Stat Treatment: Clint Barmes

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Wednesday, the Padres signed INF Clint Barmes.  For the sake of giving a fair analysis, we will look at his past two seasons as he only played in 48 games while with Pittsburgh in 2014. 

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For a guide to the stats being used in this piece click here.

Offense

Over the past two seasons, Barmes has played in 156 games and compiled a saltine of .219/.270/.305/.575.  Now, his numbers are starkly different between seasons:

2013 – .211/.249/.309/.558

2014 – .245/.328/.294/.622

The difference between the two seasons is how many games he played. In 2013, he was the every day starter. In 2014, not so much.  He performed better as a backup. Considering that he will be 36 on Opening Day, it’s unlikely that he will improve greatly. Combined his saltine is pathetic – like the Padres in the month of June pathetic.

However, his hitting in 2014 provides one glimmer of hope, and it’s not his combined 63 OPS+.  It is his 2014 on-base percentage. While his slugging percentage was a paltry 100 points below the league average, his OBP in 2014 was actually above the league average. For a team like the Padres that needs guys on base, a .328 OBP regardless of power is helpful. As for his value to the Padres, try to ignore the OPS+ and focus on the OBP. It’ll help you sleep.

Now, I could spout on about Barmes’ 79 wRC+ (which is quite a bit below average), but there are only so many ways to describe how Barmes has very little power which is offset only slightly by his ability to get on base at a slightly above league average clip.

Part of what drug down Barmes’ numbers to his bad 2013 season was his .257 batting average on balls in play.  His 2014 .294 BABiP was about the major league average and is generally where the former-Rockie lurks.

It is worth noting that his career saltine at Petco is: .280/.314/.434/.748.  He has performed better at Petco than all but three other parks in which he has taken at least 60 plate appearances. Unfortunately, that could be the result of him just being a Padre-killer. His OPS and OPS+ against the Padres are third-highest amongst any team he has taken at least 60 plate appearances against.

Defense

As a guy in his mid-30s, it would be hard to expect Barmes to be the everyday SS. While his range factor per 9 innings was 3.65 (league average of 4.30) was not particularly good, he has had a positive defensive WAR and a positive total zone total fielding runs above average over both of the past two seasons. Basically, he is a good defender. Not great, but good, especially considering his age.  The Indiana native’s defensive WAR was better than his offensive WAR in both of the past two seasons, which is uncommon.

Frankly, Barmes has never posted an OPS+ or a wRC+ over 100 in his 12 big league seasons. He isn’t much of an offensive improvement from Alexi Amarista. Don’t expect him to do any better as a 36-year-old in Petco Park.

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