Tag: Clint Barmes

2012 MLB Offseason: Houston Astros Fielding Breakdown

The Astros finished with the worst record in franchise history. When you lose more then 100 games there is going to be a lot of facets of the game where you are weak. I know you are going to be shocked to hear that the Astros were not a good fielding team last season. In point of fact, they haven’t been a good fielding team in quite some time.

One of the hallmarks of a lack of analysis is the lack of success in nearly every facet of the game. The Astros don’t get on base, they don’t hit for power, outside of Michael Bourn they didn’t run the bases and they don’t support their pitchers. As you might imagine, matching young pitchers with bad fielding has disastrous results. 

DER: .680 (28th)

RA: 796 (28th)

FLD%: .981 (25th)

Baseball Reference: +24 runs (8th)

Fangraphs: -16.6 runs (23rd)

Fielding Bible: -14 runs (22nd)

Baseball Prospectus: -5.7 (21st)

Composite Runs: -3.1

The four fielding systems are actually quite kind to the Astros given their DER. Even their fielding percentage looks worse than the individual fielding numbers. Of course, we trust the four experts a lot more than fielding percentage. Still, they rate as clearly below average, according to what we see here.

Furthermore, trading away Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence would seemingly hurt in this regard, but their individual numbers were shaky at best last season. That isn’t to say they were shaky fielders. But with hitting, fielders can have a slump or years where things just don’t go as planned.

Best Defender

Clint Barmes was the odd-man-out in Colorado. Funny, but if the Rockies had known this, they would have put him at second base and forgotten about Mark Ellis and Jose Lopez. Shortstop is his best natural position and he showed it last season. Alex Gonzalez and Barmes are neck and neck for the title of best defensive shortstop last season, but neither will win the award.

Worst Defender

Chris Johnson had a horrible year for the ages. His batting average on balls in play plummeted to normal levels and therefore his value dropped as well. Defensively, Johnson has Mark Reynolds to thank for not being the worst third baseman in baseball. As it stands, he was the worst in the National League, and that is saying something considering he lost his job over the last two months.

Possible Changes

As you might imagine, a last-place team is always in a state of flux. Jason Castro will be the catcher if his knees hold up. Carlos Lee should be at first base, but Brett Wallace has a chance as well. Jose Altuve should be the second baseman, but he could be bumped if he struggles. Clint Barmes is a free agent, and third base is a three-way competition. We haven’t even gotten to the outfield yet. I think you’re getting the idea.

2012 Outlook

What we can say in favor of these current Astros is that they will have a lot of competition for a lot of spots. That’s a good thing. Depth is generally a good thing. One of the problems that has been plaguing the Astros is that they haven’t had that depth. They’ve been forced to give positions to players that didn’t earn them or deserve them. Hopefully, with the recent deals for Bourn and Pence, they will have more choices.

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Projecting the Houston Astros 2012 Depth Chart

2011 has been a year to forget for the Houston Astros. The only good thing that has come out of 2011 is a good look at some new, young players and the No. 1 draft pick in next year’s draft. Next year’s team is expected to be even younger than it is this year, with few veterans, returning sophomores and some new rookies. Although the team will almost definitely not be in contention next year, it still shouldn’t be underestimated. It carries a lot of young, promising and enthusiastic players who are eager to win.

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Houston Astros: Ranking Biggest Trade Bait on the Roster

If spring training is any indication how the season will go, the Astros will most likely be sellers come trade deadline time.

The Astros have given up 108 runs in 17 games, 20 more runs than the next closest team in the Grapefruit League. They are sitting currently in last place with a record of 5-12.

Even though they have struggled, they do have some players who could be attractive to teams and could help them make a push for the playoffs in 2011. Now, I don’t expect all these players to be traded, but I think the Astros would be willing to move them if the price is right.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Projecton: Will Clint Barmes Rediscover His Old Form?

Clint Barmes has been involved in the Rockies‘ rotating door at second base for the past few seasons. He’s had the opportunity to claim it as his own on many occasions, but after his 2005 breakout campaign (.289, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 55 R in 350 AB) was cut short due to a freak injury, he never quite regained his form.

Yes, he did hit 23 HR in 2009, but it came courtesy of a .245 average. Now, having been traded to the Astros in the offseason in exchange for Felipe Paulino, Barmes has a chance to rebuild his value for fantasy owners.

Still, he’s coming off a subpar season:

387 At Bats
.235 Batting Average (91 Hits)
8 Home Runs
50 RBI
43 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.305 On Base Percentage
.351 Slugging Percentage
.263 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The average continued to struggle thanks to a below average BABIP. Over the past two years he’s posted a BABIP of .271 and .263. That’s the only reason that his average struggled, because he didn’t strikeout an exorbitant amount of the time (17.1 percent in ’10 vs. 17.3 percent for his career).

It’s easy to say that he should post a luckier number at some point, but an inflated fly ball rate doesn’t make that a certainty. He has a career fly ball rate of 47.7 percent, but he’s been above that each of the past three seasons:

  • 2008 – 48.9 percent
  • 2009 – 49.0 percent
  • 2010 – 48.9 percent

Inflated fly ball rates don’t lend themselves to tremendous luck. While it helps us to believe that his power is likely to rebound, especially in Minute Maid Park, from an average standpoint, it’s not a good thing.

The problem is, is the power really a lock? Yes, he hit 23 HR in ’09, but it came courtesy of an 11.0 percent HR/FB. For his career he’s at 6.8 percent and ’09 was actually the only season that he posted a mark above 7.7 percent. Assuming he’s going to hit 20+ HR would be a major mistake.

It all combines for a projection of:

.260 (117-450), 14 HR, 60 RBI, 60 R, 8 SB, .288 BABIP, .316 OBP, .420 SLG

Those are fine numbers, but they make him nothing more than a low-level middle infielder. There’s way too much risk involved in his average and no guarantee that his power comes anywhere close to his ’09 explosion. There’s nothing there to hang your hat on.

But what are your thoughts on Barmes? Is he a player you would target in ’11?  Why or why not?

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:


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Colorado Rockies Send Clint Barmes To Houston Astros

I would say the start of this year’s Major League Baseball offseason has been the strangest start we have seen in quite some time. I say this because we have seen some puzzling moves so far.

Case in point: The trade between the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros on Thursday.


The Rockies sent SS/2B Clint Barmes to the Astros for RHP Felipe Paulino. I am really baffled as to why the Astros traded for Barmes.

I am baffled because the Astros could have acquired Barmes in a couple of weeks for nothing. It’s not like teams were banging down Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowds’ door asking for Barmes.

Coming off a .235/.305/.351 season with eight HRs in 432 PAs in 2010 and slated to make around $4 million in arbitration, Barmes was a prime non-tender candidate in December. I really don’t understand why Astros’ GM Ed Wade didn’t wait a couple of more weeks to see what the Rockies were going to do with Barmes.

Then again, I don’t understand a lot of things Wade does.

According to various reports, Wade has already told Barmes that he will be playing shortstop for the Astros in 2010. While Barmes is a plus defensive shortstop (career 12.3 UZR at the position), he’s a guy who has hit .224 with a .618 OPS away from Coors Field in his career.

Barmes will replace the offensively challenged Tommy Manzella at short. Manzella is a no-hit, good-glove shortstop that probably would have value to a team if he played in the 60s or 70s, but in today’s game, he is useless.

Manzella is a homeless man’s Mark Belanger.

Manzella was so inept last year that he produced at a negative WAR. -0.6 to be exact. So Barmes does represent an upgrade over Manzella in that regard, but not by much. Barmes only produced to a 0.4 WAR in 2010.

In return for Barmes, the Rockies received a young, power arm in Paulino. Paulino, despite having the ability to throw in the mid-90s, has yet to find himself in the major leagues.

Paulino has a 5.83 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 8.08 K/9 and a 42.2 Groundball Percentage in 208.1 career Major League innings. The issue with Paulino is control. Paulino has walked over 4.5 batters per nine innings his career.

Paulino’s role with the Rockies has yet to be defined. If the Rockies don’t bring back Jorge de la Rosa (looking like he will sign somewhere else) or sign Kevin Millwood, Javier Vazquez or Jon Garland, Paulino could find himself in the starting rotation.

Barmes is a slight upgrade over Manzella at short for the Astros, but because of his salary and the fact that the Astros could have waited a couple of weeks to acquire him, Houston lost out on this trade.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Troy Tulowitzki: Colorado Rockies’ Future Third Baseman

The  future may be sooner than anyone thought.

Don’t look now, but the Colorado Rockies just won another series. This one was a big home series against division rival, the San Francisco Giants.

Since June 11th, the Rockies are 14-9. That’s not amazing, and it’s still not enough winning.

I could mention how the Rockies need to gain ground if they hope to make the playoffs. They need to win more than the Padres and the Dodgers (Rockies actually lost a game on both the last 10 games even beating the Padres two out of three).

That’s not what this article is about.

The Rockies, while not racking up amazing win totals, are still starting to win.

They are playing like every game matters.

Earlier in the season many of them looked like they had better places to be than the ballpark. They gave up games. They gave up at bats. Many times they looked punch-less. For much of the season, they were dead last in batting average and scoring in the National League after the sixth inning.

I wrote an article about players having to step up when there is an injury. That’s not news. That’s the story of every team in every sport when there is an injury to a star player.

I suggested that Ian Stewart and Brad Hawpe were the two I thought needed to step up. So who has stepped up? And does it actually cause some line-up questions in the future?

Who out there picked Clint Barmes as the hero? Anyone? Didn’t think so.

Clint Barmes is every Rockies fans’ favorite whipping boy. He’s the weak link. He’s the guy that needs to be benched. He’s the reason a blockbuster trade for Dan Uggla, Brian Roberts, or Bobby Grich needs to go down to replace him.

Clint Barmes has been known to be streaky hitter over his career. He’s on a hot streak now. Over the last 30 days, he is tied for the most hits (30), tied for the most runs scored,15, and second on the team with 15 RBI. He’s also had the most doubles (7) and tied for third on the team with three home runs.

I really didn’t see this coming, but it seems like Clint is embracing his moment in the spotlight. He still has a tendency to chase sliders out of the zone. However, he’s able to hit pitches in the zone and make them drop.

On the flip side of Barmes is Ian Stewart.

Stewart has almost completely disappeared. His line over the last 30 days is .185/.312/.323/.635 He’s had only one double, and two home runs, and only five RBI. He’s also struck out 24 times in only 63 at bats! He’s starting to lose playing time to Melvin Mora, who hasn’t been lighting it up himself, only batting .215 over the last 30 days.

Many Rockies fans have wanted a trade at second base. I’ll say they don’t need to trade for a second baseman. I say the Rockies need to upgrade at third base, and that upgrade is in-house already.

It’s Troy Tulowitzki.

Yeah, you read that right.

When Tulo returns, he needs to be moved to third. Stewart needs to be benched. Barmes needs to start at shortstop. But, but, but…. isn’t Tulo the greatest fielding shortstop ever?

Not this year.

His UZR is 3.2, which is pretty amazing compared to Barmes at short who’s still a strong 1.9. However, if you look at RZR which measures handing balls in a normal fielding zone, Barmes is higher with a .877 rating against Tulo’s .838 rating.

In other words, yes. Tulo is an amazing shortstop. So is Clint Barmes.

I’m giving up on Ian Stewart.

I don’t think he can hit major league pitching. This was the year for him to step forward. However, he’s just another young power hitter that can’t make that adjustment to the major leagues. In fact, he’s gone backward.

He has a career batting average of .241. This year, he’s still above that even with his slide at .250 for 2010.

In ’09 Stewart hit 25 home runs. This year he’s on pace to hit only 17.

Strikeouts have been a problem with Stewart, as they are with many young left-handed sluggers. Instead of going down, he’s on pace to have near 150 K’s after having 134 in ’09.

It’s time the Rockies look at their roster and play players that are performing. Bench those that aren’t.

That means it’s time to end the experiment with Stewart.

I think he still has an option year. Maybe he could use a refresher course in AAA, like Dexter Fowler which worked out great, or Chris Iannetta, which wasn’t as great on his return to the majors.

But I move Tulo and not Barmes to third for a couple of reasons.

Tulo has the bat to be respectable as a third baseman.

Barmes didn’t get hot until he was put at shortstop. You can see watching the game that short is his natural position. He feels comfortable there when starting there.

Tulowitzki is the closest the Rockies have to a major league third baseman in their system. His size and his hitting profile him as a third baseman. Moving to third, would allow him to bulk up as he gets older, when we could assume his range will go down as well.

Tulo has been compared to Cal Ripken Jr. many times in his young career. Ripken also had to move to third as he got older.

Tulo doesn’t have to make that move now as he’s still a great shortstop. However, it’s inevitable he’ll end up there eventually. Might as well make it now and keep Barmes in his comfort role.

Injuries to stars force fans and team management to look at their players in a new light. Some step up. Some don’t. Clint Barmes has stepped up. Johnathon Herrera has stepped up. Ian Stewart has disappeared. If this trend continues, the Rockies should be thinking about trading or benching Stewart, and not Barmes when Tulowitzki returns.

This article is also featured on: The Rockies Reporter

And also on: My Team Rivals: Blake Street Baseball

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Colorado Rockies Looking Shaky Despite Ubaldo Jimenez’ Heroic Efforts

One thing is certain for this year’s Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez is the star of the team.


Jimenez was credited for one run on two hits in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers and it was one of his worst starts of the season. His ERA went up and he took the loss.


That’s right: Two hits, one earned run, one loss and an ERA still under 1.00.


If the playoffs started today, Jimenez would win the National League Cy Young Award.


The rest of the team? Not as impressive…


Entering the season, the Rockies were seen as a team that could compete for a pennant in the National League. While the Phillies added Roy Halladay and the Cardinals brought back Matt Holliday for a full season, the Rockies’ young nucleus was supposed to take another leap forward in 2010.


It hasn’t happened.


Troy Tulowitzki’s power has all but disappeared. Chris Iannetta played his way onto the Triple-A squad. Clint Barmes is struggling to get his on base percentage over .300. Todd Helton looks like a shadow of his former self. The list goes on.


The Rockies pitching staff, thought to be one of the deepest in the league, has been riddled with injuries. The only two starters that remain from spring training are Jimenez and veteran Aaron Cook, who has been one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball this year.


Here is a team that people thought would have legitimate contact and power hitters at every position on the diamond. Instead, the Rockies lineup has toiled in mediocrity.


Here is a team that didn’t seem to have a single hole on its pitching staff.


Instead, Colorado tosses out Esmil Rogers and Greg Smith two out of every five games and can’t find a reliable power arm to close out games.


You wonder how the team has stayed near the .500 mark this far into the season. And then you remember Ubaldo Jimenez.


No one player has meant more to his team this year that Jimenez, who owns six of the Rockies fifteen wins.


Just think, if this guy started every game for the Rockies, the team would be sitting at a crisp 27-4. We can only dream.


Chances are, Jimenez won’t stay on this pace all season. If he doesn’t, the rest of the team needs to step up. If they can’t, there are going to be some big changes in Denver come July 31 and Rockies fans can prepare for an October filled with San Francisco Giants baseball.

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