Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Darwin Barney kicks things off and the utility infielder had a very good campaign, playing the most he ever has since 2013 and putting up the highest OPS of his career in a significant amount of playing time. Barney played in 104 games for the Blue Jays in his Age-30 season, showing off his versatility with 40 games at second base, 32 at third, 25 at shortstop and five in left field. Barney also made his major league debut as a pitcher, but we’ll get to that later.
For his time at the plate, Barney hit a better-than-expected .269/.322/.373 with a 7.2% walk rate and 15.7% strikeout rate, hitting 13 doubles, two triples and four home runs in 306 plate appearances, leading to a .104 ISO which, for an all-glove utility man, is pretty decent.
Barney only played in 10 games in April, despite Devon Travis being on the shelf, still recovering from his shoulder surgery last year. Ryan Goins got the bulk of the April playing time, but the fact that he hit only .173/.215/.253 in 21 games (mostly at second base), left the door open for Barney who was hitting extremely well in his limited opportunity. Barney hit .286/.355/.393 in 31 plate appearances in April and that translated to more playing time in May, when he hit .339/.350/.475 in 60 plate appearances. He got more playing time in June, thanks to Troy Tulowitzki’s stint on the DL, but his numbers started to come back to a more DarBarnian level as he had a .242/.324/.303 slash line, followed by a .241/.281/.345 line in July. He rebounded in August, hitting five of his doubles and one home run, posting a .733 OPS before his playing time was reduced for the stretch run in September.
Barney did get into seven playoff games, thanks to Devon Travis’s knee injury and he went 1/15 with a run.
Barney is without a contract for 2017 but is still under team control and he is eligible for one more year of arbitration before he is eligible for free agency.
Barney isn’t the type of guy you expect a lot out of offensively, he fits more of a backup infielder role, but played a lot at the beginning of the season while Devon Travis was still recovering. He had a good April at the plate and in May he kind of seemed to hit everything (hitting .339 with a .475 SLG) before regressing more towards his career averages. He had four home runs, though I apparently forgot all of them. He also pitched an inning this year, which was a fun memory even though he took the loss in that game – and hey, he struck someone out! As a fielder he’s known for his defense, although he did have a few rough spots – twice making two errors in the same game – with eight errors over the course of the season (four each playing second base and third). He didn’t make a single error in 25 games at shortstop.
Regular Season Grades
Jay says: Barney didn’t hit in the playoffs, but in the Cleveland series, very few players did. The fact that Barney isn’t really expected to hit allows me to give him a C- and he did an admirable job with the glove filling in. That said, if he had been able to hit a little bit, it might have made a difference, particularly with Ezequiel Carrera so hot.
Emily says: In the post-season, he had one hit in 15 at bats, scoring the only run the Jays would get in ALCS Game 2. He also got hit with a pitch once. For that, I’d give him a D-plus. But again, he wasn’t the first choice to be in the lineup, it was only due to Travis’ knee injury that he was playing.
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