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Defending Darwin Barney
Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:24 PM
Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:53 PM
Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:51 PM
The one thing we always hear about Barney is that he has composure, maturity and a good genuine work ethic. He seems to have the characteristics of a team leader.
Barney may not put up the best numbers, but his attitude and leadership skills could be that of a Derek Jeter.. now, don't go off on me saying that I'm comparing him to Jeter as a player, I'm not.. he could however be the same type of leader Jeter has been to the Yanks.
Put Barney in a good line-up, surrounded with good hitters, he could be a consistent .280's hitter. If he gets better defensively and can hit .285 for us, plus his leadership skills (if they really are there) that all could make him a very valuable piece to this team for years to come.
He may not light the world on fire with his stats, but he could be a glue that holds a young, talented team together.
Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:25 PM
Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:09 PM
It's Ryne Sandberg, that's the answer you are looking for Brett. I'm going to point you towards Darwin Barney's numbers while working with Sandberg as manager. His OBP and Slugging % are both career bests in his three years under Ryno. He scores more runs, steals more bases, and takes more walks in his Sandberg influenced years. A year after working with Sandberg and bulking up at Camp Colvin, he started out perfectly fine to start the year. The obvious influence of Mike Quade wore him down as the season went along. His main influences were "when in doubt, swing" Jarmillo, Soriano and his breaking ball hitting prowess, and early season awesomeness of Pena and Ramirez. Then his manager calls him out for losing a ball in the sun while letting vets slide for loafing it all year. To top it all off, the only time he gets a day off is when his wife is having a baby, and he was back in the lineup the next day. He has wore down as the season has gone along, physically and mentally as you can tell by his deteriorating defense. Without the influence of Quade and who the hell knows what kind of crazy nickname he got (Winny?), Barney is not only capable of starting for a playoff team, but fully able to help said team win. Now, the Cubs just have to hire Ryne Sandberg to coach Barney in some fashion.
I appreciate the effort, and this (and EQ's) is probably about as good as the argument gets.
Unfortunately, I still find it unconvincing.
Barney's numbers under Sandberg may have been the best in his career, but they are still (1) minor league numbers, (2) accumulated at levels at which he was older than most of his competition, (3) came on the heels of a full collegiate career (college hitters are frequently more polished than their pitching counterparts in the minors), and (4) most importantly, the numbers still aren't impressive.
At A ball, Barney went .273/.323/.392 in 44 games.
And that was his BEST minor league season! Unsurprisingly, it was his first season, at the lowest level (he played a handful of rookie league games that year, too).
Here's the thing about minor league numbers - they don't tell you everything, but when a guy is at the right age for his level (or older), those numbers are not predictive of success at the big league level, primarily because they tend to go down significantly.
So, if the starting point for Barney is a .711 OPS (his minor league OPS), how low can it go in the bigs?
No one can know for sure, but I've got a good guess: .667. That's his OPS this year in the bigs.
Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:35 AM
That's the very question: what has Barney done to "earn" the starting job, other than play terribly for the vast majority of the season?
Barney deserves another shot at 2nd next year. With the "glut" of potential replacements on the team, I say the job is Barney's to lose.
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