Brian Barden was selected in the sixth round of the 2002 First Year Player Draft out of Oregon State University. Barden stand 5’11, throws right and bats right. The Diamondbacks assigned to Yakima and after 4 games he was promoted to Lancaster.
The Diamondbacks designated him for assignment on Aug. 3. Barden was hitting .269 with two homers and 29 RBIs in 83 games at Tucson.
Going into the 2007 season, Barden was rated as the #20 Prospect in a loaded Arizona system. From the BA 2007 Prospect Handbook: Barden doesn’t get much attention but keeps plugging away for the Diamondbacks….He has added power to his offensive game and versatility to his defense in the last couple of seasons, making him a legitimate candidate for a utility job. Barden is the kind of player that grinds out solid performances everyday…He has a nice line drive stroke and is a good situational hitter…In the right situation, he’ll be a great role player for a big league team.
From Scout.com: Slick is the best word to describe Barden’s fielding. His defense is stellar, and always has been (he was twice voted the best defensive infielder in college by Baseball America) with fantastic range and a strong accurate arm he saves a lot of doubles and dares even the fastest hitters to bunt on him.
According to Baseball America’s Recent Best Tools Survey, he is considered to be the best defensive 3rd baseman in Triple A by his peers.
After a tremendous Spring Training in which he hit .397/.435/.638 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in 58 Abs. He was rewarded by breaking camp with the big league club. So, he started 2007 with the Diamondbacks but got off to a slow start, going 1-for-12 in eight games before being optioned to Triple-A Tucson in May. Barden is a notorious slow starter as noted here in an article from BA in 2006: A slow start is nothing new for Diamondbacks utilityman Brian Barden, whose three-hit weekend for Triple-A Tucson raised his average 20 points…”I struggled at the beginning of last year, too.” ..It takes me a little while to come around. I am a slow starter but once I get going…”
Barden had a career .297 average, 55 home runs and 393 RBI in his six years in Arizona’s minor league system going into the 2007 season.
In 2006, Barden spent the season with Triple-A Tucson. He earned Arizona’s and Topps Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors for July 2006 after winning back-to-back Player of the Week honors that month. For the season, he hit .298 with 16 home runs and 97 RBI. He played 79 games at 3B, 20 at SS, 22 at 2B, and 10 at 1B.
In 2005, Barden started the year for the first time at Triple A Tucson. For the year he hit .307 with 15 HRs and 85 RBIs. He played 115 games at 3B, 20 at 2B, and 2 at SS.
Barden was barely scouted coming out of high school, but played so well in a tournament in Oregon his senior year that Oregon State offered him a spot as a walk on. He accepted, and then rewarded the OSU coaching staff by becoming the team MVP, landing honors as a defensive star at third base.
Although old to be considered a true prospect, he should provide good depth to an organization in dire need of minor league infield help. With stellar defense and versatility, he should get a good opportunity to not only stabilize the Memphis infield defense, but also, have a shot at a utility role in 2008.