Mike Barnett was named hitting coach at the beginning of the 2011 season. Prior to joining the Major League staff, he spent two seasons (2009-10) as the organization's Minor League hitting coordinator, during which he had the opportunity to work with several young hitters currently on the Astros roster.
In 2011, the Astros' .258 team batting average ranked tied for fourth in the National League (with Colorado), a solid improvement over the club's .247 clip in 2010, which ranked 14th in the NL. The Astros also shared the NL lead in doubles (309) in 2011 and increased their runs scored total.
Prior to joining the Astros, Barnett served several years as a hitting coach on both the Major League and Minor League levels. From May of 2006 through 2008, he was the Kansas City Royals hitting coach. Prior to that, he had success as hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays (2002-05). In 2003, the Blue Jays finished second in the American League in both runs and batting average en route to an 86-76 record on the season. They also were second in hits and fifth in home runs.
Barnett also spent the second half of the 2005 season as a non-uniformed hitting instructor with the Boston Red Sox, during which he had the opportunity to work with Astros manager Brad Mills.
Barnett's professional coaching career began in 1990 in the White Sox Minor League system. From 1990-97, he served as a hitting coach at all levels of the White Sox organization. In 1994, he was hitting coach for the Double-A Birmingham Barons club that NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan played for. Barnett also spent four seasons (1998-2001) as hitting coach at Triple-A Tuscon in the Diamondbacks organization.
Barnett also had a two-year stint as a coach for the University of Tennessee baseball team (1988-89). Previously, he was an assistant administrator of baseball operations for the New York Yankees for six years (1982-87).
A graduate of Ohio University with a degree in sports administration, Barnett resides in Knoxville, Tenn., with his two children.