Not Buying Barney: Is Darwin Barney For Real?
Anyway, one of the few glimmers of excitement this year has been Darwin Barney, the glove-maven of a second baseman who earned some special accolades for his early season performance. Coming into yesterday's game, Barney had .315 batting average and a homer and 2 steals. Not bad for a fellow touted for his defense!
Here's the problem — and it's a big problem: Darwin Barney's strong batting average masks his otherwise pedestrian offense output, and his minor league numbers suggest he's playing way over his head right now.
In Barney's best year in Triple-A, 2010, he hit 16% below average, accord to weighted runs created (or wRC+, an all-encompassing stat that appropriately weights each batting outcome). In that year, he sported another decent batting average (.299), but was only average at getting on base (.333 OBP) and frankly devoid of power (.378 SLG).
In other words, Barney's 2011 MLB performance (which has been about league average, per wRC+) is unlikely to stay this good. Very, very few players are able to suddenly hit better when they reach the MLB level. Most regress instead of progress, hitting worse than they did in their previous AAA stint.
This is not say Barney is not valuable! He's cheap, he's good at fielding (which is a big unknown in value at this point), and he's half-Asian what's not to like?! Just do yourself a favor and don't put him on your fantasy team anytime soon.