||Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League), Triple-A Tucson
Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)
Barden was barely scouted coming out of high school, but played so well in a
tournament in Oregon his senior year that the Oregon State Beavers offered him a
spot as a walk on. He accepted, and then rewarded the OSU coaching staff
by becoming the team MVP, landing honors as a defensive star at third base, and
then eventually getting drafted in the sixth round by the Diamondbacks in 2002.
|Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)
|Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)
Batting and Power: He seems like a mirror image of Chad Tracy,
good contact, line-drive hitter with minimal power, but at the hot corner, he'll
need to put up bigger home run and slugging numbers. He's never hit more
than eight homers in a season as a pro, and the last time he consciously tried
to hit for power (in the Cape Cod League while he was still at Oregon State) his
average dipped below .250.
"He's a real nice line drive hitter, but I'm not sure if he's going to
ever start at the major league level," FutureBacks.com's David Merchant
says, "He stays back on the ball well, but there's just no lift in his
Base running and Speed: He's not a burner, but reads pitchers
well. He'll be a situational steals guy, quick enough to get maybe ten
steals a year, and sometimes gets too aggressive on the bases, though the
organization likes the fact that he challenges outfielders, at the major league
level though a lot of arms could make him pay for his challenges.
Defense: Slick is the best word to describe Barden's fielding. His
defense is stellar, and always has been (he was twice voted the best defensive
infielder in college by Baseball America) with fantastic range and a strong
accurate arm he saves a lot of doubles and dares even the fastest hitters to
bunt on him.
ETA: There's a glut of 3rd base prospects in the D'Backs
organization. In addition to the just signed Troy Glaus and recently moved
to first Chad Tracy, Jaime D'Antona is a power hitting stud at Double-A who is
coming back from injury, Corey Myers seems to be getting moved behind the plate
but has had success at third, and if Sergio Santos continues to have problems at
short his next stop will be 3rd base. All of those guys (except Tracy)
have significantly more power than Barden, and at least one (Santos) is
considered a "can't miss" bat at the Major League level.
Barden's best hope may be at a different position (second base) or with another
organization, and several (including the Seattle Mariners before they signed
Adrian Beltre) have expressed interest.