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Toronto Blue Jays 2016 season previews: Darwin Barney

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Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney is going into his first spring training with Toronto, and is looking to play his way into a bench role for 2016

Past Entries : Justin Smoak    Brett Cecil    Brett Cecil    Devon Travis

Continuing on with our 2016 Blue Jays preview, next up is Darwin Barney, a defensive whiz at second base with very little by way of offensive tools to bring to the table.

Barney came to the big leagues as a promising young infielder with the Chicago Cubs after being drafted in the 4th round in 2007. After playing from 2010 to 2014 with the Cubs, Barney was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then subsequently traded the next year to the Toronto Blue Jays.

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While Barney has always posted impressive numbers with the glove, piling up defensive gem upon defensive gem along the way, he has never shown much with the bat. He carries a .246 batting average into ’16.

2015 Production Recap

After being brought in as depth to cover for Tulo’s absence in September, Barney only got 23 AB’s in 15 games.

And while that is an extremely small sample size, Barney did manage to post career best numbers (!) with a .304/.333/.609 slash line. Along with those modest contributions he also slugged 2 of his 21 career home runs.

While Barney has spent time in his career at shortstop and third base along with his natural position of second base, he only got time in at 2nd with the Blue Jays. In 67 innings he committed one error.

2016 Role & Steamer Production

With Devon Travis starting the 2016 season on the disabled list, its possible Barney could earn himself a bench role to start the year if he puts together a good spring training.

If he does grab himself a spot, and keeps it, the 94 at-bats that the Steamer projections has him at could be easily attainable, if not beatable.

Despite the increase in at bats that Steamer is calling for, they are also predicting his batting stats will come back down to his career norms with a .236/.284/.330 slash line being listed as his projection.

What could go wrong?

While Barney has a good shot for some playing time to start the year, once Devon Travis comes back from injury it is very possible that he could find himself without a spot on the Blue Jays roster.

Barney’s only true value comes with his glove, and his batting limitations are quite evident, and this doesn’t leave him with much of a case. Barring a very unlikely break out by an already 30 year old player, Barney may very well just end up as depth in the minors, or playing for another team by the end of this season.

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What could go right?

The best thing that could happen for Barney’s season would be the worst thing for the Blue Jays. And that would be losing multiple infielders to injury. If Tulowitzki is injured, as he has often been in his career, the Jays would be looking at Ryans Goins at short and Devon Travis (once he returns) at second. This would leave Barney with a great chance to snag plenty of time as a back up for both positions (as well as third base if necessary).

In an even more worrying scenario, the Jays lose more than one infield starter to injury. In that case, Barney may even find himself in a position to grab a starters job.

But without any of that happening it is likely Barney stays exactly what he is now: infield depth.

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