Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

Outfielder led bigs with 17 pinch-hits in 2014

Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes vows to be a smarter hitter, even after leading the Majors with 17 pinch-hits last season.

"There were times when I just went up there to swing, and that's not very smart," said Barnes, who hit .279 in 61 pinch-hit at-bats, but .257 with a .293 on-base percentage overall.

The right-handed hitting Barnes, who joined the Rockies in a trade with the Astros after the 2013 season, said he has talked with hitting coach Blake Doyle, right-handed hitting Troy Tulowitzki and left-handed hitting Carlos Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson for pointers. The goal, Barnes said, is finding a "rock-solid approach … I have to buy into that."

Barnes, who turns 29 on May 15, had eight homers -- the first two inside the park -- 17 doubles and four triples. He could be a dangerous gap hitter if he makes contact more consistently. Barnes also reported to camp less bulky this season to increase his speed. He's also working on bunting and moving runners.

Barnes' inside-the-park home run

The preparation is that of a player with confidence in his abilities. He has spent the last two full seasons in the Majors, but this is the first time he is seen as an established player.

"He does feel like he belongs; we've had some good conversations already this spring," manager Walt Weiss said. "I can sense that his confidence level is higher than he was a year ago.

"His attitude is infectious. He brings a lot of energy and toughness to our club that's very valuable. The other players feed off of it."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.