Then this winter, Barber hit .423 in seven games with the Melville Braves of the Western Australia State League with an on-base percentage of .500, stealing three bases, scoring nine runs and hitting a home run in that span. He went on to play for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League, hitting .322 in 29 games, belting three homers, scoring 22 runs and stealing nine bases.
CATCHING ON ELSEWHERE: The Beach Bums parted ways with designated hitter/catcher Zach Kometani when they traded him to River City for a first-round pick in the 2015 Frontier League draft.
The decision to deal Kometani came down to health.
“When he came into camp, he had to be able to throw and he couldn’t throw, and I don’t have any room for him to DH with (Jovan) Rosa, (Yazy) Arbelo and (Jose) Vargas being our main three at first and third and DH,” said Beach Bums manager Dan Rohn.
Kometani was coming off Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm in before last season. River City signed Kometani to a contract extension soon after the trade, in which the Rascals sent the Bums their first-round pick in next year’s draft.
Last season, Kometani hit .270 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs as the team’s primary DH.
CHECK SWINGS: Outfielder Jeff DeBlieux’s last name is pronounced “W.” As in the letter. And that’s it. ... Every player on the team is between the ages of 23 and 26. ... Only eight current players were with the Beach Bums last year. That includes outfielder Shaun Cooper, who spent the entire season on the disabled list, and relieve Vladimir Camacho, who pitched in just two contests late last season. ... Several other Beach Bums have Frontier League experience, however. Jovan Rosa (Washington), Casey Delgado (Frontier Greys), Nate O’Bryan (Rockford) and Drew Rossi (Washington) have previously played in the league.
Staff writer Chris Dobrowolski contributed to this report