So, you can pretty much cut and paste my thoughts about Ryan Goins into this slot. Darwin Barney is fine enough as a backup middle infielder, but, being a backup middle infield on the Blue Jays means he plays far more than any of us would want. I think any season you get 800+ PA from Barney and Goins is not going to be a season that ends well.
Barney was smart enough to start his time, with the Jays, with a hot streak. After the trade that brought him over from the Dodgers, at the end of the 2015 season, Darwin hit .304/.333/.609 in 26 PA. First impressions are very important.
Then he started the 2016 season on a hot streak, and he earned the trust of his manager.
Baseball Reference has him at a -0.7 WAR. FanGraphs -0.6, giving him a value of $-4.8 million to the Jays. I’m sure Rogers is trying to find a way to bill him for it.
He had a .263 wOBA and a wRC+ of 58.
Compared to last year, Darwin walked a lot less (5.0%, down from 7.2) and struck out more (17.7%, up from 15.7).
He hit fewer line drives (20.7%, from 22.4), fewer ground balls (46.7%, from 47.4), and more fly balls (32.6%, up from 30.6). More of his fly balls left the park (8.7%, from 7.3). He hit .125 on efforts to bunt for a base hit.
He had far less hard contact (19.1% from 27.7). And his BABIP dropped (.270, from .310 last year).
Darwin hit lefties (.244/.324/.285) and right-handers (.225/.243/.352) kind of equally poorly, in different ways. He couldn’t get on base against RHP, He couldn’t get extra base hits against LHP.
He was hit about the same at home (.239/.265/.316) as on the road (.227/.282/.337).
He didn’t hit well with RISP (.223/.260/.298).
He hit slightly better in the second half (.233/.272/.356) than the first half (.231/.277/.295).
Barney by month:
- April: .292/.333/.313, in 19 games.
- May: .207/.220/.310 with 1 homer, in 22 games.
- June: .182/.270/.273 with 1 homer, in 15 games.
- July: .218/.295/.273, in 22 games.
- August: .189/.200/.257, with 1 homer, in 27 games.
- September: .294/.338/.500 with 3 homers, in 24 games.
The bookends are pretty nice. The middle, pretty ugly.
He had a -1.3 UZR/150 in 511.2 innings at second base. He made just 2 errors for a .992 fielding average. I think it is much harder for a player with a good defensive reputation to get an error. Official scorers seem to want to help the narrative.
He had a 2.4 UZR/150 in 294.2 innings at third base. He had 4 errors at third for a .957 fielding average.
He also played 54 innings at short and 13 innings in left.
FanGraphs had him at a -0.9 runs as a baserunner. He had 7 steals and was caught 2 times. He must have been pretty bad the rest of the time on the base paths.
His longest hitting streak was 8 games. Longest on base streak 13 games. The longest he went without a homer was 32 games.
His favorite team to face? He hit .429/.500/.643 with a homer in 6 games against the Royals.
Least favorite? He went 0 for 10 vs the Twins.
Darwin started games hitting:
- 2nd 3 times.
- 6th 6 times.
- 7th 23 times.
- 8th 30 times.
- 9th 34 times.
He’s a free agent now. I’d much prefer if the Jays found someone better to be utility infielder, since we tend to have them play a fair bit. With Tulowitzki and Travis as our middle infielders, odds are the bench guys are going to get a bunch of at bats.
The front office has said that getting someone who can back up second and short is a priority this winter. If he could also play left and hit leadoff, so much the better.
Darwin seems like a good guy, that’s an important quality for a utility player. If you are going to be a replacement level player, it’s important not to rock the boat.
I like Darwin, but I will take it as a failure if he is on the team next season.
Barney has hit .251/.298/.357 in 248 games with the Jays. He has a 1.4 WAR in his time as a Jay. I often think we should do a poll on who is our favorite replacement level player. Barney would be up there on the list for me.