Father Knows Best For Barfield

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - In his first full season of professional ball, Kane County right-fielder Jeremy Barfield hasn't shied away from using his former MLB All-Star father as a resource.

Oakland's eighth round selection in the 2008 amateur draft is similar to his father Jesse, a 12-year major league veteran who played for Toronto and the New York Yankees, in size and stature. The A's are hoping the youngest Barfield will eventually follow in his father's footsteps with his performance in major league parks, as well.

"My dad was a power guy with an arm at the corner outfield position," said Jeremy Barfield.

"I resemble him more than anything. We talk pretty much every day and text message all the time."

Father and son put their phones down this past weekend.

Jesse Barfield split time between Chicago's Wrigley Field (where oldest son Josh will be playing for Cleveland) and Elfstrom Stadium in nearby Geneva. He also plans to attend this week's Midwest League All-Star Game, where Jeremy will start at designated hitter for the Western Division and participate in the homerun derby.

Jeremy Barfield looks forward to some hands-on time with his mentor.

"We have our little key words, offensively," he said.

"We worked so much in the offseason on offense and have a mental checklist. We go over everything if I'm struggling. I came in well prepared for a full season. I had a pretty rigid workout regimen."

The elder Barfield might not want to change very much about his youngest son's game. Jeremy is one of the top hitters in the Midwest League with a .302 average.

With six home runs in 49 games, he is just starting to develop the power stroke that was such a key part of his dad's game. However, he is flashing a .467 slugging percentage and an OPS nearing the 850 mark.

"I like to think of myself as an aggressive hitter, but I pick and choose my spots on when to be aggressive," Barfield said.

"When guys are in scoring position, that's when I like to be aggressive and drive them in. I've actually been hitting better with nobody on base, and that's when there's no pressure at all. I know when to take aggressive hacks and when to just focus on contact."

That approach may very well land him in High-A Stockton later this summer. But that's not what Barfield is focusing on.

"I'm really not thinking about going to Stockton," he said.

"If I stay here, that's great. If I go to Stockton, that's good too. I'm settled here and enjoy playing with this group of guys. This is my first full year. I'm not sure what their plan is for me – my play will determine what happens."

After two seasons at San Jacinto Junior College, Barfield is pleased with his decision to sign with the A's after the 2008 draft and believes that he is on the right path.

"I had another two years of (college) eligibility, but I thought it was time," he said.

"I got drafted out of high school, but I really wasn't ready. Maybe I was physically, but mentally I wasn't ready to go play pro ball. The opportunity presented itself with the draft and an organization like Oakland. This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

Barfield has shown he's more than ready for this level of minor league ball. Just ask opposing MWL pitchers.

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