Over the years, Miami has had a knack for recruiting players from California. Junior Brian Barton is no exception, even though he traveled down a different road beforehand.
Barton was drafted out of high school by his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers in the 38th round, but he decided to go to Loyola Marymount College instead. Despite only starting 10 games as a freshman, he realized there might be an opportunity to go to a school in a city that he had always wanted to see: Miami.
“I had no clue who he was when he walked into my office,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “He came in and wanted to know if he could try out for the team, but what really caught my attention was when he mentioned that he was drafted by the Dodgers out of high school.”
After making the team, Barton red shirted during the 2002 season because he transferred from another school. No one could have predicted what would come when Barton put on the Miami uniform for the first time in 2003.
Barton started 57 games in right field for the ‘Canes last season, hitting .325 with 53 RBI. He only got hotter as the games got more important, as he finished with a .361 average in the postseason.
This season hasn’t been any different. He currently leads the fifth ranked Hurricanes in hitting with a .413 average. All of Barton’s numbers look even better when one finds out that his major is aerospace engineering. He feels that it isn’t different from any other major, however.
“I think everyone finds it tough to balance school with baseball,” Barton said. “We have to concentrate so hard on baseball and keep our grades up at the same time, so that doesn’t make me different from anybody else.”
His numbers also look impressive when considering that he did not get to play as much as others during the summer because of a job he has at Boeing.
One quality that Barton brings to the Hurricanes is leadership. He became an immediate leader on the ball club when he arrived, something that he has been used to his whole life.
“I saw myself as a leader even when first came here,” Barton said. “I always like to see myself in the leadership role, whether I’m a freshman or senior [because] it is the type of person that I’ve been brought up to be.”
Over the next couple weeks, as Miami is in the middle of the toughest part of its schedule, the ‘Canes will need Barton to continue doing what he has done for them over the last two seasons.
“These series will show us where we are as a team,” Barton said. “We’ll use this as a stepping stone to the playoffs and World Series.”
It is obvious that after being drafted out of high school, Barton will most likely be drafted out of college when his time at Miami is over. But if things don’t work out in baseball, at least all Miami fans will know that he will have a very successful career dealing with an aircraft flying instead of a baseball flying out of Mark Light Field.
Douglas Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.