Detroit Tigers: Tucker Barnhart as a switch-hitter adds more value

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /

The Detroit Tigers completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Tucker Barnhart earlier this offseason. When the team brought him in, they immediately picked up a $7.75 million option for him that will allow him to stick around for the 2022 season.

Following that, the Detroit Tigers will see if he is the guy that they want to keep around moving forward. Early opinions point to the Tigers being happy with Barnhart, but this summer will be his tryout to be kept around.

However, as a catcher who already is bringing a lot of value to the organization. But during the lockout, he opted to make some more changes to his game, making him even more valuable for the Tigers organization moving forward.

Barnhart has informed the Tigers that he will be transitioning back to a switch-hitter role once again. After some struggles, he was a switch-hitter but has moved back to a left-handed-only approach. But two seasons later, he will adjust and become a switch-hitter once again.

Detroit Tigers Tucker Barnhart is a switch-hitter once again.

The former Reds backstop was a switch-hitter early on in his career. Spending six seasons logging plate appearances from the right-side. Between his debut and 2019, he accumulated 402 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter, where he slashed .219/.297/.295 with 16 extra-base hits, 33 RBI, and 94 punchouts.

It may not seem too wise to get back into it. Still, the reports are that Barnhart has invested development and training time to ensure that he can benefit the Tigers organization moving forward and bring a positive benefit to the lineup.

Barnhart is coming off of a 2021 season where he played in 116 games, slashing .247/.317/.368 with seven home runs and 48 RBI overall on the season. Either way, he will bring a benefit to this Tigers lineup.

The reasoning makes sense; Barnhart has 85 career plate appearances as a left-handed hitter against left-handed pitching. The results are not pretty. Barnhart slashed .192/.247/.295 from the left-side against left-handed pitching, with 26 of those plate appearances being strikeouts.

The improvement is there to be made. Neither of those slash lines is too exciting, but it’s going to add a benefit for Barnhart being a switch-hitter from the simple fact of match-up standpoints. If the ability comes back around and he’s able to produce a better slash from the right-side against left-handed pitching, it will be an even bigger victory.

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Either way, Barnhart’s willingness to put the work in and his decision to become a switch-hitter once again is going to bring more value to him for the Tigers organization.