Why You Shouldn’t Get Excited About Barmes

In Novemer, the Pirates signed catcher Rod Barajas and shortstop Clint Barmes to 1- and 2-year contracts, respectively, with Barajas having a club option for 2013.  They were brought in to replace Ryan Doumit and Ronny Cedeno, who were both granted free agency after the season.

In the 2011 season, Clint Barmes had a rather unimpressive season, hitting .244/.312/.386 with 12 home runs.  His 12 home runs were mostly short shots to the short porch in left field in Minute Maid Park.  Here’s an overlay of Barmes’ home runs and PNC Park’s dimensions after the jump.


As you can see, only for of Barmes’ 12 home runs in 2011 would have been home runs in PNC Park, and one hit would have hit the wall.  Not only does he have four home runs, all of them were pulled to left field, making him susceptible to trying to pull pitches on the outside part of the plate.  People in the bleachers are going to love him if he can add more power.

Barmes is notoriously a fly ball hitter.  47.3 % of all his batted balls were fly balls, compared to 21.6 % being liners and 31.1 % being grounders.  To see how this compared to the league average, I went to Fangraphs.  They have graphs of anything you can want: it’s the rule 34 of baseball statistics.

According to the graph, he has been way above average in fly balls: which is a good thing if he had more power.

Not only can he not hit the ball, but he is also blinder than Jerry Meals at the plate.  Typically, a Major League player will swing at a pitch outside of the strike zone a bit less than 30% of the time there is a pitch thrown outside and they will swing at a pitch in the strikezone 65% of the time.  Barmes swings at a pitch in the strike zone 66.1% of the time — about average — but swings at pitches out of the zone 33.5% of the time.  A four percent difference can mean the difference between a K% of 17.8% and 15%.

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