Addison Barger, SS/2B/3B, TOR

What do you do when a player described as a bench piece plays like anything but? Meet Addison Barger.

Video courtesy of BabyJays
  • Born: November 12, 1999
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • 6’0″, 175-lbs
  • Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft out of C. Leon King H.S. (Tampa, FL)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

At the start of 2019, FanGraphs called Barger a bench piece who lacked power.

At the start of 2022, they didn’t even mention him in the Blue Jays list.

This is the endless dilemma of waiting for scouts to catch up to results on the field. There are so many players to analyze, and only so many scouts writing up the results publicly. A guy like Addison Barger was basically dismissed right before he goes on to show precisely what the scouts said he was missing: power.

Do you see any lack of power above? Nope, I see a guy moving from lumberjack to Superman. OK, OK, the other knock was he struck out too much. See that K% trend above? Hmm..

Meanwhile the walks are steady as she goes, the OBP is moving into Moon territory, and what are we to make of this? Maybe it was just a lucky month?

Ladies and gentlemen, what you see above is a player developing before your very eyes. Month by month the OBP grows, and so does the power, and so does the walk rate. Even the strikeout rate has been pretty good in June and July — and July includes a promotion to Double-A where not only did he not slow down, he pushed the pedal to the metal and get on grooving at a now interstellar rate.

No, he won’t keep this up at Double-A, not even Babe Ruth could hit like that (but he sure came close), but I’m just saying he is unconscious at the moment and doesn’t care what any scout thinks.

UPDATE 10/4/22: OK, we now have the full season on Barger, so lets see if he kept it up like the Babe:

I put a box around his Double-A play so we can see the climb of levels clearly. So what did he do in August in Double-A? Well, he obviously had a bad month. His true colors coming out at last?

As if! He bounces back in September and crushes pitching. So off he goes to Triple-A where pitchers finally had mastery over his bat.

Yeah, right! He did even better over those 34 plate appearances.

Bottom line: He did great almost every month all year long.

Noting the tiny sample size of Double-A, here is how we break it down by batter type:

A+: 27% K% versus righties and 9% walk rate. 22% K% versus lefties and 6% walk rate.

AA: 24% K% versus righties and 4% walk rate. 18% K% versus lefties and 27% walk rate.

I don’t see excessive strikeouts anywhere, do you?

The Scouts

Warnings

He’s described as a super utility type.

He’s only just started Double-A (albeit the best start you ever saw).

Conclusion

When does a batter play his way into scout awareness who are too busy looking at the top-rated guys? Yes, Barger will slow down, but what if he slows down just to a .300/.400/.500 level at Double-A. Will people play attention then?

Look at his OPS trend:

2018: .600s

2019: .700s

2021: .800s

2022: .900s

If you can get your OPS consistently above .800, you are doing great. So what do we say about a batter hitting .933 in 2022? I don’t know about you, but that does’t strike me as a utility bat.

He has the defensive chops to play his strong arm on the left side of the infield. If the Blue Jays are too full in a couple of years, Barger would make a great trade piece, no?

Or maybe this is all a mirage and the scouts who dismissed him back in 2019 will turn out to be right. But look at the Scouts section above…they are beginning to notice him again.