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The season that was: Danny Barnes

Looking at Danny Barnes’ 2017 season

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Danny Barnes was the Blue Jays 35th round pick in the 2010 draft (the same draft we grabbed Aaron Sanchez, Dalton Pompey and Deck McGuire, two out of three ain’t bad).

Like many late round picks, Danny was put into the bullpen right from the the start of his minor league career. He really took the the role. His minor league record is scattered with ERAs in the 1s and 2s. His strike out numbers were almost always above 10 per 9 innings. He made slow, but steady, progress up the ladder.

It as hard to consider him a prospect, generally relief pitchers aren’t thought of as prospects, if the team likes a pitcher, they want him to get prospects innings.

Anyway, Barnes had 13.2 innings, in the majors, in 2016 and struck out 14.

He didn’t have the best time of it in spring training, but then he only got 4.2 innings of work. Danny got sent down to Buffalo. Then, on April 16, Matt Dermody gave up 3 homers, while just getting 1 out and two days later Barnes was called up.

After that, things went pretty well:

Year   Age W L  ERA  G SV   IP  H ER HR BB SO ERA+  FIP SO9
2017    27 3 6 3.55 60  0 66.0 48 26 11 24 62  130 4.58 8.5

Barnes had 11 holds and 4 blown saves.

Baseball Reference had him at a 1.4 WAR. FanGraphs (because it uses FIP) had him at a 0.2 WAR, giving him a value of $1.6 million to the Jays.

He had a 4.58 FIP and a 4.89 xFIP, quite a bit higher than his ERA.

Only 13.5% of his inherited runs scored.

He had a 23.4% strikeout rate and a 9.1% walk rate.

His batted ball rates: line drives 15.8%, ground balls 32.2% and fly balls 52.0%. I guess that makes him a fly ball pitcher. 12.0% of his fly balls left the park. Hard contact rate was 29.2%.

Danny kept up the reverse splits, lefties hit .172/.260/.258, right-handers .218/.286/.442.

He was much the same at home (4.08 ERA, batters hit .183/.267/.356), as on the road (3.13, .213/.282/.382).

He was much better in the first half (2.31 ERA, batters hit .165/.232/.273), than the second half (5.33, .248/.333/.505).

Barnes by month:

April: 0.00, .176/.222/.176 in 4.2 innings.

May: 3.24, .210/.269/.371 in 16.2 innings.

June: 2.63, .146/.226/.250 in 13.2 innings.

July: 5.19, .219/.306/.531 in 8.2 innings.

August: 4.85, .245/.315/.408 in 13 innings.

September: 3.86, .188/.297/.438 in 9.1 innings.

His numbers dropped off in the second half. In my mind, there could be two explanations. Overuse? It was his first time playing a 162 game season and he was one of our best setup guys, Gibby liked going to him. Or perhaps scouting. It is easier to hit a pitch after you learn what a pitcher throws. I guess we might find out which answer is the correct one next season.

The old guy in me thinks 66 innings shouldn’t be overuse, but he did pitch 8 times on ‘no rest’, which has to be tough on the arm.

Barnes took a fair bit out of the sting of J.P. Howell’s inability to get anyone out, and he, Tepera and Leone made it possible to trade Joe Smith at the deadline.

I’m curious how the off-season goes. With Osuna, Tepera, Leone, Barnes and maybe Biagini, it seems like we have enough right-handers in the bullpen, but adding someone like Joe Smith or Brandon Morrow (I’d love to have him back) would give us a bit of insurance, in case one of the young pitchers doesn’t quite live up to this season’s numbers.

I guess “young pitcher” is not the right way to describe Barnes. He turned 28 last month. He’s got a long way to go before he gets to arbitration money. It’s nice to see a 35th round pick make the majors.