Red Sox: Can Jeremy Barfield defeat the odds and make it to the majors?

BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: A general view of Fenway Park during the fourth inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays on July 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: A general view of Fenway Park during the fourth inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays on July 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox signed Jeremy Barfield in the spring to provide some much needed power in the minor league system.  Is there a possibility Barfield could finally make it to the majors?

Looking at the statistics of the Red Sox minor league system a name popped up that brought some trembling in my cranial neurons that triggered the response area known as familiarity. This particular name was Jeremy Barfield and the Barfield name resulted in a bit of research.

Was this now 29-year-old any relation to Jesse Barfield? Jesse played 12 years in the majors and once led the American League in home runs with 40 in 1986 while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. Jesse is Jeremy’s father and the father of Josh Barfield, who played for the Padres and Indians.

Barfield – Jeremy – was drafted in 2008 by the Oakland Athletics.  Since then Barfield has collected teams, home runs, hits and a world of hope that he may eventually follow his father and brother to the majors. Barfield – a right-hand hitter and left-hand pitcher (yes – pitcher) is a physical presence at 6’5” and 240 pounds.

"“I’m going to be a big leaguer sooner or later. It’s just a matter of an opportunity coming along. People see me pitch, but don’t forget, man, I can swing it. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve really honed my skills in the last couple of years, especially in the Atlantic League, getting everyday at-bats.”- Jeremy Barfield via Fangraphs"

Barfield has 1,086 minor league games and 1,039 hits.  The big number is 146 career home runs. The Red Sox signed Barfield out of independent ball in May while he was with the Sugarland Skeeters of the Atlantic League. Barfield was quickly shipped to Portland and provided a nice jolt of some serious power with 27 home runs, 75 RBI, and a .944 OPS in just 92 games. Then there is the aforementioned pitching.

Barfield was no novice to mound action and in one extra inning game was recruited to do double-duty.  Barfield tossed three innings and allowed an earned run to take the loss.  For his minor league pitching career, Barfield is 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA, but his bat is his tool of advancement.

"“I love what I do. Baseball has always been priority No.1… or, I guess priority No. 2. Life is priority No. 1. Baseball is playing a game. But when I’m out there on the field, nothing else matters.” – Jeremy Barfield"

The Red Sox moved Barfield to Pawtucket for three late season games and he hit a home run in his Pawtucket excursion. If Barfield is still with the Red Sox organization he will most certainly be at the Triple-A level where he already has 80 games experience.

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Can Barfield actually make it?  In the great scheme of chances this may fall into the famous slim and none category, but occasionally it does happen.  In 2007 the Red Sox brought up Jeff Bailey, who was a career minor league player of similar talent. Bailey had only one hit – a home run. Bailey also played parts of two more seasons for the Red Sox and notched 56 games before returning to the minors.

For the Red Sox and every other major league team there is a stockpile of talent in the high minors and occasionally the major league team will dip into that collection and they get a taste of the majors.  There is quite a list of Moonlight Graham’s in baseball history.

"“I’m pushing 30, my swing is my swing.” – Jeremy Barfield via WEEI"

Barfield could also provide the missing power that a potential exit of Bryce Brentz would have.  Brentz led the International League with 31 home runs, but the former number one draft choice was not part of the extensive September call-up.  The Red Sox did not clear a roster spot so the right-handed power hitter may be looking elsewhere.

Next: Diving into Rick Porcello's home run problem

If Barfield remains with the organization and is off to Pawtucket that means his opportunity is just an injury, trade or extended slump away. But that is all dependent upon his bat doing exactly what it did in Portland – hit a bundle of home runs.

This will just be an item – minuscule as it may be – that I will watch. Maybe he will be like Bailey?