3/28 On Barney, the “mini Marlon Byrd”
I talked to Barney last year in Spring Training and didn’t know what kind of player he was. You watch him play and you saw he had the work ethic. One thing I thought he needed was a better routine. In the Minor Leagues, you do certain things certain ways and it works. But for some reason, in the big leagues, you try that same routine, and it doesn’t work. There’s a lot more chaos when you get up to the big leagues and start learning about the media and your meetings. Last year, when he got called up, he listened. He fought at certain times and didn’t want to listen because he had his way. I understood. Again, I’m a big believer if a guy has success in the big leagues, there’s a reason and you might want to start paying attention. You don’t have to take everything from him but take parts — I’ve said that before about passing the torch.
Coming in this year, what really impressed me, is I came out here early to work with my sprint coach. Barney came out for the entire day and all of his times — and I’ve been working with my sprint guy for a year — all of his times were better than mine. The hurdle jumps we did, sprints, everything we did, he was a lot better. And he finished the entire 1 1/2 hour workout with me and said he liked it and felt good. You compound that with his work ethic — he knows how to play. He’s a winner — back to back national championships — and then you look at his Minor League numbers and he knows how to play. You start working in the cage, and he started learning and paying attention even more. He was doing that young guy thing and sitting back and listening and taking bits and pieces. He was listening to Rudy, listening to his infield guys.
You see him as a great player and not just a utility guy but a guy who can start. I believe he can have a long big league career because of his work ethic and because of the way he learns. It transfers over into the games. Everything he’s done this Spring Training, I don’t think he’s surprised anyone and there’s a reason he has made this team. I don’t think anyone has any doubts about him because he can play the game. Everything is transferred over that he’s learned this past year in the big leagues. The biggest thing about him that I like is the fact he can play anywhere in the field and doesn’t look uncomfortable. Third, second, short — I’m sure if he was in center field he could do it. He’s that guy who is really going to help us this year.
His dad said he looks like a mini Marlon Byrd at the plate. That’s cool. A lot of guys make fun of it, but if anybody saw Mark DeRosa in Texas, they called him a mini Michael Young and there’s worse guys you can follow. Everything we’ve done, his approach, it’s Rudy’s system and he’s believed in it. There are certain things that we do similar hitting-wise. When I was in Texas, a lot of guys were like, “Oh, you want to be like Ian Kinsler?” Yes, I do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Barney is going to have his own style and it’s going to show.
I’ve been bringing him breakfast in Spring Training but that stops March 30. When he starts getting big league money, he can get his own breakfast.