Real talk – a heart to heart conversation. Typically no holds barred. A discussion that doesn’t care if it offends anybody. Contains brutally honest opinions.
Dialed In – coined by Connor Hoehn & Sean Doolittle. In the zone. Making things happen by any means necessary to get results. As Minor League hitting coordinator Todd Steverson would say, "Making it do what it do."
Now that you’re all familiar with these terms it’s time to get down to business. I haven’t been referred to as a prospect in years. That’s fine. I don’t play so talent evaluators can put me in some category that even they can’t truly define. I know that the knock on me is that I don’t hit for enough power even though I’m a big guy. I’ve drawn comparisons to Ryan Sweeney. I don’t know how that’s a bad thing though. The guy has started plenty of games in the Major Leagues and is still relatively young.
It came to a head for me after last season. I’m sick and tired of being referred to simply for my outfield arm. Nobody wants to be a one dimensional player, especially a corner outfielder. The work I put in this past offseason is paying off. This is no fluke [ED. NOTE: as of May 17, Barfield had a slash line of .328/.368/.511 in 131 at-bats]. I’m not on a hot streak. I’m hitting like I’ve always been capable of.
I’m sure the knock is still about my so-called lack of power or how my on base percentage isn’t high enough to people’s liking due to my lack of walks. Well you know what? I see pitches that I like to hit and I put them in play, and quite often that’s early in the count. Deal with it. The best pitches I’ve gotten to hit have been the first couple pitches of the at-bat. There’s absolutely no reason for me to take them if I’m in a good hitting position to attack it.
My swing may not be the prettiest and some would call it violent, but this isn’t a beauty pageant. At the end of the day it’s all about consistent results.
There’s a reason some guys take a few years in the Minor Leagues before they start to figure it out. There’s no such thing as a textbook swing. What works for one player may not work for another. It’s all about figuring out what consistently works for you. It’s a long process but now my coaching staff and I have really gotten my swing down. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s working and will only continue to improve. As much as mechanics are important having a good hitting approach is even more important. I can’t go up there with the same approach as Conner Crumbliss and work counts to try to get on base. He’s a completely different hitter than I am and his approach works for him.
In the past I was more inclined to go up there and take pitches to work the count but I found myself taking cookies (very hittable strikes) and then battling with two strikes. The numbers are there: pitchers are in control with two strikes. They have way more options to get you out when they are ahead in the count. That’s why being more aggressive has paid dividends for me thus far. If I hit a first pitch breaking ball hard then the pitcher is definitely going to be thinking “What the heck just happened?” That’s the plan. Taking control of my at-bats and not letting the pitcher dictate the outcome.
Over the past few weeks I’ve observed a few things I’d like to list for you.
1) Josh Reddick is for real. He can do it all. I don’t think I’ll be platooning with him in RF anytime in the foreseeable future with the way he has taken his game to another mesosphere. He’s going to be an All-Star.
2) Sean Doolittle is lights-out on the mound. So much in fact that the lights at Citibank Ballpark here in Midland went out in the middle of his outing and caused a 20-minute delay.
3) [Rangers top prospect] Jurickson Profar really makes me scratch my head. He definitely can swing it because he has a hitting streak approaching 30 games yet he isn’t even hitting .300. That is no easy task. It’s cool playing against him when I used to watch him back in the Little League World Series with Curacao. He’s a for-sure Big Leaguer.
4) The business of baseball is brutal. My brother [Josh Barfield] recently got released by Baltimore after only eight at-bats for Triple-A Norfolk. What a joke. Why even sign him?
5) I’m sick and tired of turning on the TV and watching highlights and seeing all these guys I played against in the Minors who are now in The Show.
Comments or questions for Jeremy? Hit him up on Twitter (@Baseclogger)