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The season that was: Darwin Barney

A look at Barney's 2016 season.

ALCS - Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Indians - Game Two Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We picked Darwin Barney up in a trade from the Dodgers (with catcher Jack Murphy going the other way), on September 13th 2015, when we were looking for middle infield help, with Devon Travis on the DL. Before the trade, Darwin had played all of 2015 in Triple-A (minus 4 games spent with the Dodgers). He hit .277/.325/.354 in Oklahoma City of the PCL.

Coming over to the Jays, he hit .304/.333/.609, with 2 home runs in 23 at bats (with very good defense). Who could have thought that could happen?

The Jays signed him as a free agent in December, 1-year, $1.05 million.

Year   Age   G  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+ GDP
2016    30 104 279 35 75 13  2  4  19  2  2 22 48 .269 .322 .373 .695   86   8
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We got our money’s worth. Baseball Reference has him at a 1.8 WAR. Fangraphs 1.5, making him worth $11.8 million to the Jays.

Darwin had a rough time of it in the playoffs, with just 1 single and 1 HB in 16 PA. .067/.125/.067 with 3 strikeouts.

He had a .303 wOBA and a 86 wRC.

Compared to his career numbers, Barney walked more (7.2%, up from 5.7) and struck out more (15.7%, up from 11.9).

He hit more line drives (22.4%, up from 21.2), slightly more ground balls (47.4%, up from 47.1) and slightly fewer fly balls (30.2%, down from 31.7). More of his play balls let the park (5.7%, up from 4.1).

His BABIP was .310.

Darwin hit lefties (.306/.361/.361) much better than righties (.249/.301/.348).

He hit far better at home (.304/.341/.411) than on the road (.216/.296/.315).

He wasn’t great with RISP (.200/.258/.255).

Darwin hit much better in the first half (.296/.345/.392) than the second half (.215/.279/.333).

Barney by month:

  • April: .286/.355/.393 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 10 games (9 starts)
  • May: .339/.350/.475 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 22 games (16 starts)
  • June: .242/.324/.303 with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 24 games (18 starts)
  • July: .241/.281/.345 with no home runs and 6 RBI in 18 games (15 starts)
  • August: .255/.321/.412 with 1 home run and 3 RBI in 16 games (13 starts)
  • September: .235/.316/.235 with no runs and no RBI in 14 games (6 starts)

May really was something.

Defensively? He played 38 games at second base, 23 games at third base, 23 games at short stop and 4 games in left field. He had a 4.7 UZR/150 at second. 9.8 UZR at third. 26.2 UZR/150 at SS. He really didn’t have enough innings to make UZR mean much, but I thought he looked good at all the infield spots. He made 4 errors at each of second and third base, no errors at short.

Baserunning? Fangraphs has him at 0.4 runs worse than the average baserunner. I would have pegged him at average. He stole 2 bases and was caught 2 times.

His longest hitting streak was 7 games, longest on base streak 9 games.

His favorite team to face? He hit .500/.538/1.167 with 2 home runs in 4 games (13 PA) against the Twins.

Least favorite? Well he had no hits or walks in 8 at bats vs the Mariners.

Darwin hit 1st (5 starts), 6th (1 start), 7th (7 starts), 8th (23 starts) and 9th (41 starts).

He also pitched 1 inning, giving up a solo homer, but also getting a strikeout.

As a backup infielder, Darwin was just fine. Played good defense, wasn’t an automatic out at the plate.

MLB Trade Rumors figures Darwin will get about $1.6 million in arbitration this year, which would keep him a bargain. The trouble is: Ryan Goins is out of options. Can we keep both of them on the roster (even if the roster goes to 26 players)? I do wonder in the Jays could sneak Goins through waivers. Every team has a player like Goins. Good glove, no hit players aren’t all that uncommon (even if Goins is a very good player of that type). It looks like the team prefers Barney to Goins.

Course, if the Jays were to sign Sean Rodriguez, he would put both their jobs at jeopardy.

What ever happens, Barney has been a very likable backup infielder. He hasn’t quite earned the level of love that John McDonald built up with Jays fans, but give him time, he could get there. I always figure backup infielders have to be likable people, because, let’s face it, there are any number of guys, sitting in Triple-A, that could fill the role.