When the Pirates signed Rod Barajas, Neal Huntington pointed out his game calling, receiving, blocking, and veteran leadership with the pitching staff, along with his power on offense. He’s had a strange early part of the season, but so far Barajas is living up to those expectations.
After going 1-for-4 with a homer on Sunday, Barajas is hitting for a .220/.265/.407 line with four homers in 98 plate appearances. In his career he has a .237/.284/.413 line, including a .230/.287/.430 line with 16 homers in 337 plate appearances last year with the Dodgers.
Barajas wasn’t added to be a big contributor on offense, and so far he has played up to his career levels. But it’s been an interesting season so far to get him to that level.
In April, Barajas hit for a .143/.222/.184 line in 49 at-bats. He wasn’t showing any of the power that was expected out of him. I wrote that I didn’t see him turning things around, with the lack of power being a red flag. Then that power came. Barajas is hitting for a .302/.318/.651 line in 43 at-bats during the month of May.
He’s not as good as his May numbers, but he’s not as bad as his April numbers. The real story lies in the middle, which lines up with his career numbers.
On defense he’s had a rough start, specifically in the caught stealing department. That has been an issue for Barajas in the last few years, with a 15% rate in 2010 and a 25% rate in 2011. He’s received great reviews from the pitching staff. There are no good measures to really judge that, other than basing the analysis on the grades that pitchers give out, which have been positive.
Barajas wasn’t brought in to be a game changer. He wasn’t a top catcher in all of baseball. He was just one of the only two starting options on the free agent market. So far he is playing up to expectations. Power at the plate, working well with the pitchers, and decent defensive skills behind the plate to the point where he’s not a Gold Glover, but he’s definitely not Ryan Doumit.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates lost 4-3 to the Tigers.
**Kristy Robinson’s Pirates notebook asks why teams are pitching to Andrew McCutchen?
**To start the day, the Pirates called up Jeff Locke.
**Prospect Watch: Tim Alderson dominates for seven shutout innings.
**Prospect Notebook: A detailed look at Alderson, who is reviving his prospect status.