Coming off a season in which he hit 23 home runs (despite having a sickeningly low OBP), many people though Clint Barmes, who was still more or less in the prime of his career, had something to build upon heading into 2010. Instead, even though he slightly improved his OBP, Barmes struggled his way through 432 punchless plate appearances in what ended up being the second-worst full season of his career.
Barmes was given every opportunity to hold on to the second base job by Jim Tracy, but despite having remarkably consistent home/road splits, he simply did not have enough pop to offset his glaring lack of ability to get on base, which has plagued him throughout a career in which he has posted an even .300 on-base percentage. Luck (or lack thereof) played a part in his struggles, as just 5.1% of his flyballs left the yard, which was significantly lower than the 11% the year before. Another part of the problem can be attributed to his selectivity at the plate, which saw him swing at more pitches out of the zone - and less pitches in the zone - than in any other full season. It's really just safe to say that his results, for better or worse, in 2010 were simply due to Clint being Clint - a dead-pull hitter who eats alive fastballs (a pitch he saw much less in 2010 than in prior years) on the inner half but struggles with just about anything else.
At the end of the season, Clint couldn't have been too pleased when looking at his numbers - .235/.305/.351 with just 8 home runs - and the fact that he lost his starting job to Eric Young Jr. after Troy Tulowitzki returned from the DL. However, as is seemingly always the case, Barmes was at his best during emergency injury fill-in duty. He put up a .358 OBP while Tulo was out and played some very solid shortstop (4.3 UZR @ SS). At the very worst, he provides nice infield depth that the Rockies may end up missing (especially if Jonathan Herrera turns into a pumpkin). And, when he's at his best, he's a streaky hitter with some pop who can hold down three positions with relative ease over the course of a full season.
Click past the jump to see Barmes' 2010 grade, as well as what lies ahead in '11.
Grade: C+. Some may consider this a little high, but Barmes should not have been counted on as the guy to get the Rockies into the postseason, and like I mentioned before, he was just as valuable - if not more so - in Tulo's absence as any other infielder on the team. However, his failure to hold on to the second base job keeps him from being in the B-range.
2011: On November 18th, 2010, Barmes was traded to the Houston Astros for swingman Felipe Paulino. Many thought at the time that it was a precursor to another move, and sure enough the Rockies acquired Jose Lopez (a player with eerily similar numbers in over 1,000 more plate appearances) from Seattle two weeks later. Barmes agreed on a one-year, $3.925MM contract with the Astros and will presumably compete Jeff Keppinger and Bill Hall for playing time in the infield.