FanPost

Thoughts on Josh Barfield?

Josh Barfield was a 4th-round pick in 2001.  He had good and encouraging seasons in 2001 (rookie) and 2002 (low-A), and was on all the prospect radars, although not as a "future star".

After his 2003 season, Barfield was all the rage.  He'd hit .337/.389/.530 as a 20-year-old in high-A ball, playing middle infield!  He was (and is) the son of a former home-run champion, and excellent defensive RF.

In 2004, Barfield played much of the season with an injury, and managed to hit 49 XBH as a 21-year-old in AA.  Despite his .248 average (and .313/.417 OBP/SLG), BA still ranked him atop a weak Padres minor league system that year.  Seemingly, the buzz left him after this season, much as it left fellow 2b prospect Jayson Nix.

In 2005, Barfield, then 22, hit .310/.370/.450 in AAA.  He finished up by hitting .343-11-50 over the last 3 months.  Among other things, it would maintain his almost "perfect attendance" record in pro ball, with 500+ AB every full season.  This performance was enough to drop him to Padres 3rd on both John's list, and on BA's.  John rated him a "B".

In 2006, Barfield as a rookie hit .280/.318/.423.  And, while that doesn't sound like much, Petco is a brutal place for a righty hitter with power.  His road stats were .319/.355/.484.

So, what's the future hold for this guy?  I see a player who may never learn to take walks, but has hit .300+ at almost every level (including the non-Petco portion of MLB), and seems to hit the ball hard (reasonable XBH totals).  He stays in the lineup, which is a useful skill.  Defensive stats are unreliable, but he's 9th (in all MLB) on this year's Fielding Bible +/- List (from the BJHB).  And his ZR is league-average.  

With all the hoopla about the Florida rookies, Fielder, Hamels, etc, he gets almost no attention when good up-and-coming players are mentioned.  Does he deserve more?  Will he just be "servicable"?  Or is he truly a star whose light will be dimmed as long as he plays in Petco (ala Khalil Greene and his career .850 road OPS)?

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