Jumping from organization to organization over the last couple of seasons, Bowie’s utility player Josh Barfield has finally found a home within the Baltimore Orioles’ system.
Barfield–.285 BA, 30 R, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 13 SB with Bowie–has spent a majority of his career with Triple-A affiliates of the Padres, Indians and Phillies since the 2005 season, with a couple of Major League stints sprinkled in.
As a fourth round selection by San Diego in the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft, the sky seemed the limit, as he was once ranked as the league’s 20th-ranked prospect. Hitting 16 round trippers, batting in 128 runs and sporting a stellar .337 with the A+ Lake Elsinore Storm in ’03, the possibilities were endless for the 20-year old phenom second baseman.
Now 29, Barfield has been somewhat of a journeyman utility player, making starts at second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, right field and designated hitter before finally landing in Baltimore this past off-season.
Making two prolonged Major League stints with the Padres in 2006 and the Indians in 2007, Barfield has taken a lot from that experience and looks to use it as motivation for getting back to the big show within the O’s farm system.
“I just want to stay consistent,” Barfield explained. “I have learned that if you work hard good things will happen, and (my Major League experience) has helped me grow as a person.”
Changing organizations, especially as often as he has recently, can have a major effect on players, but Barfield hasn’t let that have an effect on him and his play.
“I’ve enjoyed my experience here,” Barfield said. “Every organization does things differently, but I’m still just playing baseball for the most part. There really hasn’t been much of a transition from Philadelphia to here.”
One of Barfield’s upsides is his versatility, which has turned out to be a major contributor to his 2012 comeback campaign here in Bowie. Much like previous seasons, Barfield has done it all with the ‘Sox. With Eastern League All-Star Jonathan Schoop at second base, Barfield has been forced to make some adjustments.
In his 46 starts this season, just three of them have come from his primary position at second. The remaining 43 starts were split between left field (22), center field (1) and right field (20).
Doing a majority of his damage at the plate while runners are in scoring position, as opposed to empty base paths, Barfield claims that the reason behind that is simply focus.
“I try hard every at bat, try to get good swings,” he explained. “But I tend to focus the most when there are runners on base.”
A rejuvenated Barfield worked hard on improving his swing and keeping his body in shape over the offseason, attributing hard work and the idea that he’s focusing solely on baseball to his successful 2012 campaign.
“I mostly worked on keeping my body in shape,” Barfield said. “But I wanted to get my swing as short as possible and to stay consistent at the plate. I put my hard work in every day and am not worrying about anything else but playing baseball.”
He may not be in the same boat he was at 20 years old, but Barfield’s consistency has seen an increase since this time last season and only looks to get better as the season progresses.