ARLINGTON -- The jury remains out on whether Brandon Barnes will be a starter for the Astros in the coming years, but manager Bo Porter believes he's proven himself as a Major League player. He also thinks Barnes is leadership material.
Nothing has come easy in baseball for Barnes, who was drafted in the sixth round in 2005 by the Astros and didn't reach the Major Leagues until last season. He twice thought about walking away from the game.
"I think he's got natural leadership tendencies," Porter said. "He has natural leadership skills. A lot of times, people look at the leaders as the best player on the team or the guy who puts up the best numbers. That's not the case the way I look at it. The leader of this team is the guy everybody else looks at and they know that person was willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of the team.
"They're not just going to talk the talk, they're going to walk the walk. Brandon Barnes is a lunch-pail guy. He comes to the park each and every day and he's going to give everything he has, win, lose or draw. If something needs to be said, he's not afraid to say it. Those are the qualities you look at from a leadership standpoint."
Barnes, 27, has endeared himself to fans with his hustling style of play and wants to try to finish his career with the Astros. He would embrace the role of leader.
"I don't have much [Major League] time, but I feel like I can be a leader and take us to where we need to be," he said. "Whether it's about leadership or the way I play, I want to eventually play for a championship. That's something we all want to do. We just have to start from Spring Training next year and we've got to hold ourselves to high standards."
Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.