Blue Jays have platoon chemistry in Goins and Barney


Recent Blue Jays signing Darwin Barney should find some regular action early in 2016 as he and Ryan Goins match up very well for a platoon split

Wednesday’s signing of Darwin Barney represented the first and only action by the Blue Jays at the Winter Meetings, shoring up their middle infield depth with Devon Travis expected to miss the early stages of 2016 while recovering from shoulder surgery. The 2012 Gold Glover has been limited significantly by his bat, but a look at the splits suggests that he and Ryan Goins could maximize their individual values with a second base platoon.

The right-handed hitting Barney has found more success against left-handed pitchers in his career, holding a cumulative slash line of .266 / .320 / .384. It’s an admittedly pedestrian level of production, but does sit comfortably above his line against righties of .239 / .285 / .324.

This split bias also shows in the more recently-biased snapshot of 2014, the last season where Barney earned regular Major League plate appearances (262 PA). That season, he posted a .707 OPS against left-handers but .614 against left-handers.

Goins fills out the other side of this equation naturally as a left-handed bat that is better suited against right-handed pitching. His career line against right-handers sits at .243 / .294 / .339, while his lefty line is an ugly .205 / .240 / .301.

This split continued to be represented through his high usage in 2015 with an OPS against right-handers (.697) over .100 points higher than that against lefties. For his career, Goins also strikes out once in every 4.07 plate appearances against left-handed pitching.

Working these two in a platoon would help to cut the fat and eliminate the areas of their offensive games that have relegated each to reserve duties over the past several seasons. The combined result would be a hitter capable of a .255+ batting average and ~.700 OPS, which is more than enough given the lineup ahead of them and their equally impressive defensive capabilities. The option to platoon two players with the combined fielding acumen of Barney and Goins is a rarity.

Next: From yesterday: 8 non-tendered FA arms worth a look for Toronto

Given the recent comments by John Gibbons that Chris Colabello could see a heavier dose of right-handed pitching than Justin Smoak early on, perhaps we’re looking at a dual platoon on that right side. Goins and Colabello against right-handed pitching, Barney and Smoak against left-handed pitching.

Platoons are a quick way to hamstring a roster, but neither of these would be a great hindrance because, even without a platoon-mate, the four players would be on the roster regardless. The trouble arises when a player is on the 25-man for the sole purpose of being a half-player, but the first basemen here offer bench power while the second basemen here offer extremely high-calibre defense across the infield.