjusted for the platoon, you're probably looking at him getting into somewhere between 30 and 40% of games, and those totals as a result. There are concerns about his ability to avoid strikeouts and also to draw walks, but so far the performance has been good this year.

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
The Crawfish Boxes

For more on Barnes and the Astros, check out SBNation's The Crawfish Boxes.
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