Barmes is not a starting MLB player. You can't just take 2 games and say "wow this guy is for real" or else Chris Shelton would be in the HoF by now. Streaky hitters like Barmes who have good gloves fool managers and fans alike in terms of their value. Good defense is very important, but Stewart's defense at 2B isn't so far below Barmes' that it's worth wasting the bat. The 2009 numbers (defensively) don't support this notion at all, but Stewart hasn't had any time to acclimate to a position because Hurdle insists on using him in all the wrong spots in favor of better options (that is, LF and RF, defensively anyhow) and keeping Barmes in the lineup. If given more time to acclimate, Stewart has shown that he might be able to be about a 1-win player (defensively) at 2B, while Barmes is only worth about .5 wins above that. (this is based on 2008 numbers) I don't think Barmes is useless, though, we should be keeping him as the spell-the-entire-infield guy. Baker is redundant. He should be a PH and nothing more at this point. Atkins and Stewart are the 3B, Helton and Hawpe are the 1B (or should be, dammit), Fowler and Spills are the CF, Hawpe and Spills are the RF, Spills and Smith are the LF.
I like Baker's power, it's very exciting. It's also streaky and unreliable. He hasn't really proved himself as a major leaguer any more than Barmes has, but Barmes has the glove to go with his streaky bat, so he gets the edge over Baker.
The problem is that the guys who need more playing time (Smith, Murton) aren't getting it in favor of Baker and Barmes (obviously not a direct translation, but moving Hawpe to 1B when Helton needs a break opens up the OF better). We're rewarding the marginal talent for getting lucky hits (no, Barmes' homers weren't lucky. They were awesome. We all know Barmes really isn't a HR hitter though) such as Baker's hit which would've been a loud lineout had Matt Kemp not been staring at that bug in the grass that was trying to carry a sunflower seed for half of the ball's flight. I like Clint Barmes. I think he's a very talented guy. But he isn't one of the 8 most talented guys we have. Well, actually he might be, but for some reason we're stuck with Atkins still. But once again, he's not really a starting guy. He had 2 full seasons to solidify himself, and he basically rides one hot month and then falls apart, but everyone says "Hey, he did really well in May last year! He could do THAT again!" well if you look at what he did coming off of the DL, he started off slow (which is TOTALLY excusable, given the fact he was injured) but then just kept on being slow.
He IS ripping the cover off the ball right now. I don't really mind him playing while he's hot. The problem is that Hurdle isn't saying "Alright, I have Helton, Barmes, Stewart, Tulowitzki, Atkins, Baker, Quintanilla. Who are my best 4 guys?" he's saying "Well, Atkins has always been the 3B, so he's starting. Helton's always batted 3rd, so he's gonna hit there. Barmes has the hot bat, so he's starting there. Tulo's the best all around SS we have right now, so he's starting there" rather than saying "Atkins, you're blowing ass. Have a seat" and giving Stewart his ABs.
I tout Stewart pretty highly, but he's young and has a big shot and being a big player. But we're benching his bat for some stupid reason so Atkins can waste outs. If Stewart really was batting like 1-for-43, I'm not stupid, you obviously can't have that happening. He hasn't looked good the past couple games, either, which hurts my case. But it seems that Smith and Stewart are being punished for bad games by sitting, Barmes is being rewarded for good games by starting, but when Stew/Smith have a good game, or Barmes has a bad game, they get the "Att'l do Pig" pat on the head and then Hurdle just does whatever he pulls out of his magic hat.
Honestly, and again, small sample size, Ian Stewart is superior as a 3B in every way to Atkins.
This is really unorganized, I know, but it's kind of a stream of consciousness thing.