I'll be the first to admit that after last season I thought that one of the Rockies primary tasks this off season would be to lock up a solid second baseman. O-dawg and Lopez both seemed like great options. The more I think about it however the more I like the idea of sticking with Barmes. The irony of the situation is that Barmes is coming off his best yet simultaneously worst year of his career. Most teams would jump at the chance to have an above average defensive second basemen hit 23 home runs and drive in 76 but what bothered most every day Rockies fans was how much he struggled in the clutch. I would trade most of those home runs for a clutch hit that would score runs and put his above average speed on base. We've heard a lot about Street's blown save in the top of the 9th in game 4 vs. Philly but what we forget is that in the bottom of the 8th after Torri's big hit, the intentional walk to Smith and the wild pitch the Rockies had runners at second and third and Barmes at the plate. He failed to come through again.
Watching Barmes' swing this last year it seemed like he was trying to pull the ball every single time. The career high strike outs, fly outs and home runs are key indicators of that. When he did connect the ball went a long way but so what. There was a stretch of games in the second half where it seemed like all he could do was hit home runs. Another short coming that Barmes must deal with is plate discipline. We all know he is not going to walk much and consequently will have a low OBP which is a travesty since he has decent speed and base stealing ability. In many of his ABs in 09 Clint seemed to be simply over matched by the pitcher. He was thrown off by the pitch sequences, he was chasing balls out of the zone trying to pull them and he struck out a million times which was second most to Stewart's 1.5 million times.
What Clint needs to realize is that the Rockies appear to be a team with a good amount of power and what we need in a second baseman is someone who can get on base and come through in the clutch especially if they will be hitting in the 8th hole which at this point seems like the case. Turning the line up over and getting back around to Cargo will be crucial with his stats leading off an inning. I know what you're thinking at this point, "How is this the Case for Clint."
My overall point is that I am a huge fan of Clint Barmes. He has an outstanding level of athletic ability. He's an excellent defensive player and gives us one of the best middles in the game. He will be a good option to fill in for Stewart at third and give EY2 some time at second if Stewart continues to struggle against lefties this year. Unless of course the Rockies do what we all would love for them to do and that is go out and get a power righty that can fill in at first and third this year. All of that said, if Barmes is going to be this team's second baseman he'll have to figure out who he is at the plate. Is he a 23 home run power hitter who hits .245 with an OBP of only .294?? Or can he learn to slap the ball, take some walks, bunt for hits, find the gaps, go up the middle and in all other ways get on base so that he can be a .275 hitter with a .325 OBP. cuz that's what we really need. There's no reason why he can't achieve those numbers and throw 20 stolen bases in there for good measure. He came close in 08. It may just be a matter of Clint changing his approach. In any case, here's to hoping Barmes becomes the player we all know he can be and helping lead us to a World Series victory in 2010.