|Born: March 6, 1979
Drafted: 10th Round, 287th Overall, 2000 (Rockies)
How Acquired: Free Agent
College: Indiana State University
Agent: Meister Sports Management
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Barmes was an infield starter for Colorado much of the time for six years, first at short and then at second after Troy Tulowitzki came along. Barmes is a good defensive player, oddly showing up better at short than second in the defensive metrics. In fact, UZR and +/- show almost the same results for him each year and for each position, which is unusual. He’s not a good hitter. He has some power, but seldom walks and does not get on base much. In that sense, he’s similar to Rod Barajas, who signed shortly before Barmes to catch for the Pirates. Barmes had seemingly good numbers in some years with the Rockies, but they were invariably Coors illusions. His OPS+, which is adjusted for the ballpark, in his five more or less full seasons with Colorado ran as follows: 90, 47, 98, 82 and 67. He’s had a large platoon split over his career, posting an OPS of .771 against LHPs and .645 against RHPs. The Pirates signed him to a two-year contract worth $10.5M to fill their shortstop position, which became vacant when they declined Ronny Cedeno’s $2.8M option for 2012.
Debuted in the short season Northwest League, playing mostly shortstop and a little outfield. After a late promotion to low A he played mainly second.
Barmes played short exclusively at both class A levels. He didn’t hit a great deal at either level.
Barmes showed very good pop in AA, although not great plate discipline. It was enough to get him added to the 40-man roster.
Despite playing in hitters’ paradise–i.e., Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League–Barmes put up weak numbers in his introduction to AAA. That included a 3:1 K:BB ratio. He got a callup in September.
Returning to AAA, Barmes had a big year, hitting for good power.
Barmes made the Colorado roster out of spring training and quickly took over the shortstop job. He missed a chunk of the season, though, when he suffered a broken clavicle in June. He returned in September. His hitting numbers were good, but it was entirely due to Coors. He had an OPS of .877 in home games and .635 in road games.
Barmes was the Rockies’ regular shortstop for most of the season, but he struggled badly at the plate. The fielding metrics considered him above average defensively, which was true also in 2005.
The Rockies optioned Barmes to AAA to start the season. He was called up briefly in April, then again late in the season. He had a solid season in AAA, keeping in mind that it was Colorado Springs.
Barmes opened the season as the Rockies’ secondbaseman, although he spent some time at short when Tulowitzki got hurt. He put up good numbers, once again due to Coors. His home OPS was .932. On the road it was .643.
Back at second, Barmes hit for good power but seldom got on base. He struck out a lot more often than in the past. Home OPS: .834. Road OPS: .631. The fielding metrics considered him above average at second.
Barmes had largely the same year as in 2009, but without the power, which left him with poor numbers. He lost the secondbase job to Jonathan Herrera late in the season. He started 39 games at short due to another injury to Tulowitzki. According to both UZR and +/-, Barmes was a little below average at second, but very good at short. After the season the Rockies traded him to Houston.
Barmes took over as Houston’s shortstop, although he missed most of the first month of the season due to a fractured hand. He had a decent season at the plate, showing a little more patience than usual and a little power. He was not helped by Minute Maid Park; he had an OPS of .661 there, with five of his twelve HRs. His road OPS was .732. According to all the fielding metrics, he played very well defensively, better in fact than he’d played at second.
Barmes got off to a horrid start at the plate and finished with the worst OPS of all NL players who had 400+ plate appearances. For some reason, his plate discipline, which was always poor, fell off a cliff. He swung at 39.2% of the pitches he saw that were outside the strike zone, the highest percentage of his career and far above the major league average of 30.8%. His unwillingness to take pitches was worse in the early season, which is probably why his OPS was below .470 in both April and May. He hit better after that, but was still bad in every month except September, when he posted an OPS of .742. On the season, he hit well against LHPs, with a .741 OPS, but he had a miserable .551 OPS against RHPs. Obviously, his power largely disappeared. Defensively, he played as advertised. He led the NL by a wide margin in UZR and was 2nd in the majors to Brendan Ryan. In +/-, he ranked 8th in the majors. His play was probably the biggest factor in the Pirates improving from 13th to 5th in the NL in defensive efficiency.
Barmes had pretty much the same season as the previous year. He remained one of the best defensive shortstops in MLB, but again didn’t hit at all. In fact, he actually hit worse than in 2012. Out of 276 major league players with 300+ plate appearances, only three had a lower OPS. Pitchers continually threw him breaking balls away and he couldn’t either hit them or lay off. He didn’t even hit LHPs, posting only a .529 OPS against them. With Jordy Mercer hitting well — his season OPS+ was more than twice Barmes’ — Mercer took over the shortstop job for about a month in June and July. Eventually, though, the two alternated at the position, with Barmes getting slightly more playing time.
Barmes will be a free agent after the season, but the Pirates may try to bring him back. They’ll need a stronger defensive shortstop as an alternative to Mercer, who’s probably average at best with the glove. Barmes has more or less stated that he’d return to a reduced role and salary. Whether it’d be a good idea is open to question. Barmes will play the 2014 season at age 35 and could decline on defense. He has no value at all on offense, so he needs to be well above average defensively to contribute. There’s also the risk that Clint Hurdle won’t be able to resist playing Barmes over Mercer too much.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2000
MLB Debut: 9/5/2003
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2014
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: March 30, 2008
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2003, 2004, 2007)
MLB Service Time: 8.122
|June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 10th round, 287th overall pick; signed on June 9.
November 20, 2002: Contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.
November 18, 2010: Traded by the Colorado Rockies to the Houston Astros for Felipe Paulino.
October 30, 2011: Became a free agent.
November 21, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.