At the beginning of spring training I remember rooting again for Darwin Barney. I was excited about his call-up late last year (only cause I liked his name). I had followed the club over at Tim Sheridan's Boys of Spring blog. Barney had showed up early, along with others, to participate in the 2nd Camp Colvin. Of those who attended he and Cash may have gotten the most out of it. I was expecting to see the scrappy 160lb back on the field fighting for a utility spot, not a 185lb brute staking a claim to the opening day lineup.
It looks like Barney took the camp serious and used his time wisely to bulk up. He has surely added some drive to his swing. It must be all of the spicy breakfast omelettes Byrd made for the kid this spring. Something has surely put a fire in him. He is off too a torching start to the season.
I see him slowing down a little bit eventually and finishing around .285/.380/.475 with 40RBI, 10 HR, 20 double, 5 triples. The kid can flat out play. If Baker wasn't absolutely torching left hand hitting I would run out Barney everyday till he slowed down. It seems now that DeWitt is expendable and we should try to move him and get a mid level prospect out of him. We have plenty of veteran depth at Triple-A for a bat off the bench.
Either way I want to see more people start talking about Barney and his real potential. The kid may have not done much in way of career minor numbers but the kid's body had not matured to its full potential. A kid that puts on the weight needed, puts balls in play, and can run a little is going to have a good opportunity to succeed for us.
Whats your opinion on his future? I know a lot of people have compared him to theRiot, but I think he has done a better job since the beginning of spring of drawing walks than Theriot did. He has really worked the count. I see them as having similar playing styles: tough, fierce, and scrappy. The only weakness I see in Barney in his career is minor league numbers. If those were a product of not being able to drive the ball with authority, he is surely learning how to do that right now.
The kid is a workhorse and a student of the game. I'd much rather run players out everyday who are going to give it everything they've got, even if they aren't the most talented on the roster, than the most talented lazy players (ARAM and Soriano). I love watching guys like Barney, Byrd, Pena, Castro, Colvin, Baker and Reed Johnson give it everything they've got everyday they are on the field.
I am a firm believer with a squad full of these types of players thats worth at least 10 wins a year. Barney is set for a solid first full season. Dare I say a future leadoff hitter? Maybe? I may be getting ahead of myself, but I am not one to temper my expectations for a guy that is pedal to the medal and tries to learn from his mistakes.
Hey Q Run this lineup out there: It may be a little right handed to begin with but today I don't believe that matchup matters any more. Give the guys playing hard everyday a chance to scrap with the best of them. We've got enough pitching from top to bottom to let the defense protect and the offense score a few runs.
1 Barney- 2B
2 Castro- SS
3 Byrd- 3B
4 Soto- C
5 Pena- 1B
6- Baker 3B
7- Colvin RF
8- Johnson LF
9- Pitcher P
What do you think?
PS- This is my first FanPost. I am a 23 year-old law student from NC. I have been a die-hard Cubs fan since I was 8 years old. I was living in Indiana at the time at my parents took me to Wrigley Field. I had just started playing Little League and was playing second base at the time. It was the year Ryno came back. I fell in love with his smooth style. He and Gracey have always been two of my favorite cubs!