Chicago Cubs: Five underrated hitters from recent history
Chicago Cubs: Michael Barrett
Like Alou, the hitting accomplishments of Michael Barrett are overlooked by other events. Barrett is mainly remembered for punching A.J. Pierzynski in a game against the Chicago White Sox in 2006 and for his dugout fight with Carlos Zambrano in 2007. However, Barrett is one of the better offensive catchers that the team has had in recent memory.
In 2003, Damian Miller and Paul Bako teamed up to do a great job behind the plate for the Cubs; though they didn’t hit a whole lot, they guided the Cubs’ young pitching staff to a great season. After 2003, the team tried to go for more offense at the catcher position when they signed Barrett as a free agent.
Barrett had an immediate impact at the plate, batting .287 with 16 home runs and 65 RBIs. The next year was also productive: .276, 16 home runs, and 61 RBIs while winning the Silver Slugger Award. Then in 2006, the year he punched Pierzynski, he might have had his best year yet, batting .307 with 16 home runs for the third straight year while driving in 53; his .885 OPS was the highest of the three seasons.
Then came 2007. After 57 games and the Zambrano fight, the Cubs decided they needed to move Barrett and sent him to the San Diego Padres; the Cubs would eventually trade for Jason Kendall as they marched their way to a division title. Though the team ultimately decided that his presence was hurting the club, we can’t forget that Barrett was a productive hitter for the team for more than three seasons.