Full Name: Joshua LaRoy Barfield
Born: 12-17-1982 (Barquisimento, Venezuela)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 190 lbs
High School: Klein High School (Texas)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Service Time: 1.00 Years
Option Years Remaining: Two
- Free Agent
Josh is not the first of his family to play in the major leagues; his father Jesse enjoyed a lengthy career, playing for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Jesse was known for his strong arm and home run power.
Josh was drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 2001 draft, an odd selection given the organization's predilection for college talent. Barfield's debut later that summer was very successful; he hit .310/.350/.437 in the Pioneer League while moving between short and second. While there was some long-term question about whether he'd stay in the infield, his bat was not questioned. Baseball America ranked him the 3rd-best prospect in the Pioneer League.
His full-season debut was remarkably similar to what he did in Idaho Falls; he again hit above .300, and showed decent power for his age. His strikeout to walk ratio was roughly 5 to 1, a concern which followed him the rest of his minor-league career. In 2003 he went to the hitter-friendly California League, where he again logged 500 at-bats, hit a robust .337/.389/.530, and improved his walk ratio a bit. At this point, he was the organization's best prospect, though the praise was tempered a bit given the low status of the Padres' system. There will still concerns about him being able to handle the position, and obviously a move to the outfield would make him a less desirable payer. Baseball America thought him capable of being a major-league #3 hitter. His instincts, both hitting and baserunning, garnered praise as well, and Jim Callis thought he'd be ready by mid-2005.
That praise lessened after Barfield struggled at the plate in 2004. Part of that may have been explained by a injured hamstring early in the spring, but it also may have been due to facing AA pitchers. BA noticed that his long and pull-happy swing left him open to being neutralized with unexpected fastballs and tailing breaking pitches. But all was not lost; his defense improved to the point that a position change was no longer talked about. All he needed to do was to get his hitting back on track.
He did just that in 2005, hitting .310/.370/.450 in the PCL, a hitter's league, but still a good line for a 22-year-old. The gap between strikeouts and walks closed further, and the Padres, convinced that he was ready, dealt incumbent second baseman Mark Loretta to the Boston Red Sox that winter. Barfield made his major-league debut on Opening Day, and hit a very acceptable .280/.318/.423. Like most of his teammates, he was a much better hitter on the road, hitting .331/.378/.587 away from Petco Park.
It's not very often that a team will deal a player after a positive rookie season, but the Padres did just that, trading him to the Indians for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and RHP Andrew Brown. Kouzmanoff was coming off a season where he destroyed AA and AAA pitching, and the Padres had a huge organizational hole at third base. The Padres later filled the hole left by Barfield by signing free agent Marcus Giles.
6-01: Drafted by the San Diego Padres (4th Round)
6-15-01: Signed with San Diego; Assigned to Idaho Falls (R-)
Started 2002 in Fort Wayne (A-)
8-02: Promoted to Lake Elsinore (A+)
Started 2004 in Mobile (AA)
Started 2005 in Portland (AAA)
Started 2006 in San Diego (MLB Debut)
11-8-06: Traded to the Cleveland Indians for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and RHP Andrew Brown
His all-around athleticism. Essentially he's a second baseman with the skillset of a corner outfielder; he has a very good arm, and nice instincts. He has good power for his position, and is an excellent baserunner. He'll help provide some speed to an otherwise lethargic lineup.
His long pull-happy swing can be exploited, and he hit just .266/.299/.376 against right-handed pitching. He had only 21 unintentional walks in 2006, evidence of an aggressive hitting style. Opposing teams wil notice this, so he'll need to show some patience in order to get pitches to hit.
Barfield is going to get as much playing time as he can handle. He'll be hitting towards the bottom of the order; Eric Wedge has talked about hitting him 9th in order to get the lineup's two stolen base threats hitting back-to-back. He could serve as the #2 hitter against left-handers.