Continuing our series, it's time to look at the 2013 Cubs Projections for Darwin Barney. Last spring Barney talked about hitting for more power. We knew he wouldn't be a power hitter or anything, but it was clear he and the Cubs wanted him to hit for a little more than he had.
He did to some extent. He hit 7 home runs, which was 5 more than the previous season. He had a few more doubles too. His ISO was up from .078 in 2011 to .100 last year, but his overall slugging percentage remained the same. That's becasue his batting average took a hit last season.
Barney isn't much of a hitter. He had an 80 wRC+ in 2011 and last year it was just 75. He's not going to wow anyone with his bat and is best left in the 8th spot in the National League and if he's to play in the AL, the 9th spot.
He does do two things very well and those things are what make him valuable. It's his defense and baserunning that leads Jed Hoyer and other Cubs front office executives to talk about Darwin Barney, not as an afterthought, but as someone who is going to help build the Cubs into a contender.
And his defense is good. Really good.
In 2011 his UZR was 6.1 and it was 13 last year. That's a bit misleading. He didn't get much playing time in 2010 and if you add his +4 UZR to last year, you get a more similar 10.1. He played 1164.2 defensive innings in 2010 and 2011 combined and last year he played in 1270.1. UZR likes Darwin Barney a lot, but not as much as Baseball Reference's fielding.
BRef had him worth +7 in 2010 and 2011 (combined) and then a ridiculous 29 last year. Baseball Prospectus' FRAA had him worth 8.6 over 2010 and 2011 and 11.3 last year. It's safe to say there was something wrong in the way BRef was evaluating Barney's defense. Maybe it was the positioning. I don't really know, but it's very safe to say he wasn't worth 30 runs defensively last year. It's rather absurd to suggest it.
He's essentially been a +10 defender per season over his two full seasons (including 2010's small amount of playing time). That's a full win defensively, which he needs because of his bat.
He didn't only add value in that way though. He added more than 6 baserunning runs from 2010 to 2011 and added over 4 last year. He's adding nearly a win and a half in ways that his bat cannot.
It's not exactly exciting looking at his 2013 Cubs projections, but here they are anyway.
ZiPS projects +10 runs defensively and CAIRO projects an average defensive runs saved of +9 (13 DRS, 7 UZR and 8 ZR). We'll call it average of 10 because, as you know, I'm an optimist.
We can probably put him down for about 5 runs on the bases.
Offensively, he's worth about half a win, Add in the 10 runs defensively and 5 runs on the bases and you get about 2 WAR.
Below are his percentile forecasts using CAIRO.