Steve Baron was a bit of a controversial pick at No. 33 overall in 2009 for the Seattle Mariners. The general consensus was that Baron had the physical tools and the acumen to develop defensively, but he was light years away with the bat and such a package didn’t warrant seven figures and high draft pick.
Six years later, maybe, just maybe, Baron has started to turn the corner at the plate. He’s 24 now, but in 23 games at Triple-A Tacoma he’s batting .325/.371/.410 with five extra-base hits. Sure, that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s a small sample, right? Right. But even his 35 games in Double-A Jackson earlier this season, the 58 games he spent there a year ago, may be a sign his new-found game plan is starting to work.
I sat down and chatted with Baron about his season, his swing, the timeshare approach he and John Hicks share at catcher and how that helps him, and more. No, this isn’t really an interview. It’s really me just tossing stuff at Steve and the Florida native being kind of enough to answer. And intelligently, I might add. If Baron fails to make it in the majors, it will be for reasons not related to work ethic, baseball IQ and overall intelligence, and that, sometimes, is not the case. I’ve talked to catchers, of all positions, that seem dumber than a box of rocks. That’s not Steve by any stretch.
For the record, the answer is “perhaps.” Maybe Baron or Hicks is an offensive upgrade to Jesus Sucre right now. But not so much that one should be rushed to the big leagues, interrupting any development momentum they have going in Tacoma, simply to play once or twice a week.
Apologies for the loud music in the background at times, the Sacramento Rivercats were taking batting practice.
Catch the Baron audio below, and look to the right under “Audio Cloud” for other sound, including a conversation I had with Patrick Kivlehan earlier this season.
Jason A. Churchill
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